Sphagnum moss suitable for germination process?

Hello to all,
some newer scientific publications strongly recommend moist, milled Sphagnum moss in a mix of sand, perlite and vermiculite for better germination of rose achenes.

Does this statement mean dried Sphagnum moss or live Sphagnum moss?

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a clear statement anywhere, so I thought some of you might have just the right answer.

Two additional facts: Peat moss would then be omitted? In what ratio do you add the Sphagnum moss to the other parts? These questions have been bothering me for some time. As I’m thinking about using Sphagnum moss as a trial this year, it would be really great if you could give me support.Thank you very much for advice and sharing your experience.

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As l read it, l already do it “as fine peat moss” mainly through purchase potting mix here that has imo some bog origins “dried peat moss content” - its milled to my eyes.

To me, it is mainly >60% peat with sticks, undetermined organic - inorganic lumps, minor man made fert. content added and moisture retainer with minor pearlite thrown in.

To the bag l add a lot of pearlite and even plant my seeds in on the top of mix and cover with a pearlite top layer. Do that to see seeds if not waiting for germination.

Others l believe use only baggies filled with “strand spaghum moss” that still retains green - brown color and looks like classical top layer bog tree and rock moss growth. Look at price in past and said to me “nope” leave it for xmas or model RxR decorations.

However l am big believer in trying anything once, so long as you have reference basis to conclude its better - but price barrier for me to go that route.

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I don’t think that I’ve ever seen live/green Sphagnum in a milled form–I believe that’s pretty much exclusively done to dried, dead peat moss. Riku is right that a lot of the milled products available commercially still seem to contain fairly large sticks and lumps, so if particle size matters, it may also have to be screened before use.

In my experience, it seems that Sphagnum can be either good or bad (or at least neutral) when it comes to harmful microbes. It may matter more if the peat moss product is too sterile to begin with, in which case harmful microorganisms might be able to grow and damage the seeds or seedlings. I’ve experienced big losses in the past with rose seeds stratified in moistened peat moss, or mixes containing peat and vermiculite, Perlite, and/or sand. If the Sphagnum happens to already contain sufficient beneficial microbes that are antagonistic towards organisms that cause serious problems like damping off, then you might have good luck using it that way. However, the variable nature of natural Sphagnum might be a reason for differing conclusions about its use in various studies. Since there is usually no easy way for us to know whether a given Sphagnum product contains beneficial microbes in meaningful quantities, a good approach might be to blend with something like well-composted manure/compost or to pre-inoculate the Sphagnum with beneficial organisms. I remember that a Canadian study some years back found that by moistening Sphagnum with dilute fish emulsion and leaving it for several weeks before using it, beneficial organisms like Trichoderma increased, and damping off was significantly reduced.



Thank you both very much for your helpful comments! These will assist me in a wisely use in any case.

Result of spagnum moss +perlite mix. The seeds were introduced in moist media on 20/08/2023 and kept in freeze chiller. Today i .e on 25/11/2023 thease are the result if you will zoom you will see more sprouts. (Cross of Diana princess of wales× Veteran’s honour )Dr.Dhananjay Gujarathi Nashik,Maharashtra,India.


Many thanks for your efforts and for showing the photos. These also encourage me to use dried Sphagnum this year.

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It looks like unmilled, long-fiber Sphagnum can also work well! There may be some benefit to using unmilled Sphagnum because of the increased air space, but the milled version is much more commonly available and typically much less expensive by weight, at least here in the U.S.

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