Lycopodium is a type of evergreen often found growing upright and trailing in the wild, also known as ground pine and running cedar. These plants are commonly used for Christmas decoration and can vary from low-lying ferns to ground creeping vines. ‘Planting seeds’ is a term used loosely when referring to lycopodium, as this plant does not produce actual seeds. Lycopodium is a spore-bearing plant that produces both eggs and sperm within each spore in order to reproduce. Although germination is slow, starting a lycopodium from plant spores can be done successfully.
Locate Lycopodium, or ground pine growing freely in the woods, preferably in the fall. Search the plants for those with stems that are shooting upward from the plant. These are mature aerial stems and contain the strobili, or cones that house spores necessary for germination.
Using scissors or small pruners, carefully clip off the aerial stems at the base of the plant.
Place cuttings in a zip-lock bag, being careful not to disturb the rhizomes.
Using a sharp knife or nail, punch several drainage holes in the bottom of a four quart plastic container.
Place the lid on the plastic container.
Using a sharp knife, make several slits in the lid of the container for ventilation.
Remove the lid and set aside.
Fill the plastic container with an orchid potting mixture to within four inches of the top of the container.
Add two inches of peat moss on top of the orchid potting mixture.
Using a spray bottle, wet the peat moss thoroughly, but do not saturate or allow water to pool in the container.
Remove the lycopodium stems from the zip-lock bag and carefully shake them over the plastic container in an attempt to release spores onto the damp peat moss.
Place the lid back on the container and place the container in an area of the home by a window, away from direct sunlight.
Spray the peat moss occasionally with the water bottle to keep it moist. The frequency will be determined by the temperature of your home.
Watch for emerging plants after two to three months.
Water the tiny plants twice weekly with a light spraying of the water bottle.
Thin lycopodium seedlings after another month or two. Allow at least three inches of space between each seedling.
Allow plants to continue to grow indoors until late spring where they can be transplanted outdoors in a shady area, free from initial frost. Lycopodium that continues to grow throughout spring, summer and fall will be well-established to tolerate frost and freezing temperatures of winter.