How to grow and care for Creeping Moss

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Houseplant, Creeping Moss, Selaginella pumila

Botanical name: Selaginella spp
Family: Selaginellaceae

Selaginella plants are an excellent choice for the terrarium or bottle garden. The tiny leaves will shrivel in ordinary room conditions. However to increase your chance of success, grow the plant in a shallow, well drained pot in semi-shade away from the window. Surround the pot with damp moss or set on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity. Use soft water for watering and misting. Selaginella occur mostly in the tropical regions of the world, with a handful of species to be found in the arctic-alpine zones of both hemispheres. A few species are desert plants known as "resurrection plants"; they curl up in a tight, brown or reddish ball during dry times and uncurl and turn green in the presence of moisture. The tropical plants appear like ferns. There are over 750 species of Selaginella. They have scale-leaves and spores of two types; a microspore male which is smaller and a megaspore female which is larger.

Some of the common species of Selaginella are the trailing types like Selaginella uncinata (Blue-green Peacock Fern). Selaginella apoda (pale green and moss-like). Selaginella kraussiana aurea (the yellow-green Spreading Clubmoss). Some have upright stems like Selaginella martensii (Spike Moss) which has 1 ft upright stems and aerial roots which grow down from the stems into the soil. Selaginella emmeliana has 6 in. erect stems and lacy leaves. Another common species is the resurrection-plant Selaginella lepidophylla which is bought as a dried-up ball and is restored to life by soaking in water.

How to Grow Creeping Moss (Selaginella spp)


Creeping Moss prefer partial shade. Keep them away from direct sunlight. Learn more on how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.


Keep soil moist at all times for Creeping Moss during the growing season but reduce watering in the cold season. Water with tepid, chlorine-free water. Learn more on how to water houseplants.


Average warmth with a minimum of 180C is ideal for Creeping Moss. Protect it from draughts. Find out more on temperature for houseplants.


Creeping Moss requires high humidity. Mist the leaves daily and clean them by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust. To raise humidity by more frequent misting or set the pot on a wet pebble tray. Creeping Moss can also be grown in a terrarium as a high humidity can be maintained in a terrarium.


Feed Creeping Moss monthly during the growing period with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer. Withhold feeding in the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn. Find out more on feeding houseplants.


Repot Creeping Moss at the beginning of the growing season only when growth has began to suffer; the plant prefers to be slightly root-bound. Use a pot 1 size larger and one that has drainage holes. The soil should be free-draining and rich in organic matter. Never allow the roots to sit in waterlogged soil as it may lead to root-rot.

How to Prune Creeping Moss (Selaginella spp)

Pruning Creeping Moss involves removal of dead and yellow leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy. To encourage a compact and bushy growth pinch off the growing tips regularly. If the plant becomes unruly, cut back to rejuvenate growth. The foliage emanating from the pruning, can be used to propagate new plants. Learn more on how to prune houseplants.

How to Propagate Creeping Moss (Selaginella spp)

Creeping Moss can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from stem-tip cuttings or by division.

Propagation of Creeping Moss from stem-tip cuttings
Take 4-5 in. long stem-tip cuttings, strip off most of the lower leaves. Stick the lower cut end of the cuttings in moist free-draining soil. Place the set up in a warm shaded place. Maintain the soil moist through out until new growth emerges. Allow the plants to be well established before transplanting.

Propagation of Creeping Moss by Divison
Remove the Creeping Moss from its pot. Carefully divide the plant into several sections. Pot up these sections in moist soil in individual pots. Place the set up in a warm shaded place and maintain the soil moist through out until new growth emerges. Allow the plant to be well established before transplanting.

Common Problems in Growing Creeping Moss (Selaginella spp)

  • Brown, shrivelled leaves
  • The cause of this in Creeping Moss is low humidity; raise humidity by more frequent misting or set the pot on a wet pebble tray. Creeping Moss can also be grown in a terrarium as a high humidity can be maintained in a terrarium.

  • Pests
  • Common pest in Creeping Moss are Mealy Bugs and Spider Mites. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other plants. Keep the plant properly pruned at all times to reduce the hiding places for these pests.


Creeping Moss (Selaginella spp) are non-toxic to both humans and pets. They are safe to grow indoors.

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