How would a person grow Spanish Moss in a non-tropical climate?

Discussion in 'Tropical Epiphytes' started by hoodoowytch, May 21, 2014.

  1. hoodoowytch

    hoodoowytch Anthocerotophyta

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    Not entirely sure that Spanish Moss fits into this category, but I'll still pose the question here. I just love how the Spanish Moss drapes and grows all over the oak trees in Savannah, Georgia. I would just LOVE to be able to have the stuff growing here in Kentucky, but not sure how I would get it to grow indoors and if it would grow on any of the oak tree here.
     
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  2. John S

    John S Administrator
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    The biggest problem with Spanish Moss is the birds. If you only put out a little bit, the birds will take it all! Spanish moss is actually hardy to Zone 7b as long as moisture levels are kept high in the winter and it's protected from long freezes. It's native up to Virginia (Zone 8a).

    Mountain Live Oak is a variation of live Live Oak that is hardier and smaller along with Sand Live Oak that's native north to Delmarva. Both of these are rare in cultivation though.

    They prefer to grow on plants that leach many nutrients. Crape Myrtles are another alternative which are easily hardy to Zone 7b.

    You can grow it inside but if you wild collect, you'll have to spray it with insecticide/miticide such as permethrin since they tend to have a lot of life in them... I've gotten chiggers just playing with some! You just need to spray a little and use a little fertilizer once in a while (well diluted).
     
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  3. hoodoowytch

    hoodoowytch Anthocerotophyta

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    WOW! Thanks John! I had NO idea that Spanish Moss grew as far as Virginia. I figured since I had never seen any here in Kentucky that it would not grow in this zone and would have to be kept indoors.

    It's EVERYWHERE in southern Georgia. You can barely step for the stuff in Savannah as it is everywhere and is always falling off the trees. I think it is beautiful and gives a sort of magickal, old-world, primeval forest sort of feel to the an area. How long will it stay alive once it's off a tree and shoved into a bag?
     
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  4. John S

    John S Administrator
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    I'm not sure how long it will live but it's definitely tough! The only problem your climate will give Spanish Moss is the dryness in the coldest of winter + sustained freezing. So a little protection is all thats needed (or major for birds!). Historically, it's been said that Spanish Moss was once native near me in Delaware. I think this could be possible since the giant cypress swamps have since been drained and converted into farmland. Even the intact forest is no longer as wet as it used to be (this probably allowed conditions which were too dry/cold).
     
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  5. hoodoowytch

    hoodoowytch Anthocerotophyta

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    Well, the stuff does seem to be a lot more prolific than I realized. Funny, never seen it any where except in Savannah, Ga.

    Well, I got a bag of the stuff in a drawer I've had for about 2 years now. Guess I am going to see if I can get any of it to start growing again. I'll look around for a branch or something I can put it on and see what happens.
     
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  6. John S

    John S Administrator
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  7. hoodoowytch

    hoodoowytch Anthocerotophyta

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    AH! AH! THAT'S WHERE I GOT MINE! Skid-a-way Island is GORGEOUS! The park folks let me get some that had gotten knocked off some of the trees during a storm to take as a sort of natural souvenir.

    Tiny fiddler crabs every where and teeny, tiny periwinkle snails too. Painted Buntings, Ravens, Egrets, and so much more there. And the TREES! Everywhere big, beautiful, oaks with tons of Spanish moss. I was born just outside of Savannah. :)
     
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  8. John S

    John S Administrator
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    I'm pretty sure some areas in that park must have the most dense populations of Spanish Moss! I've been to Savannah twice but I never got to stay there long.
     
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  9. hoodoowytch

    hoodoowytch Anthocerotophyta

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    Pity you never got to stay long. Savannah is wonderful. My hubby and I have decided if we ever did decide to move back down south it would be back to Savannah. I rather like the very laid back atmosphere of the area. It's so different from Northern Georgia. People tend to be a bit more uptight and rigid up north. Atlanta is just big and nasty.

    Northern Georgia is full of mostly hard-assed religious people...Southern Georgia...not as bad.
     
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  10. John S

    John S Administrator
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    ...and it's closer to the beach. That's always a plus!
     
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  11. hoodoowytch

    hoodoowytch Anthocerotophyta

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    Oh yes...the beach is always very nice. I sometimes miss being down in Savannah. I like this part of the country too, but sometimes I do miss the ocean. I really miss the trees and all the spanish moss and the wildlife.

    Lots of history in the area too...not all of it pleasant, but plenty interesting none the less. ;)
     
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