Selaginella uncinata: How to Grow the Stunning Peacock Fern

Native to China, the peacock spikemoss is named for its stunning iridescent blue foliage.

This striking little plant falls is actually one of the “fern allies” (or lycophytes) because it has fern-like foliage, but it’s often loosely classified as a moss due to its low growth habit.

Which explains why this plant has so many different common names…

A fantastic trailing plant, Selaginella uncinata will quickly form a dense mat of feathery foliage that’ll cover the ground of your terrarium.

This ancient species of plant thrives in moist and humid environments, and it’s an easy choice for terrariums of all kinds (particularly for beginners because this species is pretty bulletproof).

Selaginella uncinata (Peacock Spikemoss)

Where to Buy Selaginella uncinata

See the links below to purchase from reputable terrarium plant shops and marketplaces (may include affiliate links). 

US – See on Etsy
UK – See on Etsy

Selaginella uncinata Care & Growth

Plant TypeMoss, fern (sort of)
LightingLow – high indirect light
Temperature55-80°F (12-26°C)
WateringRegular, even moisture
HumidityMedium – high humidity (50-90%)
Growth3-5 inches


Selaginella uncinata is a true low light terrarium plant, and it’s brilliant blue hue is even more pronounced under minimal lighting conditions. On the flip side, it’s definitely one to keep out of direct sunlight as its delicate foliage will quickly scorch.


As with most Selaginella species, this plant thrives in high moisture terrarium environments. It’s pretty hard to overwater, and it’ll do best in conditions where it has consistent moisture.


Peacock spikemoss isn’t overly demanding when it comes to substrate choice. As long as you’re using a substrate mix with good water retention, this plant species will be happy.

Temperature & Humidity

This tropical plant will definitely appreciate as much humidity as you can give it, but it’s actually surprisingly hardy and can tolerate a range of temperatures.


Peacock spikemoss will generally only reach a few inches in height, but its spread can be much wider. Given enough time you can expect it to cover the ground of most terrariums, and will likely need trimming semi-regularly.


As with other Selaginella species, S. uncinata is easy to propagate through both stem cuttings or division. In fact, they naturally root from their tips as part of their creeping growth habit, so cuttings of most descriptions will likely be viable.

Varieties & Similar Plants

There’s a huge amount of variety in the Selaginella genusbut no other specific varieties of S. uncinata to speak of. Also, as much as I’d love to find a range of beautiful irredescent Selaginella, I think this is the only one that’s available.

That being said, there are other notable iridescent terrarium plants such as the blue oil fern (Microsorum thailandicum) and the peacock begonia (Begonia pavonina).

Common Problems

Honestly, in a tropical terrarium environment you’re unlikely to run into any problems with this plant. Selaginella uncinata is incredibly easy to grow, and the only thing to look out for is keeping it consistently moist.