Contrary to its name, reindeer moss is not a moss at all but a lichen that grows on rocks and in the sandy soil on the outcroppings of the forest. It was named after reindeer because it is a favored treat for reindeer and caribou in northern regions. Reindeer moss tends to be hearty and requires little care to thrive, however you will need to set the proper conditions in your garden if you plan to grow it.
Water reindeer moss lightly during dry seasons. Most mosses and lichens that grow naturally require little in the way of watering, as they tend to store water. If you plant reindeer moss in your moss garden and it is not natural to your area, you may need to water it regularly during droughts to keep it from drying out.
Keep it shaded. Reindeer moss is a lichen, which is an algae and fungus combination that thrives on cool weather and shade. If planting reindeer moss, make sure you find a place that receives little sunlight.
Provide your reindeer moss with good quality air. Reindeer moss does not grow roots, and draws minimal nourishment from host plants like trees. It depends on the air for almost all of its nutrients, and will not sustain itself in highly polluted areas.
Avoid allowing animals to nibble at your reindeer moss. Reindeer moss is a slow-growing lichen species that can take up to 30 years to regrow if the top layer is damaged.
Reindeer moss tends to thrive in arctic climate areas, and will do well in the winter if you have a moss garden.
Reindeer moss tends to be very rare because of its lengthy regeneration and prolonged growth. In some areas, it is considered endangered.
Jennifer Hudock is an author, editor and freelancer from Pennsylvania. She has upcoming work appearing in two Library of the Living Dead Press anthologies and has been published in numerous print and online journals, including eMuse, Real TV Addict and Strange Horizons. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing from Bloomsburg University.