Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides), a perennial epiphytic herb or "air plant," flourishes in the Southern United States. Gracefully draping live oak and cypress trees in festoons that may grow to as much as 25 feet in length, Spanish moss is a sustainable, natural material used in upholstery applications such as sleeping pallets, mattresses, pillows and automobile seats. Spanish moss, used to cover topiary frames, wreathes and floral arrangement foundations, is a staple of the floral industry. Many entrepreneurial residents of the South harvest and sell Spanish moss as a source of supplemental income.
Things You'll Need
Clear ziplock bags
Determine if you will need a business license, a horticultural inspection, an agricultural certification or sales tax forms to operate your business in your selling area. Apply for and secure any required legal authorizations.
Package Spanish moss in 1 gallon to 5 gallon ziplock plastic bags. Seal to retain freshness. For wholesale customers, package the moss in 50 pound containers.
Prepare a label and logo. Have the logo and information about your product printed on adhesive labels. Put the labels on the bags.
Contact florists and garden centers. Many of these venues use large amounts of Spanish moss and will be pleased to find a dependable supplier of fresh moss.
Sell Spanish moss at farmers' markets and craft fairs.
Sort and clean Spanish moss prior to packaging to remove small snakes, lizards and frogs. Place the moss in large bins or bags, spray with organic pesticide and seal for 48 hours. As an alternative to using pesticides, place the moss in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes to kill chiggers, red bugs or mites that may have infested the moss.
Wear gloves and a dust mask when handling Spanish moss. Some people experience skin irritation or discomfort from inhaled allergens.