Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

The Miracle Season: A Resurrection Plant That Can Come Back to Life

Search

The Miracle Season: A Resurrection Plant That Can Come Back to Life

January 3, 2019

Miracles do exist, at least in the garden. Allow us to introduce you to a desert plant that can revive itself even after its leaves turn brown and it shrivels up into a sad tumbleweed. Give a resurrection plant (Selaginella lepidophylla) a little water and it will exhibit the amazing ability to come back to life.

This is good news, both for gardeners who plant S. lepidophylla as a creeper or ground cover and for houseplant collectors—for once, forgetting to water a specimen will not be a fatal error.

Despite looking dead and brittle from dehydration (here and in the top photo of the post), a Resurrection Plant  measuring from \2 to 3 inches across will revive itself with water and unfurl to a diameter of from 4 to 6 inches (brass bowl sold separately); \$\14 apiece at Pistils Nursery.
Above: Despite looking dead and brittle from dehydration (here and in the top photo of the post), a Resurrection Plant  measuring from 2 to 3 inches across will revive itself with water and unfurl to a diameter of from 4 to 6 inches (brass bowl sold separately); $14 apiece at Pistils Nursery.

Selaginella lepidophylla is a botanical wonder known for its ability to seemingly come back to life again and again–even after completely drying out,” notes retailer Pistils Nursery. “We’ve hidden a crystal deep inside this mysterious desert plant. When the recipient places the resurrection plant in a dish of water, the plant will unfurl to reveal this secret surprise, and stay green and beautiful as long as it’s exposed to water. After a few days, allow the plant to dry up and repeat the process.”

On a rocky outcrop in Mexico, a resurrection plant (Selaginella lepidophylla) creates a cushion for succulent Sedum palmeri. Photograph by Sergio Niebla via Flickr.
Above: On a rocky outcrop in Mexico, a resurrection plant (Selaginella lepidophylla) creates a cushion for succulent Sedum palmeri. Photograph by Sergio Niebla via Flickr.

Native to desert climates in Mexico and the United States, resurrection plant is a spike moss and will grow as a creeper in rock gardens in mild climates (USDA zones 8 to 10).

Don’t confuse Selaginella lepidophylla with the similar-looking plant, Anastatica hierochuntica. Known as a rose of Jericho, A. hierochuntica is native to western Asia and differs in its behavior: it will revive itself only if rooted.

Are you looking for a miracle ground cover? See more of our favorites in Ground Covers 101 in our curated Garden Design 101 guides. Read more:

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

v5.0