I’m hate to wait!!!
I make hypertufa containers and wanted them to look like they have been in the landscape forever… without actually having to wait that long. Not just for hypertufa, you can promote the growth of moss on stepping-stones, rocks, or any other porous surface in your landscape.
Location, location, location
Something to consider when your trying to grow moss is that it thrives in damp shady conditions… think woodsy. If your going to paint your creation then set it out in the driest, sunniest spot in your garden, chances are… you just waisted a lot of time. Save the buttermilk for some biscuits or fried chicken instead.
Before you start
Moss and lichens prefer an acidic base. Since one of the ingredients in hypertufa is cement, you want to neutralize its alkalinity by letting it sit in a bath (about 1/4 cup of vinegar to a gallon of water is good) of vinegar water for a half hour or so. If you’re applying the slurry to something that has been out in the landscape for some time and has been exposed to the elements, it is probably good to go… you decide.
I don’t have this down to an exact science because my personality type functions better and has more fun when technicalities aren’t necessary for success. It’s more about the creative process and the fun that comes along with getting your hands dirty.
My measurements are just guidelines. I had about 20 containers of various sizes to paint so I may have needed a larger volume of slurry than what you may need.
I mixed 1 large container of plain yogurt and 1 quart of buttermilk (which acts as the glue), creating a nice consistency that wasn’t too runny. To this I added shredded moss that I had harvested, cleaning out any dirt and debris. A good ratio might be about 2 parts glue, 1 part moss. If your slurry is too wet, add more moss.
Paint your object with a nice coat of slurry. Find a shady, damp spot to let your object sit while it starts to establish growth. After a few weeks, you should see results.
For stepping-stones, statues or rocks, keep the moss happy by misting it every so often with the hose. If your project was a container, any water used to water the plants should penetrate the surface of the container, keeping the moss moist. Use your best judgement. You don’t want to over water your plants just to keep your moss happy so you might mist just the outside of the container during dry spells.