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Durable Desert Moss Takes Foot Traffic and Drought

Virtues: We love 'Wallowa Mountain' desert moss (Arenaria 'Wallowa Mountain') because it is an evergreen, exceptionally short and compact groundcover native to Oregon that resembles moss yet is very drought tolerant. Superb for xeric and fairy gardens, permanent containers, between paving stones in paths and on patios, and as a companion to hardy cacti and succulents.

Wallowa Mountain desert moss arenaria

Common name: 'Wallowa Mountain' desert moss

Botanical name:Arenaria 'Wallowa Mountain'

Flowers: Small white flowers appear sporadically in summer. The plant is grown more for its evergreen foliage.

Foliage: The leaves of Arenaria 'Wallowa Mountain' are tiny and densely packed, making the plant resemble moss.

Habit: Desert moss is an evergreen perennial spreading groundcover that grows 6 inches tall and 8 to 12 inches wide.

Season: Year-round.

Origin: Selection of a perennial native to Oregon introduced by Plant Select Petites in 2015.

How to grow 'Wallowa Mountain' desert moss: Site this arenaria in full sun or part shade, in moderate to sandy soil. As for watering, it grows under moderate to dry conditions. It will grow well as a groundcover or topdressing in containers, including miniature or fairy gardens, where it can serve as a fairy lawn. It can be grown between pavers, on a path or among other xeric plants. Desert moss survives air temperatures in USDA Zones 4–8, but it will not do well in areas that are Zone 7 and 8 and have high humidity.

Image courtesy Pat Hayward/Plant Select Petites.
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