Drylands cover ~41% of the terrestrial surface. In these water-limited ecosystems, soil moisture contributes to multiple hydrological processes and is a crucial determinant of the activity and performance of above- and belowground organisms and of the ecosystem processes that rely on them. Thus, an accurate characterisation of the temporal dynamics of soil moisture is critical to improve our understanding of how dryland ecosystems function and are responding to ongoing climate change. Furthermore, it may help improve climatic forecasts and drought monitoring. Here we present the MOISCRUST dataset, a long-term (2006–2020) soil moisture dataset at a sub-daily resolution from five different microsites (vascular plants and biocrusts) in a Mediterranean semiarid dryland located in Central Spain. MOISCRUST is a unique dataset for improving our understanding on how both vascular plants and biocrusts determine soil water dynamics in drylands, and thus to better assess their hydrological impacts and responses to ongoing climate change.