What type of plants are good ground cover for bonsai?

When I first started growing bonsai, I only used a fine gravel for ground cover, but this looked very boring and artificial. Then I tried moss, since it has no roots to compete with the bonsai, but it typically required much more water than the bonsai preferred.

I'm now using various species of Sedum, a small low-growing creeping succulent. It thrives in nearly all types of climates, sun exposure, and watering routines, so I'd have trouble killing it even if I wanted to. My only concern is with how much its root system will compete with the bonsai.

Has anyone had success with other plants?

1 Answer 1


For bonsai that stay outdoors all the time Irish moss or Sagina subulata looks like miniature grass and gives the right look. It's not too aggressive unlike creeping thyme which will cover everything and keep going.

Real moss works well indoors or out but does better with a soil that is moister. I just find moss that is outdoors and transplant it where I need it.

Neither of these have deep root systems that would compete with the bonsai.

  • Weird, I think I've actually tried growing that and didn't like it because it grew too thinly and wispy, and eventually fried in direct sun. I wasn't able to get it to grow in a "thick patch" to mimic miniature grass. Maybe I'll give it another shot.
    – Cerin
    Jun 3, 2012 at 13:31

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