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Gardening

Selaginellas

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MANILA, Philippines - Selaginellas are commonly referred to as Spike Mosses while some species of the genus are called Peacock Ferns. They are usually small plants with primitive characteristics that are fern-like, moss-like and clubmoss-like. 

Selaginellas are popular among gardeners and are propagated for sale by nurseries all-over the world. Different varieties of young Selaginella plants in small pots are usually sold through the Florists trade because of their high impulse sale. Landscape suppliers produce mainly hardy ones for indoorscaping and atrium planting.

Habitat

Selaginellas grow in a wide variety of soil types and climates. The plant is generally found in high humidity areas away from strong sunlight. Some species die out every year but return in big numbers in the first two months of rainy season. 

Selaginella tamarascina will curl inwards into a ball during dry spell and resurrects (thus called: Resurrection Fern) and unfurls with the coming of the rains. 

Selaginellas are generally terrestrial but may grow in bog conditions. Some species grow on rocks and in composts between rocks, while tall trailing species may start off from soil level and climb up to 2 to 3 meters or more if the humidity is high.

Cultivation and Uses

Selaginella spores may grow on any wet surface. During rainy season, they tend to spontaneously crop up and colonize orchids and bromeliad pots with cocohusks as medium. Selaginellas are generally easy to grow. Provided a shaded area and lots of moisture in the root-zone plus high humidity, they will grow like weeds.

Selaginellas are the ultimate terrarium plants. Media commonly employed in Selaginella Production are: clay, cocopeat, soil mixes, rock wool, New Zealand Sphagmum Moss, composts or practically any medium that retains water.

Selaginellas are Landscapers’ favorite plants for soggy, water logged areas and clay (adobe) based areas. Its simple roots adapt beautifully in the wettest zones (usually the lower areas) of vertical gardens. 

Selaginella is a perfect plant for fully enclosed atriums, wet indoorscapes and low light areas.

Selaginellas respond favorably to regular fertilizer drench or spray. If excess fertilizers burn the leaftips, just drench with water to leach out the offending fertilizers and the plant will be good as new in 3 weeks time. Selaginellas grow fast and can repair itself in few weeks time.

Snails and slugs may sometimes make a snack out of the Selaginella if they have nothing better to eat but the plant is generally pest-free. 

Propagation

Selaginellas are very easy to propagate by division of clumps. Commercially, it is propagated through one half inch cuttings placed on moist media in high humidity conditions.

It is so easy to propagate Selaginellas that grade school students at OB Montessori do the propagation as exercise to demonstrate micropropagation techniques. Tips of Selaginellas are cut half inch long. These small pieces of tissues are planted in moist sterilized fern roots, moss, or pasteurized compost. First signs of roots may be seen in 3 weeks time. Young plants may be potted in small pots in 3 months time.

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CULTIVATION AND USES

GROW

NEW ZEALAND SPHAGMUM MOSS

PEACOCK FERNS

RESURRECTION FERN

SELAGINELLA PRODUCTION

SELAGINELLAS

SPIKE MOSSES

TIPS OF SELAGINELLAS

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March 3, 2012 - 12:00am
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