Almost on a weekly basis, we recieve emails from people who want to know if the sphagnum moss we have for sale is the same thing as peat moss. There seems to be some real confusion here and we wish to make things a bit clear in this post.
The short answer is that they are not the sale thing. Now, here's the long answer;
The bottom line is that both sphagnum moss and peat moss are from the same plant. The two types of moss both start life from the same plant which is known as sphagnum moss.
There are several varieties of sphagnum moss. Infact, it is estimated that there are around 350 different species of sphagnum moss.
So, what is sphagnum peat moss?
Peat moss or sphagnum peat moss as it is technically known, is the dead material that one normally sees under the living part of the plant. The sphagnum peat moss is often water saturated and is sinking below the surface.
Although one often finds sphagnum peat moss being offered for sale at garden nurseries, its harvesting is not sustainable. This is due to the fact that, the bogs from which it is harvested can take anywhere between 1000 to three thousand years for nature to make them.
The continued,unsustainable harvesting of the peat moss has resulted in a gradual, but steady loss of peat bogs. It is estimated that, about 89 to 98% of the peat bogs that once existed have been eroded due to unsustainable harvesting practices.
Sphagnum peat moss is a very popular product with gardeners largely because of the fact that it is an excellent soil conditioner. It loosens heavy clay soils, driving significant air in the roots of the plants. It also helps save large amounts of water as it helps to absorb and hold moisture in the soil.
Yet, another key benefit of peat moss is in the fact that it adds body to soils that are otherwise sandy and of little use. Peat moss has the following properties;
- It is acidic with a ph value of 4.0 - It is a very good soil conditioner and can be up to 70% water - Contains mixed material as opposed to pure sphagnum moss
And, what exactly is sphagnum moss?
Sphagnum moss is essentially the living moss plant that grows on top of the sphagnum peat moss bog. In essence, sphagnum moss is the actual green plant that we see on top of the bog.
Some people sometimes refer to it as live sphagnum moss to differentiate it from the decayed matter at the bottom of the bog. So, sphagnum moss is above the ground and has the following properties;
- It has a neutral ph which is very good for your plants - Just like peat moss, sphagnum moss has excellent water retention capabilities - It is a pure moss, unlike peat moss which contains other dead matter such as insects and other plant material - It is long fibered which makes it look beautiful for decorative purposes or lining wire baskets
At African Garden Crafts, we sell high quality sphagnum moss that has proven popular with orchid growers, garden nurseries and even those who wish to use it as substrate for bonsai trees.