Resurrection plants, scientifically known as Selaginella lepidophylla, are intriguing and unique plants that have captured the curiosity of gardeners and plant enthusiasts around the world. These remarkable organisms have the extraordinary ability to survive long periods of drought by seemingly “coming back to life” once exposed to water. Caring for a resurrection plant can be a rewarding experience, and in this comprehensive guide, we will explore the key aspects of their care and maintenance.
I. Understanding the Resurrection Plant
Before delving into the care requirements, it’s essential to understand the unique characteristics of the resurrection plant. Resurrection plants belong to the family Selaginellaceae and are native to arid regions of North America, primarily found in deserts and semiarid regions. They have evolved mechanisms to tolerate extreme drought conditions by entering a state of desiccation, during which their metabolic activity drastically slows down.
II. Environmental Considerations
Resurrection plants thrive in specific environmental conditions, and replicating these conditions is crucial for their well-being. Here are some key factors to consider:
Light: Resurrection plants prefer bright, indirect light. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight for extended periods, as it can cause leaf burn.
Temperature: These plants are adapted to warm climates. Maintaining a temperature range of 70-90°F (21-32°C) during the day and 60-70°F (15-21°C) at night is ideal.
Humidity: Resurrection plants prefer low to moderate humidity levels. Ensure proper ventilation to prevent excessive moisture buildup.
III. Watering and Hydration
The unique trait that sets resurrection plants apart is their ability to revive from a desiccated state. Here are some guidelines for watering and hydration:
Watering Frequency: Allow the plant to dry out completely between waterings. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other issues. Aim for a watering schedule of once every two to three weeks during active growth.
Watering Technique: To revive a desiccated resurrection plant, place it in a shallow dish of room-temperature water for approximately 24 hours. During this time, the plant will slowly absorb water and revive. After revival, return to regular watering intervals.
Mist Spraying: Occasionally mist the plant with water to provide a humid environment, especially during periods of low humidity. Avoid misting excessively, as it can lead to fungal diseases.
IV. Soil and Fertilization
Proper soil composition and fertiliSation are crucial for the health and growth of resurrection plants. Consider the following tips:
Soil Type: Resurrection plants thrive in well-draining soil mixes. A combination of peat moss, sand, and perlite works well to create a loose, well-aerated medium.
Fertiliser: Use a diluted, balanced liquid fertiliser during the active growing season (spring and summer) to provide essential nutrients. Apply fertiliser at half the recommended strength every four to six weeks.
V. Potential Challenges and Troubleshooting
Caring for a resurrection plant comes with its fair share of challenges. Here are some common issues and troubleshooting tips:
Yellowing or Browning Leaves: This may indicate overwatering or insufficient light. Adjust the watering schedule and ensure the plant receives adequate indirect light.
Pest Infestations: Resurrection plants are generally resistant to pests. However, keep an eye out for mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids. Treat infestations with an appropriate insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.
Why Is My Resurrection Plant Not Turning Green?
If the plant is not fully hydrated, it will struggle to turn green. So if you’re struggling with this, increase the amount you’re watering it until you find the right balance. It’s to do with the sugar crystals that are in the plant, these must be fully dissolved for it to thrive. Essentially it gets the name from its ability to survive desiccation. This means it can be completely dehydrated, otherwise known as extreme dryness. Once it manages to get rehydrated, it will seemingly come back to life. Hence the name, resurrection plant.
Caring for a resurrection plant requires a balance of understanding its unique characteristics and providing the right environmental conditions. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can ensure the health and vitality of your resurrection plant.
Remember to provide adequate light, maintain suitable temperature and humidity levels, and water the plant appropriately, allowing it to dry out between waterings. Creating a well-draining soil mix and providing occasional fertilisation will further support its growth.
While challenges may arise, such as leaf discolouration or pest infestations, proactive troubleshooting can help address these issues and preserve the plant’s health.
With patience and care, your resurrection plant will thrive, captivating you with its remarkable ability to come back to life after periods of desiccation. Enjoy the unique beauty of this fascinating plant in your own home or garden.