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Belle's Green House

Rainbow Moss, Peacock Fern (Selaginella Uncinata)

Rainbow Moss, Peacock Fern (Selaginella Uncinata)

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Selaginella Uncinata (also known as Peacock Fern or Rainbow Moss) is one of a wonderfully interesting plant family that have a delicate and tropical fern-like appearance, but are actually very tough, easy to grow, moderately cold hardy and not a fern at all. They share many characteristic with ferns beyond their cosmetic appearance.

The growth habit is slow, low growing and spreading, and so, are a good choice for most any shaded spot that needs ground cover. It is also lovely as a potted plant or hanging basket, and is great choice for dish gardens and terrariums, but unlike many ferns, Selaginellas are moderately cold tolerant, and can be successfully grown outdoors in Zones 6 to 10A.

The common name, Peacock Fern or Rainbow Moss, comes from the varying, shimmery, iridescent, blue green and bronze red coloring of the lacy, fern-like foliage, which will vary based on season, light levels, and nutritional levels.
Selaginellas go fully dormant in the winter in all climates.

Light: Selaginella uncinata is a true low-light plant, and its brilliant blue hue stays vibrant under minimal light conditions.It is definitely one to keep out of direct sunlight though, as its delicate foliage will quickly scorch.If you’re in the Northern hemisphere, a North-facing windowsill is the best bet; it will only ever receive indirect light there. If you live in the Southern hemisphere then a South-facing window sill is perfect.

But remember, low light doesn’t mean no light, and if you can’t get it enough natural sunlight then you’ll need to supplement. It’s a fantastic candidate for some badass terrarium lighting.Its unique frilled texture looks wonderful when highlighted with artificial lighting. And, the good thing is, you can’t over-do it, so expect lots of growth.

Watering: When kept as a houseplant, S. uncinata likes to be thoroughly soaked.Like ferns, this plant needs watering more frequently than most of my tropical houseplants, so just make sure you test the soil with your finger every couple of days to see if it needs a drink.It really will do best with consistent, regular watering.Despite being a thirsty plant, in a terrarium it’s still better to be overly cautious. Remember it’s much easier to add water than remove it.

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