Selaginella kraussiana is a vigorous mat-forming perennial plant from the Selaginellaceae family and it belongs to a very ancient lineage of low evergreen herbs with needlelike or scalelike foliage known as the club mosses or ground pines. Selaginella kraussiana is commonly referred to as spikemoss, Krauss’ spikemoss, Krauss’s clubmoss, or African clubmoss and it is native to Sub-Saharan Africa and Macaronesia.
Spikemoss is grown for its ornamental characteristics; being frequently described as having scale-like leaves which gives the plant a fern-like appearance. As it enjoys high levels of humidity, Selaginella kraussiana can be grown in a terrarium. Another important thing you need to know before buying this plant is that Selaginella loves deeply shaded spots.
One good thing about this amazing plant is that it is not toxic to pets, which means that you can grow it as a house plant without worrying about your pets’ health. If you decide to grow your own Selaginella kraussiana you will see that its care is not a difficult process, but the plant has some specific requirements related to light, soil temperature and humidity. If you want to find out more about this plant and its requirements keep reading our article.
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|Botanical Name||Selaginella kraussiana|
|Common Name||Krauss’ Spikemoss, Cushion Moss, Clubmoss, Mat Spike Moss, Trailing Spikemoss|
|Plant Type||Mat-forming evergreen perennial|
|Mature Size||up to 15 cm tall and 50 cm wide (6 inches tall and 18 inches wide)|
|Sun Exposure||Partial shade, full shade|
|Soil Type||rich, well-drained soil|
|Soil pH||Neutral or acidic|
|Bloom Time||Does not bloom|
|Hardiness Zones||6-10 (USDA)|
|Native Area||Sub-Saharan Africa|
- Selaginella kraussiana goes by several common names including Krauss’ Spikemoss, Cushion Moss, Clubmoss, Mat Spike Moss, Spreading Clubmoss, Trailing Spike Moss or African Clubmoss.
- An interesting fact about Selaginella kraussiana is that is not moss or a fern. Its entire family, Selaginella comprises about 700 species of plants and none of them are actually ferns or mosses, they only resemble these plants very well.
- Although there are so many species in the Selaginella family, only a few of them are cultivated as indoor houseplants, and Selaginella kraussiana is one of them.
- Spikemoss is a perfect plant if you want to use it as ground cover in a terrarium plant. You can also use it in hanging baskets as an ornamental plant. The plant can thrive in containers, but it is important to note that it might require more attention from you and there is a high risk of it not surviving in a normal room environment.
- Apart from being used as a horticultural subject, either for outdoor or indoor cultivation, Selaginella kraussiana has no known cultural uses. When grown for covering ground it tolerates light foot traffic and is resistant to rabbit browsing.
Spikemoss Features: An Overview
- Selaginella kraussiana resembles many native mosses and leafy liverworts, but in fact, it is a fern ally that bears small cones underneath the leaves.
- Spikemoss is a small, carpet-forming ground cover. The plant has an eternal life span if you manage to keep it alive, as it is a continuous grower. The roots are long and fine. Selaginella kraussiana has no flowers as it does not bloom.
- Leaves grow in rows of 2 to 4mm (5/64- 5/32in). The cones under the leaves are rounded and grow 10mm (3/8in) in length. The leaves are green and the intensity of the colour is proportional to the amount of light the plant gets.
- Selaginella kraussiana is a vibrant green plant, but there also exists another golden-green variety called Selaginella kraussiana aurea or Golden Spikemoss and one variety with foliage that has white tips and that is you will find in nurseries labelled as Frosty Selaginella Fern or Selaginella ‘Frosty’.
- According to the ASPCA, Selaginella kraussiana is not toxic to dogs, cats, or horses.
Selaginella Kraussiana enjoys shady corners, so, you need to place it somewhere in full shade. Though the plant will develop well in low light, it can bear brighter areas if are semi-shaded. The colour of Selaginella Kraussiana is directly impacted by the amount of light it receives. If the plant receives more light, the brighter its colour will be. You can keep your plant in deep shade for less than 2 hours, preventing it from any direct sunlight, then expose it to partial shade between 2 and 6 hours.
Remember, when it comes to sunlight, keep your Selaginella kraussiana away from direct light and sunlight because this damages your plant and in particular affects its leaves. To help it bear the high light intensities or full sunlight exposure, provide the plant with more water.
Regarding the soil requirements, Selaginella kraussiana grows healthy in well-draining soil. The soil pH level can range from acidic to neutral. The soil also needs to be humus-rich and have a clay texture of organic matter. This will support the shallow root system of the plant.
When growing Spikemoss, it is important to also maintain constant temperature levels. The perfect temperature for Selaginella kraussiana is room temperature, around 18 to 24ºC (64º- 75ºF). You need to ensure a constant temperature for your plant as it does not like droughts or any temperature fluctuations. Moreover, although the plant can grow in colder temperatures, is best to avoid cultivating them in zones exposed to frost.
- Economical Starter Size Plant growing in a 4 inch diameter pot. Plant will average a 6 to 10 inches tall. No bloom or bud on arrival.
- Lacy fern-like foliage with a bright ruby red underside.
- Low, spreading growth habit. Will grow in moderate shade or as a houseplant.
- Interesting and unusual texture and color.
- Temperate Plant. Recommended for USDA Zones 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Evergreen in mild climates, goes fully dormant and resprouts in the Spring in colder areas.
- Live Arrival Guarantee (when temps are above 32°F and below 85°F)
- Tiny Leaves!
- Low growing ground cover for Terrariums and animal Vivariums
- Thrives in humid environments
Last update on 2023-02-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Humidity is another important factor that you need to take care of. Selaginella kraussiana needs very high humidity levels to develop well. If the plant does not have enough humidity in the environment where it grows, it will not grow to its fullest. The mat spike moss may not even make it longer than 1 or 2 weeks if the humidity level is very low. In addition, take care of your plant by preventing it from wind or dry air as it can bear slightly draught conditions only for short periods of time.
If you grow your Selaginella kraussiana as a house plant, but not in a terrarium, it’s best to find a spot where it has the highest humidity level. It might be helpful to learn that some gardeners choose to grow this plant in their bathrooms. Anyhow, you will have to make a few more steps to ensure the right humidity level, as placing the plant in the bathroom is not enough for it to survive. You will have to put your spike moss pot on a humidity tray, which is usually a tray of pebbles with water.
You can also mix it with other plants in order to maintain the level of humidity raised. Selaginella kraussiana is a good companion plant for orchids, rabbit’s-foot ferns or rex begonias. Another trick is to maybe invest in a humidifier which will let you ensure just the right level of humidity your plant needs. Don’t forget to mist your plant regularly, this will also help with controlling the humidity level, even though to a lower extent than the other methods mentioned earlier.
The most common disease encountered in the caring process of Selaginella is crown rot, which is a fungal disease that tends to attack grassy weeds. This type of disease causes deterioration and rot of tissue from the crown of the plant, making leaves turn yellow and collapse.
When planting Selaginella kraussiana, it is best not to keep it in a pot, but rather grow it outside or in a terrarium. Another option is a bottled garden which will ensure a high level of humidity. If grown as an outdoor plant or ground cover, it will not need any repotting. When grown in a container, this plant might not last long enough for repotting. By ensuring the right conditions, the Selaginella kraussiana will rapidly spread as a thick carpet. If you need to repot your plant then this procedure is done in spring or late summer once every 2 years or annually if the roots of the plant are widely spread in the pot.
In case you are searching for guidelines for a terrarium set-up, here are some tips. As mentioned above the ideal way to grow your Selaginella Kraussianaindoors is in a terrarium as it will keep your spike moss in a layer of protective mist, regulating temperature, humidity and exposure to draughts. The terrarium needs to be transparent to let the light come through, ideally should be made out of glass. Also, there can be only one small opening to ensure airflow.
You can mix your Selaginella with other plants that love shade and moisture. Use a good quality potting mix as it needs to contain peat and pelite and no moisture-retaining agents or fertilizer supplements. You can keep your spike moss in its pot or plant it directly in the terrarium’s soil.
Before planting the spikemoss sure to clean the terrarium well and disinfect it. After this step, let the terrarium air out so that all the chemical products are gone and do not affect your plants. Now you can add a layer of stones at the bottom of the soil mix. This practice is a common one in a terrarium, as it helps control fungi in a closed environment. The amount of soil is determined by the plant’s root ball size you want to plant. You will have to carefully rinse the accumulated fertilizer salts from your plant’s pot every year or two. Another way to do this is to replace the soil in the terrarium with a new mixture.
In terms of watering, Selaginella kraussiana needs moist but well-drained soil. If you are not sure whether to water your plant or not, you can check the soil moisture with your finger. If the top 5-10 cm (2-4 in) of soil is dry or if the plants are wilted, it is time to water. At the same time be sure not to let the soil dry up entirely between waterings.
The water used should be at room temperature, it is not recommended to use cold or hard water when watering your plant. Cold water will shock the plant, so be sure to use soft and lukewarm water such as distilled water or rainwater. Another important aspect regarding Selaginella Kraussiana watering is that it does not like lime, so try to keep the water lime-free as much as possible.
Try to apply water at the soil level, this way you avoid wetting the foliage. You need to water the whole area until water runs out of the base of the pot. This way you can be sure that the soil is thoroughly wet. Also, when you use pots with drainage holes you help prevent the plant from root rot.
Selaginella kraussiana can be propagated through different methods including plant division, stem cuttings and spore propagation.
The plant division method is frequently used by gardeners as it is one of the quickest. The steps to be followed are pretty simple: first, you have to pull the plant from its planter very carefully. Depending on how big the plant is, you should separate it into two sections. If the size of the plant is bigger you can divide it into more sections. For the next step, you have to prepare new pots with potting soil humus-rich for your new plants.
The propagation through the stem cuttings method is as efficient and fast as the plant division method. Start with looking after a healthy and mature stem on the plant. With the help of sharp and sterile scissors or a knife, carefully make a clean cut. For the last step, prepare a new pot with fresh potting mix and plant the stem cutting directly in the new pot.
The propagation through spores is not as fast as the other ones presented above and is not really something that you can do at home. Spore propagation is the method the plant uses to multiply itself, but this form of multiplication is a slow process, so is not one of the options used by gardeners. Also, propagation through seeds is not possible as Selaginella kraussiana is a spore plant that does not produce seeds at all. That is the reason why it will not flower either.
Selaginella kraussiana is definitely an interesting plant. It makes a great addition to a terrarium as it does best in environments that have high levels of humidity. Even if it has these specific requirements, you can still grow it as a house plant, especially if you have a spacious bathroom. You only have to make sure to provide the environment with enough humidity and maybe mist it constantly.
This plant is only grown for its ornamental characteristics and is usually grown as cover moss. The caring routine for Selaginella kraussiana is not a complex one, but you have to take care to ensure some necessities for the plant like light, soil quality, humidity and watering. Sellaginella krausiana is a great houseplant if you have curious pets as it is non-toxic.
Are you growing Selaginella kraussiana a.k.a Spikemoss in your home or garden? Share your experience in the comments!