But your love was not enough... or perhaps it was it too much? It doesn't matter if you smothered her in your embrace, failed to provide the steamy humidity she craves, or scorched her with the hot and burning sun; your sweet, sweet Selaginella has withered under your control and has left you for the compost heap.
|What happens to an unhappily dry Selaginella|
It didn't have to end that way. All you had to do was be a good listener and cater to her needs! Because I know you meant well and really want a second chance, I'd like to introduce you to six spikemosses to pick up on the rebound, just as long as you read my tips on how to keep Selaginella happy and healthy next time around.
Six Selaginella for the Savvy Fella
|Selaginella kraussiana 'Aurea'|
|Selaginella brownii 'Lacy Spikemoss'|
|Selaginella kraussiana 'Brownii' (Pin-cushion spikemoss)|
|Selaginella erythropus 'Ruby Red'|
How to Take Care of Selaginella
I'll make this simple for you. Keep the soil moist. I know that over-watering is the leading cause of houseplant homicide, but Selaginella likes it nice and damp. The soil shouldn't stay dripping wet, but it shouldn't completely dry out either. I prefer to water with a mister since it wets the foliage as well, but any watering method will suffice.
Ah, that elusive humidity. You'll know that your Selaginella needs humidity when the stems and leaves start to curl up and dry out, but it's actually pretty easy to remedy. Here are several ways.
|Gold spikemoss planted with nerve plant, arrowhead vine and Anthurium.|
|A lantern makes for a nice makeshift terrarium|
Mist the foliage. Use anything from a hair spritzer to a pressurized tank sprayer. I prefer the latter, but either will envelop the Selaginella in moist air, leaving droplets on the foliage that evaporate and provide humidity throughout the day.
Grow Outdoors. Some Selaginella will thrive outdoors in zones 6-10, provided they're grown in a damp, shady and acidic spot. I recommend planting at the base of gingers, hostas or other shade and moisture loving plants where they'll benefit from the added shade and humidity. Those suitable for the Southeast US include S. kraussiana, S. braunii and S. uncinata.
A classic mistake is to put Selaginella in direct sunlight where the foliage becomes scorched before you can say "Southern fried Selaginella on a smokin and sunny summer day!" As long as they stay out of the direct sunlight, (the kind that leaves a shadow of your hand with clear outlines) they'll do okay.
Keep the soil acidic.
Regular potting mix should do just fine, but if you have hard water, you might have to flush out the accumulated salts and amend the soil with acidic peat moss periodically. If growing outdoors, test the pH balance of the soil before planting.
Luckily spikemosses are easy to start from cuttings. I've pressed one against my rock planted bonsai and it's already attached new roots!
|This Selaginella cutting was inserted into a moss covered rock along with my bonsai and is now putting out roots.|
I would like to thank Ray Roberts of Central Florida Ferns for sharing these superb Selaginella plants with me for use in my upcoming book on indoor container gardens. If you would like to purchase any of the spikemosses featured here, Central Florida Ferns sells wholesale to the trade and Tropiflora sells them on both their nursery and retail website.
For all their charm, spikemosses aren't for everyone. If you tend to forget to water your plants, check out my list of what I've found to be ten of the easiest houseplants for black thumbs. If you'd like to combine them with other plants, check out this combo that I made for a demonstration. Better yet, learn how to arrange them in my book on easy houseplant combos called Plant by Numbers!