There are only a very few species of selaginella that are cultivated as an indoor houseplant, one of which is the Selaginella Kraussiana.
This plant is best used as a dense ground cover for terrariums and the like, which would ensure that it has higher levels of humidity. What else should you know about this plant?
Read on for the care tips and guide on growing the selaginella plant!
What is a Selaginella Kraussiana?
The Selaginella Kraussiana comes from the Selaginellaceae family and Selaginella genus. Its plant range is from South America. This is the only plant that is regularly cultivated as an indoor and outdoor plant, with the species suitable for cultivation in moist and wet areas that are deeply shaded.
This plant goes by different names, such as the:
- Krauss’ Spikemoss
- Mat Spike Moss
- Spreading Clubmoss
- Trailing Spike Moss
- African Clubmoss
It is a vigorous and mat-forming perennial that has rooting stems that can grow up to 5 to 10 cm tall and bear small, scale-like leaves, giving it a fern-like look. While it does not grow tall, it spreads a lot. They grow well in USDA zones 6 to 10.
This plant has a mounding habit made of creeping stems that would spread quickly across the soil, so it forms the dense mat of foliage it’s known for. It gives a unique texture to plant groupings with its unusual and branching foliage.
You can find various Selaginella Kraussiana variegatus available, with one popular variety and cultivar being the Selaginella Kraussiana aurea, which is golden-green. There is also the variegate known for its creamy white tips, which is why it is also named the Frosty Selaginella Fern.
It is NOT a moss or fern. In fact, the entire Selaginella family that has about 700 species, has no ferns or mosses. They only look like so.
As mentioned, this plant makes for an attractive ground cover to use as a terrarium plant. You may also use it in hanging baskets for decoration. In terms of toxicity, this plant is NOT toxic to cats or dogs.
Selaginella Kraussiana Care
Caring for the Selaginella Kraussiana houseplant isn’t a huge challenge, though they have specific requirements to meet.
Here are the things you should take note of when caring for this plant:
– Light Requirements
This plant likes sitting under the full shade. While it will do well in low light, the plant can tolerate brighter lights, as long as it is semi-shaded. Take note that the more light this plant receives, the brighter and greener the leaves’ colors will be.
Keep it in deep shade for less than 2 hours without any direct sunlight, then have it exposed to partial shade for 2-6 hours, provided that you maintain its temperature levels.
With that said, keep your plant away from direct light or sunlight, as this hurts the plant and scorches its leaves. While it can tolerate high light intensities and full sunlight exposure, the soils should be wet.
– Water Requirements
You need to maintain high moisture levels on your plant’s compost, but NEVER soggy. Furthermore, the soil should not dry up entirely. It’s best to use pots that have drainage holes to keep them from experiencing root rot.
Besides this, don’t use cold water or hard water when watering your plant. Cold water will shock your plant. Instead, opt for soft and lukewarm water, such as distilled water or rainwater. Also, opt for lime-free water as much as possible.
– Soil Requirements
Selaginella Kraussiana best thrives in well-draining soil. In terms of soil pH levels, choose acidic or neutral soil, which is around a pH level of 6. Humus-rich soil that has a clay texture and organic matter is great for the plant because it can support its weak and shallow root systems.
– Temperature and Humidity Requirements
Selaginella Kraussiana requires average room temperature, which ranges from 18-24 degrees C. It does NOT like droughts nor any fluctuations with temperatures. Furthermore, the plant can tolerate colder temperatures, though it’s best to avoid cultivating them in zones that are prone to frost.
As for its humidity requirements, it needs very high humidity levels to thrive. If you can’t provide enough humidity to the plant, don’t expect it to grow to its fullest. Also, it won’t be able to last longer than 1-2 weeks if it is in an area with low humidity levels.
The plant also doesn’t like winds and dry air, so keep it away from radiators, air conditioners, doorways, and the likes. It can only tolerate slightly dry conditions for very short periods.
If you aren’t cultivating your plant in a terrarium, it’s best to place it in an area that has the highest humidity levels, which is usually your bathroom. However, placing it in the bathroom alone isn’t enough for your plant to thrive.
You can increase the humidity in its environment, using any of the following methods:
- Place your plant on a humidity tray, which is usually a tray of pebbles with water.
- Group your Selaginella Kraussiana plant with other plants to maintain higher levels of humidity.
- Invest in a humidifier to set the humidity levels just the way your plant needs it.
- Regularly mist your plant, though its impact won’t be as significant compared to the other methods mentioned above.
50% humidity and higher is best. Control the humidity and monitor it daily, especially during the winter months when it can be very dry. Use a humidity monitor instead of guessing the current levels so you know if any changes need to be made.
– Fertilizing Requirements
When fertilizing this plant, the Selaginella Kraussiana should be fed once a month from spring to fall seasons. Use balanced liquid fertilizers, which should be diluted to half of their recommended strength.
Also, remember that when you fertilize houseplants, less is more. Underfeeding won’t be as problematic as feeding it too much fertilizer. Overfertilizing can end up killing your plant!
– Potting Requirements
It’s better to keep the Selaginella Kraussiana in a terrarium over a pot for constant humidity. If that isn’t possible, you can keep it in a bottled garden, as this also provides good humidity levels. Bottled gardens mean that you will be cultivating your plant in a glass container or plastic bottle.
Since it has shallow roots, you can place it in a shallow pot with drainage holes to avoid soggy soil, as this would result in root rot. If you want decorative pots, opt to use cachepots.
– Pruning Requirements
It’s best to prune your plant in spring to control the plant from spreading too much. Prune up to half of your plant if you want, as this is a fast grower that would fill out again. Do not throw the stem cuttings, as they would root easily and can be propagated to breed more of them. We’ll get into the propagation process in the next section.
Selaginella Kraussiana Propagation
1. Plant Division
Here are the steps to follow when using this method:
- Pull the entire plant from its planter carefully.
- Depending on the plant’s size, you should divide it into two sections (sometimes more).
- Plant each section to new pots using new potting soil, which should be humus-rich and well-draining.
2. Stem Cuttings
When propagating the plant using stem cuttings, here are the steps to follow:
- Look for a healthy and mature stem on the plant.
- Using sharp and sterile scissors, carefully make a clean cut.
- Prepare a new pot with fresh potting mix, planting the stem cutting directly in its pot.
3. Through Other Means
Some gardeners wonder if it is possible to propagate the plant using seeds. Unfortunately, this isn’t possible, as this is a spore plant that won’t produce seeds at all. Furthermore, it will not flower.
Is it possible to propagate it using spores? Spore propagation is the method the plant uses to multiply itself. But this form of propagation is a slow process, so it isn’t a feasible option for gardeners. If you want quick results (within a few weeks), it’s best to propagate this plant with stem cuttings or plant division.
Selaginella Kraussiana Problems
This plant may also experience a few problems, though it is easily preventable and can be treated, depending on the severity of the problem.
Here are what you should watch out for:
Generally, this plant is pest and disease-free. However, you do need to watch out for crown rot, which is a fungal disease that would attack grassy weeds. This would cause deterioration and rot of tissue from the crown of your plant, which makes leaves turn yellow and collapse, eventually dying. Sometimes, the foliage would yellow, sometimes turning red or purple.
You may be able to save your plant by cutting the affected bark and removing soil from the plant’s base down to its main roots, allowing its crown to dry. You may also try using a fungicide to prevent the disease.
If the fungus has taken hold of your plant completely, the solutions are usually ineffective, and disposal is recommended.
2. Browned Leaves
When you see brown leaves on your plant, it is usually a sign that humidity levels are too low for their liking. Water your plant if the soil is dry and set the humidity to a higher level as needed.
3. Scorched Leaves
If you see scorched leaves, it means that you placed your plant under direct sunlight, and it receives too much of it. Prune your plant and remove all scorched leaves, placing them in an area that gives your Selaginella Kraussiana indirect light.
4. Crispy Leaves
For those who notice that their plant’s leaves are crispy, this is usually a sign that it doesn’t receive enough water. Water your plants regularly and more thoroughly.
Wrapping It Up
While caring for the Selaginella Kraussiana isn’t extremely challenging, it requires specific care.
Here are some key points to remember:
- The Selaginella Kraussiana requires very high humidity levels.
- If you don’t live in tropical regions, control its humidity by having a humidifier and setting it at 70%.
- This plant is better off cultivated in a terrarium or it can be kept in a bottle garden.
- They are not ferns or mosses, despite their name. They are spore plants.
- Being a spore plant, they do NOT flower.
- Propagation can be done through plant division or the use of stem cuttings.
- While they may come across a few issues, proper care will ensure that it will grow for years to come, without any trouble.
Hopefully, you learned a lot about the Selaginella Kraussiana so you can care for it excellently. If you want to own one, follow the information mentioned above for more chances of success in growing it. Happy planting!
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