Farewell, Ferris

Well, I suppose you aren’t faring well and aren’t likely to, and that’s the issue, eh.

You started out feisty and fuzzy, bouncy and pert, and oh-so-cute on June 15.

But you needed more humidity, lost some of your bounce, and I didn’t have a humidifier.

On June 21, I stuck you in a cloche.

So far so good!

Then I gave you some air on June 25 cause you smelled a little earthy (which is probably OK) and you wilted almost immediately.

Look at all those dull wilty bits.

And I thought, OK, you really need that cloche! And you seemed dry, so I gave you some water too.

Science experiment

But lo, by July 2, you developed a lot of — mold? A fungus?

So, with your friend Ympäri Pyöreä, I decided on June 3 evening that we were done.

Pretty gross now in there.

I took you outside and opened the cloche and a cloud gently drifted out from your slimy, damp, wilted strands. Your soil was soggy. You were too gross for the empty green bin, so I collected some dried weeds to line the bin, then dumped you in.

Such is your resting place, Ferris. Go forth, break down, and become part of something more.

Thank you for teaching me the beginnings of the importance of managing humidity in my plant environment, and giving me the lesson with alacrity. It will be some time before I try fern and moss-style plants again! And with more research in advance.

Salutations, Selaginella

What can you do, selaginella, selaginella? What can you do selaginella from the zoo?

Hey! You’re not from the zoo! You’re from prehistory! Apparently, the lycophyte family, which include clubmosses (AKA this little guy), has been around since 425 million years ago.

So, where ya from…

  • Binomial name: Selaginella [unknown, assuming kraussiana]; ‘Lime’
  • Given name: Ferris
  • Native to: Africa, Azores in damp, forest-like environments
  • Bought: June 15, 2021 at Plant & Curio
  • Original (current) pot: 5.5 inch, plastic, with attached drainage tray

Field notes

  • Soil: moist
  • Longest strand, measured down from rim of pot: 5.5 cm
  • Signs of pests: a single fruit-fly looking insect. Perhaps a fungus gnat. Squished it.
  • Signs of care issues: a couple shriveled, crispy brown leaves on the underside. Removed them; placing the plant closer to a humidifier.

Research notes

Atmosphere

  • Light: full shade to semi-shady (brighter light = brighter plant colour)
  • Humidity: high; use a humidifier or place in a terrarium; misting doesn’t cut it
  • Temperature: 18 to 24 degrees Celsius; keep away from drafts (doors and vents)

Water

  • Preference: moist but not soggy. Room-temperature, soft water, lime-free
  • Frequency: often; water from below

Soil, fertilization, and pots

  • Soil type: well-draining, loose, humus-rich, peat moss + sand
  • Soil pH: neutral to acidic; 6 or 6.5 is good
  • Fertilization: at most once a month during growing season; balanced liquid fertilizer (10–10–10) diluted to half strength
  • Repotting: when outgrows pot. Shallow pot (still needing a couple inches) with drainage holes. Terrarium would be OK.

Lifestyle

  • Grow style: drops rhizophores down from the stems as it creeps outwards. The rhizophore acts as a stem and roots develop where it touches the soil. Healthy frosty fern cultivars grows might outwards at or faster than 6 mm per week, not sure about this cultivar.
  • Mature size: 5 cm high
  • Pruning: can prune back in spring. Cut an inch before the rhizophore to keep them for propagation.
  • Common problems: drying out due to low humidity (signs: brown, shriveled leaves. If you missed a couple weeks, sit the pot in water until soil is saturated (about 60 minutes) then let it drain; remove brown or crispy leaves, cover with plastic or glass to trap humidity until growth returns)
  • Propagation: spring: via rhizome division or cutting an inch before the rhizophore and placing rhizophore in soil. Cover with plastic to trap humidity until roots are developed.

Research sources: WikipediaPlantophilesGuide to HouseplantsBantam.EarthSo Easily Distracted