Selaginella uncinata or Peacock Fern

Peacock Fern or Rainbow Moss – Got One! – Cross That Off Bucket List!

I am into the family of plants called Selaginella. Previously I wrote about a plant purchased for my terrariums called Selaginella kraussiana ( Golden Club Moss) and so far I am loving that plant. It grows so well in a terrarium and I have so many pieces growing  under glass here and there. Now I have purchased a Selaginella uncinata (also known as Peacock Fern or Rainbow Moss).

This Selaginella looks very similar to the other but has a bluish cast depending on how the light hits it. I guess that’s where the name comes from. The weird thing about this one is that it is supposedly moderately cold hardy to USDA zone 6. Hey, that’s me! I wonder if I can get it to grow outside?

Selaginella uncinata - Peacock fern or Rainbow Moss. Hardy to zone 6

Since I am bringing plants inside from their summer outside, I am looking for more and more places to put them. I have filled tables under windows all over the house, plus I am starting to hang some in front of windows. But when an option comes up that a plant might survive outside, that is interesting to me.

Sunny eastern window - Where do i put all my plants

I have made a large hypertufa bowl ( I even hesitate to call it a bowl, since it is almost a tub.) I had an inclination to plant this one with small ferns and mosses that I find outdoors. But if this should be able to support a Peacock Fern, that would be wonderful. However, I think it is too late in the season to try and get it established and roots growing deep enough to survive the Ohio winter. Perhaps next year? If I keep this one alive, I can put it outside and get it acclimated to the outdoors.

Another large hypertufa in leaching

Propagating the Peacock fern by cuttings should be easy, so I have a few rooting in water right now to see if I can get roots to grow.  So far it seems very easy since the roots are growing from the top tips. See them up there at the top?

Propagating Peacock fern in tiny bottle

As a backup plan, I also have a few pieces lying on soil mix to see if they form roots better that way. This Selaginella spreads by the branch tips rooting into the soil, so I think it would be easy. Either way, I hope to have some new plants for next year to put outside all year long so that they will be well established by the winter season. Now to just patiently wait…or make new cuttings and try again. You know how these experiments work, right?

Peacock fern rooting in a misty teapot

Here’s the video of my planting of the Peacock Fern. I hope it does well cascading in this large planter. I will surely try and keep it misted. If I can find a whopper of an aquarium or regular terrarium, I will transplant it in there. Thanks for reading and watching!

Peacock Fern or Rainbow Moss - Selaginella uncinata in a Tall Vase



  1. Bethany Mott says:

    Hi Kim,
    How do I find the results of these wonderful experiences?
    Thank you!

    1. I wasn’t successful in propagating those ferns, nor putting them outside for the winter. Perhaps it was because we had a pretty cold winter? But I may try again.

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