Irish and Scotch Moss
Ground covers, Perennials
Of two different ground-hugging plants of similar appearance, Sagina subulata is the more common. The other is Arenaria verna, usually called A. v. caespitosa. Both of these European natives make dense, compact, moss-like masses of slender leaves on slender stems. But A. verna has tiny white flowers in few-flowered clusters, while S. subulata bears flowers singly and differs in other technical details. In common usage, however,green forms of the two species are called Irish moss, and golden green forms (A. v. ‘Aurea‘ and S. s. ‘Aurea‘) are called Scotch moss.
Both Sagina and Arenaria are grown primarily as ground covers for limited areas. They‘re useful for filling gaps between paving blocks. In cool-summer gardens, they can seed themselves and become pests.
These plants won‘t grow well under conditions that suit true mosses. They need good soil, good drainage, and occasional feeding with controlled-release fertilizer. They take some foot traffic and tend to hump up in time; control humping by occasionally cutting out narrow strips, then pressing or rolling lightly. Control snails, slugs, cutworms. Cut squares from flats and set 6 in. apart for fast cover. To avoid lumpiness, plant so that soil line of squares is at or slightly below planted soil surface.
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