Sun loving Moss? Scleranthus biflorus

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The common name for this species is ‘Canberra Grass’ even though it has a very un-grass-like appearance, it is commonly mistaken for a moss and makes a wonderful  moss substitute in Japanese style gardens. It is happiest in a sunny position and contrasts well with broad-leaved plants.


Scleranthus biflorus likes growing in areas with low humidity, it can suffer from fungal problems if the drainage is not adequate. It thrives in a position where it can spread over an in-organic surface that won’t decompose or rot, like gravel or pebbles. It also performs well in a pot or container and will spill over giving it a lovely oozing habit 😉



Scleranthus bilforus also looks amazing mass planted where it can create a continuous lumpy lime green carpet. It has a beautiful texture and from a distance appears soft and luscious. I am going to try planting some in pots this month as it hates my shady, clay garden beds.


14 responses to “Sun loving Moss? Scleranthus biflorus”

  1. Sonja

    Can Scleranthus biflorus be walked on? We’re thinking of planting some in a small section of a garden bed near our pool?

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Tia,

      I think it could be walked on occasionally, perhaps it would be good between steppers?



  2. Michele Bowler

    Is Scleranthus biflorus an ever green plant or does it die off in certain months. Thanks for your help.

    1. Kim


  3. Julie McDonnell

    Can you overwater it

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Julie,

      Yes! you definitely can over-water Scleranthus, this is probably their main cause of death in the home garden.

      Best Wishes,


  4. Poppie Greane

    Is it poisonous to any pets?

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Poppie,

      I cannot find any info on Scleranthus being poisonous, so I would say it’s very unlikely.

      All the best,

  5. Jason

    Will it do well in full shade under a tree?

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Jason,

      S. biflorus really prefers a sunny position so no, it probably won’t do well under a shady tree.

      All the best,

  6. Emily

    I adore your website – so much wonderful information and inspiration. You’re very generous with your knolwedge and creativity!

    Im wondering how scleranthus goes in very hot weather and drought. Ive seen it at local nurseries, and the label says it requires moisture. But, Im pretty sure Ive seen it growing in a rocky embankment nearby and so Im wondering if it survives, or if the owners water it….or perhaps water drains over the area. I live Central Victoria so we get protracted hot and dry weather, but dont get much humidity.

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Emily,

      Thank you very much. I believe Scleranthus biflorus will be able to tolerate hot weather and drought reasonably well in your area. The natural distribution of the species spans coastal to alpine regions so some plants are likely well adapted to rocky embankment sites. How well a plant does in your own garden might depend on where the seed has been sourced from and factors such as rainfall as you say. It will like the lack of humidity, and I would certainly give it a go if I were you, perhaps watering in really dry times and monitoring how it does.

      Best wishes,

  7. Kathleen

    I’m trying it out in my own garden before using in designs here in Sacrament California, Do you know if it prefer to be irrigated by sprayers or in-line drip??


    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Kathleen,

      It won’t like too much water so I would actually recommended not irrigating it and perhaps giving it a hand water in really dry times. Overwatering Scleranthus can be a common cause of death. How well your plants do may depend on where the seed has been sourced too. If you do decide to irrigate I’d suggest in-line.

      All the best,

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