Selaginella Facts and Care Guide – How to Grow Spike Moss at Home?

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Selaginella is not a plant but a genus (a group of plants with similar characteristics) and has more than 700 species (varieties) of vascular plants.

Selaginella offers excellent varieties of houseplants, and all of them have the same care requirements, such as “need more and more water to sprout.” But have a different appearance, making them a loveable ornamental variety of houseplants for plant enthusiasts. 

It can be a creeping plant, a climber, or a trailing plant.

For instance: 

  • Selaginella kraussiana or trailing Spike Moss has 1-inch-long vibrant green leaves that grow in tiny clumps.
  • Selaginella stauntoniana has taller leaves that grow 6 to 8 inches long and have green triangular shapes. 
  • Selaginella lepidophylia has 3 inches high and 6 inches wide leaves and can survive without water for many days.
  • Selaginella uncinata, or peacock plant, has blue-green colored leaves that grow 2-3 inches long.

What is the best thing? No matter what, Selaginella offers excellent varieties of houseplants.

Lycopodiaceae is also a family of vascular plants, but the old one, Selaginella, is different from it due to having scale-leaves bearing a ligule and two different spores

Here is a detailed and authentic guide on Selaginella, its houseplant varieties, care, and how to grow it at homes:


Selaginella plants though referred to as spike moss, but aren’t moss by nature and characteristics. Rather than, they have an attitude of growth and requirement of care more like indoor ferns

Why? Because they are native to places that are more growable for ferns and also produce spores like ferns. 

Decorative Houseplant Varieties of Selaginella, You Can Grow at Homes:

You may have heard that Selaginella plants aren’t easy keepers, and only if you are a professional. Well, this is not the case. 

Like any other plant, Selaginella has its requirements and needs that, if you fulfill in the right way, you will find it thriving like any other easy-keeping plant

Here are the varieties you can keep in homes and look thriving in days, with the care tips given ahead:

1. Selaginella lepidophylia / False Rose of Jericho:

  • Scientific name: Selaginella lepidophylia
  • USDA Symbol: SELE2
  • Higher classification / Order / Family: Selaginella
  • Rank: Species
  • Kingdom: Plantae

It is one of the miraculous plants, belonging to the deserts and dry climates of Chihuahua.  Why miraculous? Because it can survive many days without water. 

With fresh but scaly dark green 3 inches high and 6 inches wide leaves, Selaginella lepidophylia is the easiest to grow in homes.  You will need:

  1. Shallow dish 
  2. Put some gravels in it 
  3. Add water 
  4. Place it in the bright but indirect sunlight 

Selaginella lepidophylia care is the easiest. Don’t worry if you forgot to water it because it can turn itself into a brown tumbleweed ball when not get enough water, yet comes back to its standard green form when watered again. 

“Lepidophylia variety of the Selaginella genus is different from its other sibling plants; while the rest of them loves to drink water, their one sibling can survive days of drought.”

2. Selaginella Kraussiana:

  • Scientific name: Selaginella kraussiana
  • Symbol: SELAG
  • Higher classification / Order / Family: Selaginella
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Class: Lycopodiopsida

The most searched species of the genus Selaginella is Selaginella kraussiana, a vascular plant native to the Azores and parts of mainland Africa.

It has so many names given by the general public, such as Krauss’ spikemoss, Krauss’s clubmoss, or African clubmoss.

It is a cute little trailing plant, just like Ceropegia (strings of heart plant), has vibrant green branching foliage that grows no more than 1 inch in height. 

If you find brown tipped leaves on your plant, well, these are its cultivars.

However, you can see it thriving wider and wider within only 24 hours of watering. Besides this, it has a limitless wide-spreading rooting system. To grow, they need:

  1. Lots of water 
  2. Regular water 
  3. Watering without dryness 

Check the video; this is how easily you can see this plant blooming overnight:

3. Selaginella Uncinata:

  • Scientific name: Selaginella uncinata
  • USDA Symbol: SEUN2
  • Rank: Species
  • Family: Selaginella

With attractive blue-green flowers, Selaginella uncinata makes the best ever species of plants that you can keep in homes, known with many names among the plant enthusiasts like blue spikemoss, peacock moss, peacock spikemoss, or spring blue spikemoss. 

Selaginella uncinata is native to the Gulf Coast of the United States. It grows only 2-3 inches from the ground with its oblong-shaped, paper-like, very delicate leaves.

It is grown in greenhouses and nurseries as a ground cover as an outdoor plant, just like a dense mat. To sprout, they need:

  1. Water
  2. Humidity 
  3. partial shade
  4. Moist soil 

As Selaginella uncinata wants to remain drenched and thrives so great in humid environments, it attracts reptiles so much. 

Just check how stunning this plant grows:

4. Selaginella Stauntoniana:

  • Family: Selaginellac Willk
  • Genus: Selaginella P.Beauv
  • Native to: Mongolia, China, Taiwan
  • Common names: Selaginella stauntoniana spring, Staunton’s spike moss

Selaginella stauntoniana is more like its sister plant, Selaginella lepidophylia, because it also needs less water to sprout than its other two siblings. 

It makes beautiful 12 inches tall reddish-brown or chestnut stems with creeping scalelike, asymmetrical, triangular-shaped fresh green leaves. They are also outdoor species of plants.

However, the best thing they need to sprout well is the woodland ground, dryness, and light shade. If you can provide that, you can grow this Chinese native anywhere.

One thing you should keep in notice that stauntoniana is a slow grower, just like the blue star fern, a beautiful indoor plant. Hence you got to be patient when growing it.  

5. Selaginella braunii:

  • Family: Selaginellaceae Genus: Selaginella
  • Plant type: Herbaceous perennial
  • Biomes/Growing conditions: Mesic, Oregon Coast
  • Sun exposure: Part Shade, Shade
  • USDA Hardiness zone: Zn6a -5º to -10ºF
  • Foliage color: Bronze/Orange, Light Green
  • Foliage season: Evergreen 

Braunii is another species of the Selaginella genus, also called Arborvitae fern, but despite the name, it is not actually a fern, neither in care nor in growth characteristics. 

It is called a fern because of the arrow-shaped fronds that grow as large as 10 inches. 

Selaginella braunii is an interesting plant that has bright green foliage (leaves in summers). In contrast, the leaves turn russet red or light brown during winters, making a perfect ornamental species for your outdoor garden. 

Besides, it is an evergreen plant providing perfect ornamentation to grow near the cabanas and backyard pavilions.  To develop it, you need:

  1. Well-drained soil
  2. Shaded area 
  3. Regular watering in summers

Now you know the types of Selaginella, here are some Care Tips for all Selaginella species.

Selaginella Plants Care:

All the species of Selaginella vary slightly in terms of care. 

1. Watering:

In general, Selaginella is sensitive to drying, but in particular, some of its species need continuous watering while some (poikilohydric plants) can tolerate dryness. 

Kraussiana, braunii, and Uncinata loves watering and can sprout well in humid conditions, while Stauntoniana and lepidophylia are resurrection plants from dry desserts and can survive without water for many days. 

Poikilohydric or resurrection species of Selaginella turn them into a ball when dry.

The watering routine will vary seasonally too. For example, in winters, the selaginella water-lover varieties will need even less water due to denseness in the environment. 

Make sure to follow strict precautions related to watering your plant, such as:

  • Do not leave your plant astray in the rain and let the water drain its soil more than required 
  • Over-drenching will cause soggy soil and root rot, and eventually, your plant will die or showcase unhealthy signs
  • Do not leave the water-lover varieties of Selaginella dry, as they can turn dry and dead and won’t come back to life when kept in water once again (like the dormant varieties) 

Simply mist your plant from time to time, and if you are someone who forgets to water plants more often, a self-hanging watering carrier will come in handy for you (Thanks us later). 

2. Humidity:

“High humidity, or else Selaginella might die!”

After watering, the biggest concern for you will be to keep the humidity maintain when growing beautiful moss selaginella. 

All spikemoss species love humid surroundings, making them a perfect ornamental species to keep indoor for decoration purposes. 

So, here we have just instruction for you and only one rule to follow is, 

Maintain a high humid environment around your leafy friend! For this, you can use

Moreover, when growing outdoor, find a damp, shady and acidic spot to see your plant happily thriving and dancing. 

Besides, time-to-time misting and watering will also help you sustain humidity for your plant. 

3. Light:

“Selaginella, the lovers of shade and indirect sunlight.”

Light conditions for Selaginella species will vary from species to species and the places you grow them in. Selaginella loves to remain under shades, and they don’t like facing the sun, eye to eye. 

It means when you select a room or outdoor place for these plants.

  • A room that receives sunlight for most of the day keep your selaginella plant placed indirect to that light 
  • For outdoor space, grow selaginella species as ground covers and place large plants and trees that can provide shade and help your species grow well. 

4. Temperature

Being a little too sensitive for watering and humidity, this plant is also very strict at bearing temperatures. 

Selaginella Species like temperatures range from 50°-75° F, while some thrive best in 40° F.

Though it is not a moss in temperament, you will still find it mostly grown outdoor under big plants’ shades where humidity and temperature are adaptive to their nature. 

When growing then indoors, try to maintain the temperature by, of course, using glass pots or terrariums. 

People may consider using the terrariums for decoration purposes, but you are actually helping your plant grow well and more. 

5. Soil:

Moist soil is best for some Selaginella species, while others can grow well in rock gardens or a shallow pebbly area.

Soil that retains moisture is excellent for the plant species of Selaginella, almost all. However, you should be sure that soil isn’t drenched with water to harm the roots of the selaginella plant. 

The soil’s nature will also vary based on the placement, for example, indoor and outdoor. Some species of Selaginella plant grow well in the rock gardens, woodlands, and pebbly surfaces.

You can mimic the same environment in a pot when growing Selaginella indoors. To mimic:

  • It is better to use peat moss soil as it is well-drained and retains moisture too. 
  • Check PH level of the soil as they can vary for each Selaginella species.

“Selaginella mostly loves acidic soil.”

  • Some experts also recommend humus-rich soil to plant enthusiasts for some species of this genus.

6. Pruning:

Selaginella species grow so well and thrive so tall when it comes to giving them proper conditions. However, they also don’t mind pruning. 

As a caring parent, you can prune your plant from time to time to cater to its beautiful and desirable appearance. 

So, to make it give a more lush, bushy appearance, pinch the leggy and taller tips and branches and prune them to stimulate your plant’s widespread growth. 

Besides this, do not leave dead and damaged leaves staying attached to your plant; prune them off, and have fun with your leafy friend. 

7. Fertilizers:

Like all other plants, Selaginella needs fertilizers only in the growing season, i.e., spring through fall.

Do not over fertilize your plant ever rather, keep the quantity accurate. 

You would be astonished to know that a more-than-required amount of fertilizers might kill your selaginella plants. 

Selaginella Propagation:

Selaginella species are great growers, and they keep multiplying with their spores from time to time throughout the year.

To grow it from scratch, you can use the cutting method. 

  • Get a healthy branch with some leaves on it from your plant 
  • Sow it in the rich compost
  • Place your baby plant in a partially shaded indoor area 
  • Water regularly 


  • Don’t use cold water
  • Don’t let the soil go soggy 
  • Maintain humidity 

When you see your plant has grown to an optimum size, transfer it to a glass terrarium for decorative purposes and to help your plant maintain humidity naturally without using humidifiers. 

Common Pests and Diseases:

This plant is as attractive for bugs as it is for humans, and some typical home pests that can affect Selaginella are, 

  • Spider mites 
  • Mealybugs 
  • Curling leaves

Selaginella Care for pests:

For different pests, the care will be different. Follow this guide:

You will see a curtain-like spider net around your plant; this definitely happens in case of an attack by spider mites. To get rid of it:

  • Maintain high humidity around the plant

If you see that your plant’s leaves turn yellow despite the proper care, that’s not a business other than mealybugs. To keep from it:

  • You can use soapy sprays and cleansing of the leaves using neem oil to ensure safety against mealybugs 

Note: mealybugs usually suck the nutrients from the plant and make it weaker, so in case of attack, increase fertilizers so that plant can get back to a stable condition.

Lastly, curling leaves if you find any of the selaginella plant types, make sure to check if they are receiving enough humidity. 

  • In this case, maintain more humid environments around your plant and keep leaves and stems from curling. 


Selaginella is an entirely safe plant to keep in homes as it is not toxic to humans, pets, and other fellow plants. Dah, it is not a Leucocoprinus Birnbaumii

  • It is not toxic to cats.
  • It is not toxic to dogs.
  • It is not toxic to kids or humans either. 


1. Is Selaginella Fern?

Selaginella is neither a fern nor moss but a vascular plant; however, instead of moss, it is more a fern alley technically based on temperament and attitude related to care and growth.

Selaginella produces spores like ferns for reproduction than seeds. 

2. Can I grow Selaginella indoors?

Usually, almost all types of selaginella plants grow outdoor and thrive so well. 

However, there is no harm in growing then indoors as long as you are ready to give proper environment such as appropriate 50˚F temperature, high humidity, draining soil, and partially shaded area. 

3. Is Selaginella Hard to care plant?

As a beginner, plants like the snake plant, maidenhair fern, Pholiota Adiposa, or pothos are great for you to grow as they have a very mild and easy growth attitude. 

Selaginella can be a little challenging for you to care about unless it is Rose of Jericho that can stay and survive like a tumbleweed ball for years. 

Bottom Line:

This is all about Selaginella, a genus mostly misjudged as a plant. 

We have discussed its famous species you can grow in homes, the general care every selaginella plant will need, and some growth-related conditions. 

By following them, you will be able to help your plant grow well. 

Do you have any queries in mind? Let us know in the comments below.

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