Selaginella Problems (6 Important Problems With Solutions)

The Selaginella plant sometimes referred to as an ‘accordion plant’ due to its ability to curl its leaves when it dries out, is a unique and fascinating species. Their care can sometimes be tricky though, as they are susceptible to overwatering and other common problems faced by indoor plants.

With proper care though, your Selaginella can thrive in your home. Knowing how much sunlight and water it needs is essential for the health of the plant and will ensure that your little piece of greenery has a long and vibrant life.

Common Selaginella Problems

Selaginella plants are an increasingly popular choice for home indoor gardens, however, they can suffer from a variety of problems. Common issues include brown spots on leaves, leaf yellowing or loss of color, fern-like fronds becoming limp and pale, as well as buds and stem succumbing to rot.

Other issues may include root rots caused by overwatering and spider mites which normally thrive in dry environments.

The best way to combat these problems is by providing the plant with the necessary conditions such as proper light exposure, a proper amount of water, good soil drainage, and the right temperature for growth. By taking preventive measures, you can ensure your Selaginella plant remains happy and healthy.

Selaginella Problems


Causes of Overwatering

The most common cause of overwatering in Selaginella plants is providing too much water on a frequent basis. This can happen from watering too often, or from using excessive amounts during each watering.

It can also be caused by poor drainage so that the soil stays too wet for too long after each watering. If the container does not have adequate drainage holes, this can lead to overwatering as the excess water collects at the bottom of the pot and never drains away.

cause of overwatering in Selaginella plants

Signs of Overwatering

When Selaginella plants are overwatered, they will exhibit several signs that indicate an issue has arisen. These include wilting or drooping of the leaves, yellow discoloration, brown spots or patches on the leaves, and a generally unhealthy appearance.

The leaves may also feel soft to the touch and feel mushy when gently pressed. The roots may also rot due to being constantly submerged in water.

Solutions to Overwatering Problems

To solve an overwatering problem with a Selaginella plant it is important to first identify and address any potential root causes such as inadequate drainage or overly frequent watering habits.

Once these issues are addressed it is then necessary to reduce how often you water your plant until it begins to regain its healthy appearance and texture again.

Make sure you always allow enough time between waterings for the soil to dry out completely before adding more water for about 10-14 days depending on how hot and humid it is outside.

You should make sure that any excess water is allowed to properly drain away from the container before refilling it with fresh water again


Causes of Underwatering

Underwatering can occur when the soil becomes too dry and the plant is not given enough water to sustain itself. This can be caused by a number of factors including lack of regular watering, incorrect pot size, lack of drainage, planting in an area exposed to excessive wind or sun, poor quality soil, or inadequate mulching.

Signs of Underwatering

The most common sign of underwatering is wilting and drooping leaves due to a lack of moisture in the soil. Other signs may include yellowed or dried-out leaves, reduced growth rate, small root systems, and stunted growth.

Solutions to Underwatering Problems

The best way to address underwatering issues is by ensuring that Selaginella plants are given the right amount and frequency of water for their stage of growth. A good rule is to water them once a week and check that the top 2 inches (5 cm) of soil are moist before watering again. Plant Selaginella in pots with good drainage holes so that excess water can drain away easily, while also adding mulch around the base of your plants as this will help retain moisture in the soil for longer periods between watering sessions.

Additionally, if you’re growing Selaginella outdoors make sure it is planted in a shaded area with plenty of airflows to prevent it from overheating and drying out too quickly.

Pest Infestations

Types of pests commonly found on Selaginella

Types of pests commonly found on Selaginella include aphids, mealybugs, mites, thrips, cutworms, and whiteflies.

Signs of pest infestations

Signs of pest infestations include yellowing or discoloration of the leaves, wilting of the plant’s foliage, and the presence of small insects or webs on the plant.

Solutions to pest infestations

Solutions to pest infestations include removing affected plants from other healthy ones to prevent further spread

  • applying insecticides such as neem oil and pyrethrum to affected areas
  • introducing beneficial insects such as ladybugs which feed on common Selaginella pests
  • regularly cleaning the leaves with a solution of water and mild dish soap to remove any pests or eggs
  • trapping some animals that may be consuming your plants by using a sticky trap

It is important to keep outdoor areas free from weeds and debris as these can provide harborage for some species of insect pests.

As preventive measures, you should inspect new plants for signs of infestation prior to introducing them into your garden or home, clean tools after each use with rubbing alcohol or a bleach solution to avoid spreading diseases between plants, and regularly prune away dead leaves and stems which can act as breeding grounds for certain types of pests.

Light Issues

Proper light for Selaginella

Proper light is essential for Selaginella to grow and thrive, as it helps to support photosynthesis and encourage the growth of healthy leaves.

The optimal amount of light for most species of Selaginella is medium to bright indirect sunlight, with direct sunlight only needed in a few instances. Too little light can cause the plant’s foliage to become pale and limp, while too much can scorch its leaves or even kill the plant altogether.

Proper light for Selaginella

Signs of insufficient or too much light

Signs that a Selaginella isn’t receiving enough light include faded coloration, slow-growing stems, and leaves, as well as sparse and weak foliage. On the other hand, too much light may cause burned tips on the leaves, yellowing of the older leaves, or even sudden death in extreme cases.

Solutions to light issues

To resolve light issues related to Selaginella plants, one should gradually move the plant into a brighter spot until it finds an area where it flourishes.

If too much sun is causing damage, gradual shading can be used instead; however such adjustments should take place over several days or weeks so as not to shock the plant with sudden changes in lighting conditions.

Avoid placing your Selaginella near windows or any other source of direct sunlight unless you know that particular species requires it for proper growth and health.

Soil Issues

Importance of Proper SProper Soil for Selaginella Plantsoil for Selaginella

Proper soil is essential for the health and growth of Selaginella plants. When selecting soil, it should be well-draining, light and airy, and rich in organic matter.

The soil should also contain adequate amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other nutrients to help the plant absorb moisture and nutrients more easily. Poorly drained or overly dense soils can cause root rot or other issues with the root system that can lead to stunted growth or even death of the plant.


Signs of poor soil quality

Signs of poor soil quality include wilting leaves, yellowing foliage, stunted growth, and an overall lack of vigor in the plant. If you suspect your Selaginella is suffering from soil issues, check for signs such as dry patches on the surface of the soil (which can indicate a lack of moisture) or overly soggy areas (which can indicate poor drainage).

In addition to these physical signs, a nutrient test will give you an accurate assessment of what’s happening with your soil’s nutrient levels and provide insight into how to best care for your plant.

Solutions to soil issues

Solutions to address soil issues may include

  • adding organic matter such as compost or aged manure to improve drainage while providing much-needed nutrients
  • amending compacted soils with perlite or sand to increase aeration
  • applying slow-release fertilizers
  • ensuring adequate moisture while avoiding overwatering which can result in root rot
  • reducing salts in the soil by leaching
  • adjusting pH levels
  • providing proper mulching around the base of the plant to retain moisture and protect it from extreme temperatures.

Ultimately, proper care must be taken when selecting a suitable growing environment for any Selaginella species to ensure healthy growth throughout its lifespan.


Propagating Selaginella

Propagating Selaginella, also known as resurrection plants, is an easy way to create more of these amazing plants. These plants have the unique ability to survive long periods of drought by curling up and entering a state of dormancy.

When the plant senses moisture, it then begins to open up and thrive once again. The easiest way to propagate them is through stem cuttings, though they can also be propagated from spores or via tissue culture.

Propagating Selaginella

Common Propagation Mistakes to Avoid

One common mistake when propagating Selaginella is attempting to do so in a dry environment. This will cause the stems to become brittle and break off before roots can form, resulting in dead growth and poor propagation success.

It’s important to take care not to overwater cuttings that are growing new roots; too much water can lead to fungal infections that may kill the cuttings before they have taken root properly.

Best Practices for Propagating Selaginella

The best strategy for propagating Selaginella successfully is to use fresh, healthy material for taking cuttings and keeping them in high humidity until they develop roots and start showing signs of vigorous growth.

A good medium for rooting stem cuttings should hold some moisture but not be overly wet; perlite mixed with equal parts of soil works well for this purpose.

For optimal propagation success, place the cutting near a source of indirect sunlight or grow lamps with adjustable settings; temperatures between 18-25°C (65-75°F) are ideal for creating an environment conducive to successful propagation.


In conclusion, the Selaginella plant species is a great addition to any home and can easily adapt to its environment with the right care. As long as the proper amount of light, water, and general maintenance is provided, these plants will thrive. Despite its delicate appearance, Selaginella plants are quite hardy and can even tolerate lower light levels if given some daylight.

Although there are some pests that may feed on these types of plants, they are generally not too difficult to take care of. With time, effort, and knowledge on how to properly nurture these poetic little plants, any gardener can have a thriving and beautiful addition to their houseplant collection.

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