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How to Take Care of a Resurrection Plant

The resurrection plant (Selaginella), also called spreading club moss or trailing spike moss, is a cold-tender perennial plant that can withstand years of drought and neglect. One of the easiest plants to grow, the resurrection plant is an unusual fern-like plant that simply shrivels up and turns brown when it doesn’t receive water for 24 to 48 hours, going completely dormant. When you water the dormant resurrection plant, the fern turns green and opens up within a few hours. Grow resurrection plants in soil or in water with lava rocks.

Fill a 5-inch-diameter, watertight bowl or planter pot 2/3 full with room-temperature water. Place lava rocks into the water so that they cover the bottom of the container.

Set your resurrection plant into the water-filled container. If you purchased the plant while it was dormant and brown, you should see the resurrection plant open up and turn green within three hours.

Place your resurrection plant in partial to full shade. Add water to the container once or twice a week, or as needed to maintain the water level in the container. Maintain air temperatures warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit around the plant. If you receive winter temperatures colder than 40 degrees, don’t plant it outdoors.

Propagate your resurrection plant by taking cuttings of the healthy shoots at any time during the year, preferably when the plant isn’t brown and dormant. Insert the shoots into a container filled with organic compost and water them lightly every day until they develop roots.


Also grow your resurrection plant in a container filled with one part sand, one part potting soil and two parts leaf mold (humus), as well as a small piece of charcoal. If you’re growing your resurrection plant in a hanging basket, line the bottom and sides of the basket with moss and fill it with the potting soil mixture.


Don’t worry if your resurrection plant turns brown and closes up. Simply water the resurrection plant, if you’re growing it in soil, or add more water to the container. Replace the lava rocks or charcoal at least three or four times each year.

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