Golden Clubmoss as a Terrarium Plant

Selaginella kraussiana, or Golden Clubmoss, has almost as many names as it does people who love to grow it. Sometimes known as Spikemoss, African Clubmoss and Krauss’ Spikemoss, it’s a delicate little ground cover plant that has the most velvety soft leaves. There are a number of similar species in the Selaginella family, but the kraussiana subspecies is the most commonly cultivated and probably the easiest one to grow in a terrarium.

Originally native to the Azores, Canary Islands and continental Africa, Golden Clubmoss has been cultivated indoors for centuries, and has even earned the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. It is an extremely effective ground cover, making it a prime tool in the terrarium designer’s toolkit. It is a remarkable shade of bright yellow-green known as chartreuse, although the color can vary depending on the brightness of the light it is growing in.

Typically it does better in low light conditions and it absolutely loves humidity, both of which make it an ideal terrarium plant. It grows quite quickly given the right situation, but fortunately it only grows to about 4″ high. It spreads horizontally instead, sometimes to as much as a foot and a half wide, so be sure to keep your pruning shears handy to keep it from taking over your terrarium. This rapid lateral growth makes it a prime choice for wide, shallow terrariums, but it has been used in many a project with other shapes simply due to its ease of growth and attractive foliage texture.

Golden Clubmoss does best in a damp to moist soil, and will even tolerate wet conditions that might discourage other plants. If you’re working on a wetland terrarium or something similar, this plant is a great choice. Interestingly, they are closely related to true ferns, which is part of the reason they tolerate and even thrive in such similar conditions.