Gardening, For Punks: Getting Rebellious With Moss Graffiti

Believe it or not, mosses are sometimes cultivated, as they are comprised of one-celled leaves that reproduce by dispersing spores. This method of reproduction ensures that the plant can proliferate quickly. Coupled with its ability to live on vertical surfaces, the relative ease with which moss can grow makes it a fantastic vehicle in places where you’d like to cultivate an unexpected burst of green.

garden collage moss

Daisy Helman


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To Embrace Your Inner Rebel, You Will Need:

  • A sample of moss (any kind)
  • Blender
  • Buttermilk or Yogurt
  • Water or beer
  • 1/2 Teaspoon sugar

No need to go out and buy a spray can: you probably have everything you need for moss graffiti just sitting in your kitchen.

Here’s How To Make Some Moss-some Art:

  1. Gather several handfuls of moss: the more variety, the better.
  2. Wash the moss under cold water to get as much dirt out of the roots as possible.
  3. Break it up into smaller pieces and place it in the blender. Add the buttermilk, water, and sugar
  4. Blend until it’s the consistency of a milkshake (yeah, it’s gross, but you get the idea, right?) If the liquid is too runny, add a bit of corn syrup to thicken it.
  5. Using a paintbrush, “paint” wherever you want moss to grow.

Many of the more awe-inspiring examples on Pinterest consist of manicured shapes rendered in vibrant, verdant green: a complex geometric pattern, perhaps, or an inspiring aphorism that’s “written” in moss. If your intended design goes beyond a simple freehand shape, it’s a good idea to use a stencil, as that’s the best way to get the moss in the general shape you want before you trim or remove it as need be (we’ll get to that later).


Moss, like all plants, has a set of conditions under which it is most likely to thrive: they need cooler temperatures, increased moisture and shade, and limited exposure to direct sunlight. For this reason, as anyone who’s ever taken part in Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts knows, moss grows best on the north side of rocks and walls (at least in the northern hemisphere). Thus, a patio wall facing North is a good bet.

Although it’s seen year-round, moss flourishes mostly in the fall and spring, thanks to the favorable temperatures and humidity. If you live in a dry region, be prepared to mist the moss once daily or as often as needed; applying more of the “moss paint” will also do the trick. It may take a couple of tries before you find the proper consistency for your area, and the moss may take a few weeks to grow. Be patient – it’ll look great when it’s finished.

To Remove:

When you want to remove the moss from your wall, simply spray your art with lime juice—no leather jacket required.

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