ISSUE 21  |  City Mouse

All-Time Easiest Houseplant Moss Is Moving In

May 30, 2014 1:30 PM

BY Margot Guralnick

Spotted making itself at home at New York’s recent International Contemporary Furniture Fair: preserved, unnaturally bright reindeer moss from Finland, ready to colonize coffee tables, hang from ceilings, and climb walls as maintenance-free indoor gardens. The plant’s purveyor, Polarmoss, is based on the Finnish island of Hailuuto and has been gathering moss–and selling it–for decades (the owner is a self-described “third generation entrepreneur in the moss sector.”) At ICFF, the company was debuting its latest product: dried and dyed reindeer moss presented as indoor decor in the form of moss-covered rock-like “islands,” hanging orbs, and wall installations in red, yellow, and green. 

A salesperson told us that Polarmoss is the world’s easiest houseplant: it looks good for years without water, especially perks up when the humidity rises (40 percent humidity is its ideal), and is a natural sound absorber. It’s also fire resistant (thanks to a treatment process) and, they assured, is responsibly harvested “in boreal and arctic regions around the circumpolar north.”

We were intrigued; what do you think?

Photographs courtesy of Polarmoss.

Above: Islands of Polarmoss. The moss is hand picked, dried, and then colored in a solution of water, pigments, and salt (the salt is evidently what makes the otherwise very flammable moss fire retardant). Though no longer alive, it remains responsive to moisture and quickly goes from brittle to spongy after a spritz of water. The moss can dry out and soften several times without harm (but it shouldn’t be sprayed too often or touched when it’s brittle).

Above: The islands are sold in three sizes (and have mounting hooks, so they can move from table to wall). Suggested prices for islands range from $220 to $355 each. Polarmoss will soon be selling its designs through US retailers; for buying information, contact the company’s US rep Elit Inc

Above: Polarmoss spheres; prices start at $134 for the smallest.

Above: Flex Elements, a series of felt-based shapes sold by Polarmoss, enable the moss to be hung on walls. These can be made to order in a range of sizes, colors, and patterns.

Above: Polarmoss panels are natural sound absorbers. They can be cleaned (carefully) using a vacuum cleaner with a dust brush attachment. 

Above: Reindeer moss is a form of lichen that grows in the wild near the Arctic Circle. Polarmoss harvests its moss in Finland and Russia and writes in its catalog: “We at Polarmoss care for the environment we operate in. Reindeer moss is only hand picked; we always leave the forest cared for. We make sure the moss has enough time to rest and grow between picking periods.” For more information, go to Polarmoss.

Moss is definitely having a moment; learn how to use it to make a DIY: Desktop Zen Garden. And if you like the idea of ease, don’t miss 10 Best Low-Maintenance Houseplants. On Remodelista, read wellness expert Jackie Ashton’s 10 Reasons to Bring the Outdoors In