The Resurrection plant gets its name from the fact that it can re-grow from an almost deadened state.
Where there is no water, the Resurrection plant dries up, appears dead, curls its fronds inwards, and can travel around the desert in tumbleweed form until they find water.
Once it gets exposed to moisture, it rehydrates, turns green within hours, and develops creeping stems that grow horizontally with scale-like leaves. If you are looking forward to growing this unique plant to spice up your spaces, go through this care guide.
- What Is a Resurrection Plant?
- Resurrection Plant Care
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a Resurrection Plant?
The Resurrection plant is commonly known as the Selaginella lepidophylla. Also known as the False rose of Jericho or Resurrection plant flower, this plant originates from the Chihuahuan desert. It belongs to the Spikemoss family, and it is very heat resistant.
Resurrection Plant Care
The Resurrection plant is beginner-friendly due to its unusual survival mechanism. However, when grown as a houseplant, it is important to expose this plant to the best conditions possible to help it flourish.
This amazing plant is sold in its dry, brown fern ball-like state. It will revive itself and thrive when exposed to its special care requirements.
– Water Requirements
The Resurrection plant is drought tolerant and can thrive only with once-a-month watering. Even though this plant can go for months without being watered, a single watering a month during the summer season will keep your houseplant stunning.
During winter and spring, you should cut back the watering frequency because moisture loss is very low during this period. The growth rate of the Resurrection plant is generally low and this even gets worse during winter as it enters dormancy thereby reducing the need for growing supplements.
When the Resurrection plant is still in its brown dried form, you should place it in a container with water and pebbles. Place the dried plant in the container making sure it rests on the pebbles but, do not let it get completely submerged in the water.
We recommend that you use distilled water because this plant is sensitive to water quality. Consider using rainwater or put tap water in a container and leave it out overnight to settle.
It will take around three to four hours for the dried-out plant to start unfurling and complete revival will occur in a few days.
However, the Resurrection plant will not survive if it is left sitting in water continuously as it starts to rot. It is also possible to grow a mature Resurrection plant directly in water but you should remove it from the container for at least one day a week to allow it to dry out.
– Light Requirements
An indoor-grown Resurrection plant performs best in rooms that have bright indirect sunlight. You should place it close to the west- or south-facing windows that give your plant enough sunlight.
If you choose to use a south-facing window, ensure that the plant does not get exposed to direct sunlight the whole day, especially in summer. This can be achieved by using blinds or curtains to dim the sunlight after a few hours of direct light.
In their natural environments, the Resurrection plants are used to too much sunlight exposure. In this case, about 12 hours of sunlight daily will not be bad.
Although these plants are light lovers, avoid exposing them directly to the scorching sun when growing them as houseplants. This is simply because, once the Resurrection plant adapts to indoor conditions, its foliage becomes vulnerable to the scorching sun’s damage.
– Soil Requirements
A desert Resurrection plant is very interesting as it does not have any root system. You just need to get a shallow container and put gravel inside such that water can trickle downward.
Place the plant on the gravel and give it some moisture, and it will start developing. This makes this plant very easy to manage and cost-effective as it does not need any special potting soils.
If the plant’s development does not please you, consider using well-draining potting soil and a pot that has enough drainage holes to release excess water. Once you place your Resurrection plant on the soil, you will not need to repot it anymore since it does not have roots.
Remember, repotting is mainly done to prevent the roots from becoming cramped. Resurrection plants can also grow and do well on any surface, for example, they can grow on other plants due to their epiphytic nature.
– Temperatures Requirements
The Resurrection plant’s ideal temperature for survival and growth is between 70 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 26 degrees Celsius). Temperatures that are below 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius) even during the night cause the Resurrection plant to become dormant.
During the cold season, we recommend placing your plants in rooms that have heaters to keep the temperatures high. Before considering the use of electric heaters, make sure you have a thermometer in place to avoid unnecessary temperature fluctuations that may shock the plants.
Always avoid exposing the Resurrection plant to extreme temperature variations. Room temperatures offer the best survival conditions for the Resurrection plant but, you should ensure that they are placed away from drafty windows or vents.
If you were growing it outdoors and the weather gets cold, especially in winter, move the Resurrection plant indoors, put it in a box or paper bag, and place it in a cool, dry spot. You should store it in a spacy place to avoid crushing the plant.
The Resurrection plant will dry out and you will have to wait until spring to revive it again. Please note that, unlike outdoor grown ones, Resurrection plants grown indoors can be easily kept alive throughout winter.
– Humidity Requirements
When grown in a bowl of pebbles and water, humidity is usually always high. However, if you are growing it on potting soil and you notice the foliage getting stressed, you should mist the plant with distilled water regularly.
You can also use this moisture-increasing method to revive your Resurrection plants whenever they start going dormant. Try to maintain humidity above 50 percent to keep your Resurrection plants uncurled because, in dry conditions, they curl up their leaves.
Even though the origin of the Resurrection plant is very hot and dry, adequate moisture should be made available when grown indoors.
In low humidity situations, moving the Resurrection plants into bathrooms or near bathroom sinks where moisture is usually high is helpful. Using a humidifier is also very effective in maintaining and providing extra moisture needed to keep the plant thriving.
– Fertilizing Requirements
Resurrection plants are not heavy feeders and do not require regular fertilizing. You should feed these plants two times only each year using a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer.
Always dilute the fertilizer to one-tenth strength of the recommended houseplant blend to avoid overfeeding it. Ensure that the Resurrection plants are fed once during early spring and once during mid-summer to enhance growth and vibrancy.
Resurrection plants do not develop much in winter therefore, you should not apply any fertilizers to them. Feeding these plants during this period usually burns their foliage because they will not be needing any growing supplements due to dormancy.
Regular pruning is not necessary for Resurrection plant care. However, you should maintain the gorgeousness of this plant by cutting off all dead ends that no longer rehydrate.
We recommend the use of sterilized pruning shears or scissors to curb bacterial transmission to the plant. Remember, the best time to exercise pruning is during spring and the onset of summer when plant development conditions are favorable.
Resurrection plants are propagated through the division method. This is because these plants are sporophytes, meaning they cannot produce flowers or seeds that can be used for propagation. Use a bacteria-free sharp knife to cut off pieces of this plant, for propagation. Resurrection plant propagation is more successful when done in spring or late fall.
Choose a Selaginella lepidophylla plant that is in its dormant state and save the well-developed ones. Cut off some stems from the mother plant and make sure they are around three to four inches long each. Get a pot, fill it with gravel, and place the stems on top. Alternatively, you can also use loose soil although it is not as effective as gravel.
Saturate the cuttings with water and make sure that it completely drains out of the container, especially when using potting soil. New growth will begin to show up in a few days and you can now start providing the same care requirements as those of mature Resurrection plants.
As highlighted earlier on, the Resurrection plant is easy to grow but as with all indoor grown plants, you have to look out for certain problems that affect your plants in different ways.
You should thoroughly inspect your Resurrection plants regularly because some pests are so tiny but, if they go unnoticed, they breed very fast, feed on the plant tissues, and destroy the entire foliage in no time. Additionally, these pests can spread to nearby healthy plants if their population is left to increase so, ensure that early detection and treatment are done.
– Leaves Turning Brown
It is natural for the Resurrection plant to turn brown before curling up when going dormant. This is caused by a lack of moisture supply to the plant.
If the Resurrection plant turns brown, and you do not have the intention to store it, you should add purified water to a bowl with pebbles and place it inside. Another way to avoid brown leaves is by misting them with fresh purified water occasionally.
The beauty of the Resurrection plant is seen when it gets constant water replenishment. If growing it on gravel or regular soil, the plant will appreciate misting as well as once a month watering. However, if the plant begins showing signs of stress before the end of the 30 days, you can water it again.
– Leaves Turning Black
The blackening of the Resurrection plant’s leaves is caused by rotting that results from exposure to too much water. The plant also feels mushy and produces a sour smell.
In the early stages, we advise that you trim away all fronds that are blackened and remove the plant from the bowl so that it dries up. If you do not intend to store it, you should add fresh distilled water to its container, or mist it with purified water to revive it.
To avoid this problem in the future, put enough water that barely covers the pebbles in its bowl. Also, remove the plant from the watering system for one day every week to allow it to use up and lose some moisture before placing it back.
– Mold on Stems
You may notice a white film covering the Resurrection plant’s stems, this is actually the mold. When the environment has too much moisture, this plant becomes vulnerable to mold manifestation. Once your plants are under mold attack, you can spay some fungicides on the affected areas to eliminate them. If you have baking soda in your house, it also does well in mold treatment.
– Resurrection Plant Is Not Turning Green
The Rose of Jericho plants appear dead on purchase and they come in a dried-out moss ball form. Once placed in water, they should turn green and start growing.
In some circumstances, these plants are improperly collected with their roots ripped out leading to their death. It is unfortunate that these plants can be sold together with the good ones and will only be noticed when they fail to turn green.
There is no way that you can identify dead Resurrection plants when purchasing them in stores as they look just the same as the dormant ones.
The dead plants will open up when water is applied to them as their cells are filled with water. However, they remain brown and are prone to rotting in winter. If you come across this scenario, contact the seller and get a replacement.
The Rose of Jericho is mostly affected by whiteflies, spider mites, and mealybugs. Spider mites invade indoor plants through open windows and vents whereas mealybugs and whiteflies usually pre-exist in the soil or potting mixes.
Once you encounter a pest infestation, quickly isolate the plant and try using insecticidal soaps on them. Flying bug populations can be reduced through the use of sticky traps.
Do not let these pests multiply on your plants as large populations are hard to deal with. These pests survive by feeding on the plant’s tissues so, if left untreated for a long time, they cause detrimental damage.
In severe cases, you may be forced to discard the entire plant as no chances of recovery will be left. If you choose to use fungicides and pesticides, we recommend that you read and follow the instructions on the package to avoid misusing them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Several questions are raised by Resurrection plant growers and most of them emanate from problems that they encounter in taking care of the plant. Below are some of the questions and answers that may be useful to you.
– Is the Resurrection Plant Used for Medicinal Uses?
The Resurrection plant benefits humans a lot as it is used by many in treating bacterial infections, inflammation, and even cancer. Oils that are extracted from this plant are used to treat the aforementioned diseases.
Additionally, the Resurrection plant is also used to treat sore throats and colds. Apart from decoration purposes, its healing elements are one of the reasons why this plant is grown commercially.
Also, to some religions, going dry for months and reviving in a few hours gives hope to live when one is in difficult circumstances and, this has been the Resurrection plant spiritual meaning.
– Is the Resurrection Plant Toxic for Cats and Dogs?
The Rose of Jericho is a relative newcomer on the indoor plant scene and its toxicity has not yet been identified.
However, due to its membership in the Resurrection plant kingdom and spikemoss family, you should consider it toxic. It may be toxic to your animal friends that including cats and dogs, so you should be careful when growing this plant within their vicinity.
The Resurrection plant has proved to be very interesting due to its uniqueness.
Let us go through the main points that we have come across in this informative article.
- Indoor-grown Resurrection plants grow well when exposed to bright indirect sunlight. Always avoid direct scorching sunlight exposure.
- Being a light feeder, you should consider using a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer diluted to one-tenth of the normal indoor plant feeds to avoid burning its foliage.
- Pruning is not all that necessary when growing Resurrection plants because their foliage does not grow rapidly. However, you should trim off diseased and stem ends that remain brown even when water is applied.
- Just like any other houseplant, the Resurrection plant is prone to growing problems as well as pests and diseases. Regularly check the plant for any anomalies and fight them in their early stages.
Once you start growing the Resurrection plant in your places, you will easily grow fond of them thereby igniting the need for more of them.
This will be very easy as you no longer need to buy them but rather propagate the parent plant to as many cuttings as possible and enjoy the improved desert vibe!
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