Sphagnum Moss vs Peat Moss: Are They That Different?

Nora Held
Nora Held
Research Writer
Apart from being our main writer, Nora also works for a number of gardening-related sites and magazines, sharing her experience as an owner of a small farm in North Carolina read more
Reviewed By
Bruce Williams
Bruce Williams
Expert Consultant
Bruce owns a small farm and loves to grill since his early childhood. He’s a professional cook, but hiking and enjoying the great outdoors is his no less favorite part of read more
Last updated: August 18, 2023
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If you are a farmer, then you know just how hard it is to get the right moisture content in your soil. When it is too dry, then the plants will wither, and if it is too wet, the seeds you plant will rot before they can grow. It is for this reason that you need to be careful about the soil moisture content. When buying the best soil mixes for herbs, for instance, you have to know the properties in it to determine whether it is perfect for the job or not. Dealing with moisture content in soil can be costly, so inexpensive solutions like moss have been created to help deal with the problem. The biggest debate amongst farmers is sphagnum moss vs. Peat moss.

Many argue over these two and which one they should use in their garden. One way of knowing which one would work out is looking at the two in a different light and figuring out what their perks are. Here are a few comparisons.

Sphagnum moss

Sphagnum Moss vs Peat Moss: Are They That Different? Sphagnum moss Trusted Source Plantwatch: is sphagnum the most underrated plant on Earth? | Plants | The Guardian Humble moss makes up bulk of peat bogs and locks away huge amounts of carbon www.theguardian.com comes from the moss family and grows in swampy areas. It grows on the top of the moss fern and is usually harvested as pure moss. It has a neutral pH which makes it conducive for using alongside plants that do not need high levels of acidy in their soil. Sphagnum moss is popularly used because of its long fibers and its ability to retain a lot of water. You can find it online or in craft stores in smaller bags. One of the bag sizes with numerous positive reviews is the SuperMoss (22330) Orchid Sphagnum Moss Dried. These come in handy, especially if you have never used them before or would like to give them a try.

Peat moss

Peat moss comes from the same moss plant-like sphagnum moss. The main difference is, it is decayed moss that has sunk below the water, and many at times, it will have traces of other dead plants and insects that might have combined with it. It is acidic and holds up to 70% water. According to a high number of reviews, many stores also sell it in bales, and one of the ideal alternatives is Organic Sphagnum Peat Moss by Perfect Plants. It is the best pick for you when you are thinking of growing potted plants.

Sphagnum or peat moss: what to choose?

The main debate by many people is whether they should buy sphagnum moss or peat moss. The reason for this usually is the fact that they are both from the same plant. Choosing one seems difficult is not impossible. One of the things to consider when making this choice is the acidity of the moss you get. Sphagnum moss is neutral, while peat moss is acidic. Go for whichever will work best for you and your plants as dictated by the soil test. Organic weed killers with minimal chemicals and effects on the soil should be used alongside either to achieve the desired outcomes.

Another thing you need to look at is the cost of the moss. Sphagnum is known to be expensive, while peat is the cheaper variety. If you are starting and are pressed for money, you might have to consider peat moss. Sphagnum Moss vs Peat Moss: Are They That Different?

The last thing you need to look at is the water retention capabilities of the moss you settle on. Sphagnum holds more water than peat moss. These comparisons should help you make an informed choice.

Final thoughts

The debate between sphagnum moss vs. peat moss will not end anytime soon. Different people will have different preferences based on what they like. To ensure you choose the best moss for your gardening, look at all the perks of each type. You can ask your friends who have been gardening for a while as they are bound to have useful insight. Where in doubt, buy in small batches and test them out first. Having the appropriate gardening tools is another aspect to bear in mind. The garden fork you use alongside other tools ought to be appropriate for the applications at hand.


Plantwatch: is sphagnum the most underrated plant on Earth? | Plants | The Guardian
Humble moss makes up bulk of peat bogs and locks away huge amounts of carbon

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