Grow Your Own Lichen

Warner Road (5), London, SE5

Lichens are so brilliant. I love their colours and crinkles.

I found this one adorning the top of my local post box. There are more than 1,700 species of lichen in Britain, so I’m not about to identify it, but I can say that it has a foliose growth form, which means it has leafy lobes which spread out, lying flat against their chosen growth surface. The alternatives to foliose lichen are really crusty ones (crustose), more shrubby ones (fruticose), and ones with tiny scales (squamulose).

Lichens tend to grow best on rough porous surfaces that retain moisture and have good access to light. The peeling paint on this post box, with its cracking bumpy surfaces, will definitely have aided in the colonisation and adhesion of this one.

I have discovered that there are various ways to encourage lichen growth. If, for example, you have a nearby wall which is looking boring and empty of colourful life, the thing to do is to spray it with one of the following nutritious substances, mixed with a little PVA glue to aid adhesion:

Skimmed milk
Thin porridge
Rice water

You may need to wait a few months though, or even years actually, before there will be much to look at, as lichen growth does tend to proceed very slowly.

Alternatively, if you find this idea very exciting and want to get serious about it rather more quickly, give this Magnificent Lichen Growth Formula a go.

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  1. nigelrayment says:

    I love your blogs, Anna!

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