Vesicularia Montagnei (Christmas Moss)

Christmas Moss

Vesicularia montagnei

Despite the festive name, Christmas Moss is very much a tropical moss species. Widely found in the warm, humid environments of the SE Asian tropics; this versatile moss can be grown fully submerged underwater, terrestrially on the land, or epiphytically on branches and rocks. Vesicularia montagnei gets the name ‘Christmas Moss’ by its characteristic leaf structure, which sees the leaves branch out at 90° from the stem at regular intervals – just like a fir tree. Thanks to its unique leaf and branch structure, this moss adds a substantial texture to a terrarium.

At a Glance

Where to Buy Christmas Moss

See the links below to purchase from reputable terrarium plant shops and marketplaces (may include affiliate links). 

Terrarium Plant Guide

Christmas Moss Care & Growth

Lighting

Vesicularia montagnei grows best with bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight risks drying out the sensitive moss and should be avoided. Grow lights can be particularly helpful to provide maximum light with minimal risk.

Watering

When grown out of water, Christmas Moss must be kept moist at all times. During the acclimation period (the first few weeks after adding to a terrarium) it’s particularly sensitive to moisture, and can be misted daily to ensure it’s getting enough.

Substrate

This versatile moss will readily grow on just about any surface, as long as it can find adequate moisture. Though commonly used as a carpeting plant in aquariums, it’s more often used epiphytically in terrariums; attached to driftwood and rocks.

Temperature & Humidity

To thrive outside of water, Christmas Moss needs a terrarium environment with a high temperature and relative humidity. These conditions help to supply enough moisture through the atmosphere.

Growth

A creeping moss, Christmas Moss grows slowly but will eventually form a thick carpet once successfully acclimated to a terrestrial environment.

Propagation

Christmas Moss can be easily propagated through division. You can separate the moss into smaller chunks by hand, or even use scissors to trim it down into very small cuttings which can be “pasted” onto a surface.

Varieties & Similar Plants

Java Moss (Taxiphyllum barbieri) was once classified as part of the same Vesicularia genus. This – plus the fact that they are very similar in growth and appearance – means the two are often mistaken for each other.

Common Problems

Christmas Moss is sometimes thought of as a more challenging moss to grow in a terrarium. Partly due to its poor drought tolerance, and probably not helped by the fact it grows so slowly. But just like Java Moss, it can still be a great terrarium moss (even if it needs some extra attention as it acclimates).