Selaginella Martensii Care Infographic

Selaginella martensii is an attractive yet challenging plant to grow. Also called the spike moss, the plant is delightful and can charm you with its small bright green leaves and overlapping trailing stems.

In this detailed guide our expert shares some lesser-known secrets on plant care, growing tips and propagation techniques.

Read on to learn it all and also know how to tackle the most common problems of the plant.

What Is Selaginella Martensii?

Selaginella martensiiI is a multi-branched moss plant with small green leaves. This plant is compact and can grow to a height of seven inches and a width of nine inches. the Spike moss plant has small yet glossy leaves that have a very rich green foliage.

Selaginella Martensii Care

This plant, also called Selaginella martensii frosty, can be quite a challenge to grow as it requires specific environmental conditions, closest to its native. Under constant temperature, humidity and adequate warmth and light, this plant can produce dark green and beautiful foliage that can charm you around.

In this section below, we touch upon each of the care aspects so that you can grow a thriving and healthy plant. So read on and wait no longer to know all about the best care tips for the plant.

– Water Requirements

The selaginella houseplant is a heavy water feeder and requires consistently moist soil, this is a feature one must keep in mind. It consumes a lot of water almost daily, especially if you are living in a hot and sultry zone. It is advisable to use soft water, rain or distilled water instead of hard water.

Remember that the plant will not tolerate dehydrated soil thus always make sure that there is adequate moisture in the soil, otherwise the foliage would look limp and weak. It has a high transpiration rate thus the green leaves need ample moisture, make sure that you always keep the top two inches of the soil moist.

– Light Requirements

This selaginella plant needs moderate levels of light for about four hours every day. It should be bright yet indirect away from the harsh rays of the sun as this can scorch the leaves. Selaginella can to some extent tolerate low light conditions however they will seldom withstand heavy sunlight and under the stress condition, the leaves can turn yellow.

If you are growing it indoors you may use an artificial grow light or place it behind sheer curtains to provide it with some diffuse light. If outdoors, however, you could place it under larger plants so that there is a natural canopy created over it. Alternatively, you could also create a greenhouse effect by placing a garden sheet over it. The plant survives best in a semi-shaded spot.

– Soil Requirements

This plant likes good quality well-draining potting soil which is slightly acidic between a pH value of 5 to 6. Keep the soil humid at all times, but make sure that it is not soggy. At the same time do not allow it to go bone-dry as this will also lead to a stress condition leading to damage to the green foliage.

You could include perlite and peat along with mulch to ensure the plant has good drainage as well as can retain some amount of moisture in it. Peat and moss can also boost aeration and keep the soil loose. This will give the roots the ability to spread out in the soil and absorb more nutrients and better oxygen.

Selaginella Martensii branched stems

– Temperature Requirements

The plant thrives in moderate to high temperatures to sustain its green foliage. The ideal temperature range needs to be between 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a tropical plant and consistent warmth is the best for the health of the plant. Avoid fluctuations or sudden exposure to changes in climate.

Move the plant indoors if temperatures are very low or with chilly winds and cold drafts. At the same time do not overexpose it to heat as this can scorch the leaves. Remember that you cal also place it in a shade or a semi-closed space such as patios or balconies.

– Humidity Requirements

The plant requires high levels of humidity which would be between 60 percent to 80 percent.  You could use a humidifier around the plant if you’re growing it indoors to keep it healthy and thriving; in addition, you could once a while mist the plant’s air or surrounding once a while. 

The plant does well in warm corners in bathrooms as well. Ensure it is placed in a well-ventilated place to prevent the risk of too much humidity which can result in fungal diseases.

On the contrary, when it is left in dry environmental conditions, it will be under stress and thus will result in brittle stems and limp leaves. which means that if you are in a low humidity zone, mist the plant often. Alternatively, you could also place a pebble tray below the pot or container so that there is some moisture kicked in around when the water in the tray evaporates.

– Fertilizing Requirements

The plant does not require much fertilizer to be used, which is why you can abstain if you already find the foliage in a healthy state. However, if required you can use a diluted liquid formula during the active phase once every four weeks to boost the lush green foliage growth.

Do not over-fertilize as this is disastrous to the plant and can result in an excess salt build-up at the roots leading to browning of the leaves. You could water the plants just before adding the fertilizer so that you can reduce the chances of a root burn.

– Pruning

Similar to other variants such as Selaginella kraussiana, Selaginella jori or Selaginella apoda, this plant too does not require much pruning as it does not grow very tall or wide and will never look unruly. The only reason why you need to prune it is to boost foliage growth as well as to remove dead and decayed stems.

Always remember that you need to sterilize your garden tools before you indulge in pruning with a diluted solution of isopropyl alcohol. This should reduce the risk of pathogen growth or the spread of fungal diseases.


Selaginella propagation can be undertaken using plant cuttings or through divisions. Both the processes are very simple and hassle-free and with just a few basic tools you can develop your offsets of the plant. Read the below section where we discuss in detail the step-by-step procedure of how you can go about the process.

– Propagation Method Through Plant Division

A way that you can propagate this plant is through plant division. You must first begin by picking up a healthy mother plant and separate an entire section right from the roots up to the stem.

Plant this separately in well-draining potting soil and care for it meaning, remember to water it, don’t place any heavy fertilizers, because the plant wouldn’t find it necessary, and make sure it receives proper humidity because it requires high amounts.

After a few weeks, this new section will begin to grow independently sprouting fresh shoots. You have now propagated the plant successfully on your own. 

The right season to propagate this plant is during the warm months of spring and summer. These are the active growing months of the plant when the roots will be able to establish themselves well in the warmth of the day. 

You will be able to propagate and grow a healthy offset of the plant in a hassle-free manner. Avoid winter months when the weather is chilly with winds and cold drafts when the plant conserves its energy and will thus not be able to give rise to a healthy root system.

– Propagation Through Stem Cuttings

You could also snip a stem section and pot it directly in potting soil and care for it with adequate warmth and humidity. To begin your process of propagation keep the following tools handy: Sterile garden pruners and knives, potting soil that is well draining, and a pot or container with proper drainage holes.

In a few weeks, the stem section will develop its roots and establish itself. Wait for a couple of weeks until this section will develop its nascent roots and stems too.

Reproduction of Selaginella Martensii


This plant can be quite a challenge and comes with its own set of problems. However, they are easy to tackle and in this section, we are going to address these very same ones. Read on to find quick-fix solutions for each of the problems you may face while growing the plant.

– Droopy Leaves

Leaves of your Selaginella may be drooping if you have possibly underwatered it or if you have overwatered it. The plant may be hardy but it just requires the right amount of water to sustain and thrive in its foliage.

Where under watering can make the soil go dehydrated and prevent the roots from taking in oxygen adequately for the rest of the plant, overwatering can lead to potential damage through root rot or other fungal diseases.

Monitor the plant’s watering schedule to keep the soil just slightly moist. If you suspect root rot gently remove the plant from the soil and let them dry out before repotting them into fresh well-draining soil.

– Pest Infestations

The plant is robust and you would not notice many pests and insects in the foliage however occasionally damage can be caused by slugs. Use a soapy mix in order to get rid of these insects or you could alternatively, blast water on the affected area to make them fall off.

– Leaf Spots

Leaf spots are caused by fungal diseases and can infect and spread throughout the foliage. The most common symptoms are white spots on the green leaves and over time it can also make the leaf and stems wilt. It is typically caused due to over watering or irrigation of the plant.

To treat it, scale back on the watering immediately until the soil dries out. Monitor the watering schedule and prevent the roots from sitting in water for a long time.

– Wilting Foliage

Find your foliage dying? It could be because of improper maintenance of humidity and moisture around the plant. The foliage has essentially small leaves and thus too much moisture and humidity can just make them stressed out.

Try growing them in a terrarium and monitor the moisture level as per the zone you are growing it in. Dry zones may require regular misting or a pebble tray below the pot or container. In a humid zone, scale back on the watering and avoid misting the plant.

– Yellowing Leaves

If you notice your spikemoss turning yellow check if the soil is undersaturated or bone dry. You may also have added way too much fertilizer which could have caused root burn. Monitor the watering schedule and apply a mild and diluted formula only in the active growing months such as spring or summer.

Yellowing Leaves of Selaginella Martensii


What Is Selaginella Martensii Used For?

Selaginella Martensii is used for its medicinal properties, particularly in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is believed to have anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects.

Is Selaginella Martensii a good beginner plant?

Selaginella Martensii can be a good beginner plant due to its low maintenance requirements and resilience. It thrives in moderate light and humidity conditions.

Does Selaginella Martensii require growing support?

Selaginella Martensii does not require growing support as it is a creeping plant that spreads along the ground or over rocks, making it suitable for terrariums or as a ground cover.


You have now read how easy it is to grow this challenging yet attractive and vibrant plant.

Let us summarize all that we have learned in this detailed one-stop guide, in the section below.

  • This plant is challenging to grow as it requires environmental conditions specific and native. It is a favorite among gardeners though, due to its small compact size.
  • It thrives in a warm environment with well-draining soil and also with high humidity. 
  • The plant requires consistently moist soil and does not require frequent fertilization. However, you could add a balanced formula during the growth phase to sustain green foliage. Prune regularly to remove dead and decade sections of the plant.
  • Successfully propagate the plant using plant division or cut sections. It is easy and with just a few basic gardening skills you can achieve success.
  • You can correct most of the problems of the plant by placing it in the right environment, providing adequate light warmth, and humidity, and keeping pests and bacteria away. This should give you a healthy and thriving plant.

You now know how to grow this plant easily without any hassles. So what are you waiting for, bring them into your space and let them charm you all the way through?

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