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Club Moss — How to Grow Lycopodium Squarrosa

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Club Moss — How to Grow Lycopodium Squarrosa

Lycopodium Squarrosa, grown in a basket lined with coconut fiber and sphagnum moss

Photo © Jon VanZile
Club Moss is a striking plant that resembles a host of giant, furry caterpillars. Technically classified as fern allies, these ancient plants are among the oldest forms of plant life on the planet—yet also among the most striking. Be aware, though, that Lycopodium of any species tend to be challenging, and although the L. squarrosa is easier than many of its more challenging cousins, it is not generally considered a beginner’s plant. Greenhouse cultivation is best.

Growing Conditions:

Light: Filtered light or bright shade with no direct sunlight.
Water: These can be mounted on tree fern or grown in baskets and thus require frequent, drenching water applications.
Temperature: Prefers warm and humid conditions. Keep above 65ºF if possible.
Soil: Use an orchid potting mix, or pot straight into sphagnum moss. Adult plants are truly epiphytic.
Fertilizer: Feed throughout growing season with liquid fertilizer.

Propagation:

Lycopodium squarrosa propagate by spoors. This is not easily accomplished at home and requires specialized skills and materials. Most casual collectors buy specimens.

Repotting:

Large L. squarrosa may feature several feet of pendant fronds hanging from the basket or mounting plank. These plants do not need to be repotted, and repotting would only reduce their visual appeal and possible harm the plant. Once established, let them grow unhindered.

Varieties:

The Lycopodium genera is actually quite large, and today many botanists have separated out some specimens into the Huperzia classification, so this plant can be correctly identified as either L. squarrosa or H. squarrosa.

Grower's Tips:

Provided with plenty of water, immaculate drainage, good airflow, and high humidity, these can grow into show-stopping plants. In general, I find that if you can successfully grow some of the more challenging orchids, such as vandas, you can probably grow L. squarrosa fairly well because their cultural conditions are similar. Despite the challenges, it may be worth it: a well-grown plant is striking.
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