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African Clubmoss Selaginella kraussiana

Previously known as:

  • Selaginella azorica
  • Selaginella canescens
Phonetic Spelling
sell-lah-gi-NEL-uh krau-see-AY-nuh
Description

Native to Africa, spikemoss is a cousin to the true ferns, a low growing, mat-forming vascular plant. Unlike other moss, it has a more traditional root structure.  It can sprout roots from its stems.

In the tropics, it is planted it in the shade in rich, moist to wet soils.  The dense mat it forms makes it an option as a lawn alternative or use it in a rock or woodland garden that gets shade.  It tolerates light foot traffic and is resistant to rabbit browsing.  Propagate it by division or rooting stem cuttings in damp soil.

It makes a great houseplant, container plant, dish gardens or used in terrariums.  High humidity and indirect lighting are a must in order for your plant to flourish, with tropical conditions being ideal.  Humidity can be raised by placing between other plants, misting, or in the case of indoor, container use, place in your bathroom.  

Trimming back will control the rapid spread of this plant.  Retain the cuttings, as they will root easily.  

Its roots are shallow, so it can be planted in shallow pots.  

Watering should be done with room temperature water as cold water can shock the plant.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Direct sunlight will scorch the foliage.  Dry air will lead to brown or shriveled foliage.  

Allowing the plant to remain wet can lead to root rot.  Provide good drainage.  

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Aurea'
    Chartreuse with golden leaf tips
  • 'Brownii'
    Lime green foliage
  • 'Variegata'
    White tips, popular Christmas plant
'Aurea', 'Brownii', 'Variegata'
Tags:
#evergreen#houseplant#frost tender#shade garden#lawn alternative#chartreuse#rabbit resistant#fast growing#tropical perennials#groundcover#humidity tolerant#foot traffic tolerant#Christmas decorations#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#tropical#dry soils intolerant#container plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Aurea'
    Chartreuse with golden leaf tips
  • 'Brownii'
    Lime green foliage
  • 'Variegata'
    White tips, popular Christmas plant
'Aurea', 'Brownii', 'Variegata'
Tags:
#evergreen#houseplant#frost tender#shade garden#lawn alternative#chartreuse#rabbit resistant#fast growing#tropical perennials#groundcover#humidity tolerant#foot traffic tolerant#Christmas decorations#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#tropical#dry soils intolerant#container plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Selaginella
    Species:
    kraussiana
    Family:
    Selaginellaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Macronesia, Africa
    Play Value:
    Textural
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 2 in. - 0 ft. 4 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Houseplant
    Habit/Form:
    Creeping
    Dense
    Horizontal
    Mounding
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    11b, 11a, 12a, 12b
  • Flowers:
    Flower Description:
    No flowers
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Soft
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Fronds
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    The lacy foliage has an oval, prehistoric, fern-like appearance.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Lawn
    Pool/Hardscape
    Rock Wall
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Rock Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Mass Planting
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Foot Traffic
    Heavy Shade
    Humidity
    Rabbits