I had heard about the differences between the usual Wisconsin long-fibered Sphagnum moss and that imported from New Zealand or Chile. While I had never had anything but Wisconsin grown available in years past, I had recently seen the stuff from Chile and was curious.It was obviously more expensive than I had ever paid before, but it looked nice, fluffy and besides, I couldn't find anything at any of the local nurseries for some reason, so this was better than nothing. My thanks to whoever suggested finding small bags at Home Depot, however it was too late anyway.
Being a long time grower of CP's, I was used to the dark, dry moss that over the years seemed to have suffered quality problems along with everything else. The 4 cu. ft. bale of compressed/packed moss now came quite loose and looked shabby compared to what I used to buy years ago.
Having spent the money on the bale of Chilean Sphagnum moss, I decided to compare the two to see which was the better deal. I too out a sample of each type and looked at the individual pieces. The Wisc. Moss looked anorexic compared to the Chilean, and was quite broken up into small pieces.
Wisconsin on the left / Chilean on the right
A Handful of Wisconsin Sphagnum (RIGHT) and of Chilean Sphagnum (LEFT)
Loose packed Wisconsin
Compressed packaged Chilean
Dry Moss (Wisc on left, Chilean on the right)
I decided to wet both samples to see if that made a difference. As sphagnum swells with water, the Chilean moss grew like live caterpillars! The Wisconsin moss swelled slightly, and laid there like something long dead and long in storage.
Wet Moss (Wisconsin on the left, Chilean on the right)
By the time I wetted and used what I needed, I found that the small bale of moss from Chile filled my needs and I even had some left over. It was soaking wet but still light and fluffy, filling the pots nicely. The Wisconsin moss I filled a pot with looked prematurely decayed and deteriorated. I am sure the Chilean moss will last a longer time before needing replacing, and as it turns out, for the end volume equivalent, is well worth the price. At least to me it has proved itself, and is in fact the better deal. As someone who needs the best deal I can find, while the Wisconsin moss will hold me in a pinch, the quality of the Chilean moss has certainly out-shined the competition. Funny, it reminds me of the Wisconsin bales of sphagnum I used to buy long ago!
Good luck and good growing everyone!
Hope this info has helped those interested and wondering.