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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got some sphagnum that appeared to have some red coloration, from the wild (I only took a little patch) and after a few months all the red turned to green. it is growing on a windowsill with very bright sunlight, and I am just wondering why it is green. A possibility is that it was growing in a very shaded area in the wild, and maybe it is not used to the sunlight. I don’t think the temperature would be an issue, because the current temp is same as the one in the wild. Maybe, however, it could be seasonal? However, I don’t think this is the case because I saw a big patch of red spagnum in the summer, and in early spring there was also red spagnum. Any ideas as to why the color changes?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Also, some other unrelated sphagnum to the stuff I was talking about - In the wild, this stuff was growing in a really dense compact clump. Now, the stuff grows a lot but it is a bit more tall, and stringy. The stuff in the wild was shaded, however the stuff I have now is growing in a high light environment. Could this extra light be making the spagnum more stringy?
 

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The answer to both questions is not enough light. Even if something looks like “shade” outdoors, it is usually much brighter than we can provide indoors. Plants tend to be more compact and “neat” in growth habit under higher light, and sphagnum notoriously requires very high light to get it to color up. Give it more direct sunlight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It gets about 11 hours of natural light, and 7 of those hours are direct sunlight. It gets very bright on the window sill, and I even had that “red” sphagnum growing in artificial light for a while. It got 12 hours of direct light, with a 5000k LED. The LED was a couple inches (4 or 5) from the top of the sphagnum, but that didn’t seem to do anything either. I guess if I gave it REALLY bright light it might work, but I’m fine with it being green for now.
 

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Again, 5000k is color temperature and does not give any indication of brightness.

The presence of a window cuts UVB rays significantly. No matter how much direct light a plant is getting through a window, it’s not the same as being outside. I believe a lot of people who want their sphagnum to color up put it outside for the summer.
 

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How crap I had no idea sphagnum moss could turn red! I've never even seen it in the wild but now I'ma gonna start looking for it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
are there only certain species of sphagnum that can turn red? Or can any type of it start turning red when in very bright light?
 

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are there only certain species of sphagnum that can turn red? Or can any type of it start turning red when in very bright light?
Some species will turn red or orange more readily than others, and I think that capillifolium is usually red no matter the light levels. Some species will remain mostly green even under very high light.

Aside from light intensity, nutrients and color temperature might play a role in color. I have read that sphagnum will be green with too many nutrients, which it most likely has if it’s growing in a vivarium. I’m assuming that the sphagnum you referred to as getting direct sunlight is not inside a vivarium, because direct sunlight + glass enclosure = everything gets fried. That sphagnum should be watered with distilled or RO water only and not fertilized at all, and that may result in better colors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes I find that watering any moss with tap water will quickly kill it, and doesn’t the nutrients have something to do with a bog having little to no nutrients? something like the moss isn’t used to any nutrients, so when it gets it it will panic and not know what to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wow, that color is really nice! Off the topic of color, I tried growing some sphagnum in my vivarium. Here is a picture of it shortly after I put it in.
298315
However, I took it out about a month later because of the water requirements. My humidity was constantly 70% plus, and I had to heavily mist it 3 times a day for it to not die. Any less than that, and it would quickly start to dry up and die. Also, the heat wasn’t the issue because the LED doesn’t get any heat and remains cool to the touch. So, Have You had any of these issues? Do you have to constantly water your sphagnum?
 

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Wow, that color is really nice! Off the topic of color, I tried growing some sphagnum in my vivarium. Here is a picture of it shortly after I put it in. View attachment 298315 However, I took it out about a month later because of the water requirements. My humidity was constantly 70% plus, and I had to heavily mist it 3 times a day for it to not die. Any less than that, and it would quickly start to dry up and die. Also, the heat wasn’t the issue because the LED doesn’t get any heat and remains cool to the touch. So, Have You had any of these issues? Do you have to constantly water your sphagnum?
I almost NEVER directly water my sphagnum moss in the backgrounds of my tanks. When I do, it's only to hold more humidity for the frogs and not to actually water the sphagnum moss.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hmm.... interesting. I know for a fact that both of our sphagnum are different species, maybe that has something to do with it. I actually had some of that exact same glossy, stringy stuff growing in a container. I will have to look for that, now that I know it can turn red. I would really like to have the red spagnum in my vivarium, but just the water alone makes it very difficult. maybe if I find the stuff you have, I can get it to grow with less water. I will try it out!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I just did some quick research, the species of sphagnum you have is s. Angustifolium. It grows in a wide variety of conditions, and is very hardy. I think I found the reason why you don’t need to water it as much; it grows in ombrotrophic bogs, which are bogs that get all their water from rain, not streams or any aquifers. After reading this, it seems like they don’t constantly have water in them. So, the sphagnum you have can tolerate periods of time where it dries out, because in the wild there might be times where there is no rain for a week or two. I have no idea if this stuff I think about ombrotrophic bogs is correct, but it seems to me that it gives a pretty good explanation to why you don’t need to water it as much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well the stuff grows in Canada, so that would make sense. Did you buy it live, or did it come back to life from the brown dried out stuff?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The stuff I have on the window is now slowly starting to turn red again. Maybe this is because it’s getting brighter light since it’s now spring.
 

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Im not sure if this has anything to do with your moss, but the mosses around here grow in the fashion in which you speak of and will look red at times. I only notice the red color during a reproductive phase of the mosses or at least that is what it looks to me. They will turn with a redish hue and have deep color to them but will eventually turn all green again. The seasons and cold snaps i believe play a roll in this as well. I have taken moss i couldnt get to grow and no matter what I did it wouldnt live for very long and one day i took some that looked to be dying and through it out in the cold into the flower bed. Well it lived through the winter and came back nice in the summer and it made me think. I havent been subjecting it to cold, ive been trying to keep it tropical and a seasonal moss that is use to the changes might actually need them. Another thing to note is the soil around here is clay, that says that there is a a lot of iron in the ground and i do know that most plants the show themselves as red only do so when given the right amount of iron, among other nutrients of course.

I believe these may be some reasons the moss around here has red hue's and colors. It may possibly have something to do with yours.
 
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