Most bryophytes range from one tenth of an inch to four inches in height, growing in dense clumps or mats. Though they are often thought to be found only in damp, shady corners of the forest, the thousands of species of mosses found across the world have the broadest range of light exposure among land plants. Bryophytes can be found thriving in the scorching desert sun or the darkest crevice in a cave.
Areas with compacted soil, inadequate drainage or little sunlight are ideal places to introduce bryophytes to the garden landscape. Because it requires significantly less sun and water than grass, moss can be used to create a lovely no-mow carpet in shady spots. Mixing different species will bring a variety of textures and colors seasonally.
Growing readily on rock, brick and cement, moss is perfect for filling in spaces between stone pavers or tiles along a walkway or patio. It’s also an attractive way to fill cracks in concrete. Add moss to rock gardens for splash of green, or let it spread to cover garden walls for a softening effect. Top selling are the carpet moss, sheet moss, topiary mosses and fern moss.
Planting bryophytes in a garden also has surprising environmental benefits. Moss is an excellent alternative to mulch, helping soil retain moisture, naturally filtering rain water and providing nutrients for neighboring plants without getting compacted or needing replacement. When planted as a ground cover on hills or slopes, moss aids in erosion prevention, holding the soil beneath in place. Bryophytes also help reduce air pollution by filtering carbon dioxide and other contaminants from the air.