How to Care for Resurrection Plant: A Basic Guideline

Last Updated on May 28, 2022 by Gary Stephen

If there is one plant perfect for the brownest of the brown thumbs, this would definitely be it – the Resurrection plant!

This desert plant is the ideal choice for those who hadn’t had much luck yet growing cultivars. As the name implies, this species has the uncanny ability to bounce back to life. Even after an almost deadened state, this plant still manages to find a way to survive.

The persistence of the resurrection plant to live makes it almost impossible to kill. This makes it suitable for those with the least experience in gardening. In short, you don’t need to be a green thumb to grow this kind of plant. 

As low maintenance as it may be, the resurrection plant still has fundamental needs. So in this article, we have gathered some basic guidelines in taking care of this plant. These tips will sure give it a stronger fighting chance to live and thrive.

Guides for How To Care For A Resurrection Plant

1. The Origin of the Resurrection Plant

The resurrection plant is scientifically known as Selaginella lepidophylla. It is a desert plant that belongs to the spikemoss family. This cultivar is native to the Chihuahuan desert to be specific. Nevertheless, it can be found across all the drylands in the United States and Mexico.

This trailing perennial plant comes with scale-like leaves that tend to grow horizontally. You can often find it placed on a bed of gravel indoors but it can also grow as an epiphyte.

2. Basic Care Guide for Growing Resurrection Plant Growing medium 

You should know that resurrection plants do not have a root system. So unlike typical plants, they can be grown without the need for actual soil. Rather, they can be placed on surfaces                                                            

How To Care For A Resurrection Plantthat are likely to them provide good support. Materials such as gravel, pebbles, and glass bowls are the most common practices. 

Alternatively, the resurrection plant can also be grown in water. However, make sure to provide it some dry period to give it a rest. Being water-free for one day a week should be enough for a breather. Moreover, it would also help to allow it to completely dry out every 2 weeks or so. Otherwise, it increases the chances of developing a disease called root rotting.

Care tip:

The resurrection plant is one of those few plants that don’t require drain holes. So, this gives you a lot of freedom to be creative when choosing its containers. You can even get to repurpose your old trays or fish bowls for this project.

Our top picks for growing mediums:

Granite Pea Gravel

Sackorange White Rocks

CYS Excel Glass Bubble Bowl 

3. Watering

The resurrection plant is a drought-tolerant kind of cultivar. It can adapt to very dry conditions. As a coping mechanism, its leaves shrivel and curls up into a ball. They then wait and hope for the wind to blow them towards an area with moisture. 

When watered, the dormant plant livens back up with its leaves open and turns green again. It may take about 3 to 4 hours for the plant to return to its normal and active state. The act of somewhat miraculously coming back to life makes it all worthy of its name.

When being grown as an indoor houseplant though, you may need to water your resurrection plant once in a while. As a desert plant itself, it doesn’t need much moisture. So, water only when it deems necessary. Here are several methods to hydrate the plant:

Method #1: Water-filled tray.

This is the ideal method f you are using gravel or pebbles to display your plant. To do this, simply place your gravel or pebbles on a shallow dish or tray. Fill it halfway with water. As the water evaporates, it increases the humidity and moistens the plant.

gravel for resurrection plant

Method #2: Soaking.

If you wish to grow your resurrection plant as an epiphyte, meaning on top of another organism, then this method suits you well. Soaking the plant in water for about 10 seconds will help to rehydrate the plant. Just make sure not to leave it for too long to prevent it from getting root rot.

Method #3: Misting. 

Misting is another way to water your plant regardless of the manner of how you wish to display it. For this, it is advisable to use a fine-mist sprayer to have better control over the amount of water you deliver. You can mist your plant every few days or as soon as you notice the leaves start to curl up.

Care tip:

Resurrection plants can be quite sensitive to chemicals. Thus, it is ideal to use distilled water to hydrate them. Alternatively, you can also use regular tap water as it is much more practical and readily available. However, you have to let it sit first for 24 hours at room temperature before use. This period is long enough to allow the chlorine content to dissipate from the water.

Our top picks for distilled water:

Nestle Distilled Waters

RPI Distilled Water

Glaceau SmartWater Vapor Distilled Water

6. Lighting

Being a desert species, the resurrection plant is used to received plenty of sunlight in the wild. Its captive counterparts do need a lot too but with some degree of differences. As an indoor houseplant, it prefers to take in good amounts of daylight up to 12 hours per day.

Nevertheless, it is ideal to provide it with bright yet indirect lighting. As the plant is already accustomed to indoor settings, too much sunlight can cause burns to it is leaves. 

On that note, it is best to place it in the south or west-facing windows. These spots tend to receive plenty of sun but are less intense. Thus, your plant will still get the light it needs without scorching its leaves.

Vogek Full Spectrum LED Grow Ligh

Care tip:

If your indoor space lacks sunlight, you can supplement it instead with artificial lighting. Grow lights are your best alternative to the natural sun. It comes in different bulb types, color temperatures, and intensities. So, you have to choose one that would best suit the actual needs of your plants.

Our top picks for grow lights:

Ezorkas Dimmable Full Spectrum LED Light

Vogek Full Spectrum LED Grow Light

LuminPool Tri-Head Full Spectrum LED Grow Light with Tripod

7. Temperature & Humidity

A stable room temperature is one thing that resurrection plants would definitely appreciate. That is because it does not seem to fair well with fluctuations nor extreme temperatures. Instead, it can live happily within an average room temperature. That usually falls between the range of 50 to 75 degrees Celcius.

Moreover, it is also not pleased being exposed to drafty areas. Thus, make sure to keep the pot away from air vents or poorly installed windows

ThermoPro Digital Hygrometer & Indoor Thermometer

Care tips:

You can use room thermometer and hygrometer devices to help you conveniently monitor the temperature and humidity indoors. They are inexpensive and often both functionalities come in a single device already. 

Our top picks for room thermometer & hygrometer:

ThermoPro Digital Hygrometer & Indoor Thermometer

Govee Smart Hygrometer & Thermometer

Smartro Professional Digital Hygrometer & Thermometer

8. Fertilizer

Most fertilizers are being given to assist the plant to bloom decadent flowers. The resurrection plant, however, does not produce vibrant flowers. Rather, they give out plain and small blooms. 

In that sense, the fertilizers are being used here to instead support the health of the plant. This is especially helpful at times it needs to restore its condition back to life.

For that matter, you do not need to give a lot of plant food to resurrection plants. A water-soluble all-purpose fertilizer should do it just fine. It is important, though, to dilute the solution to about half the recommended strength. This watered-down mixture provides essential nutrients without the risk of causing burns.

Jack’s Classic All-Purpose Plant Food

Care tip:

Since the resurrection plant needs very little fertilizing, it can get away with twice a year application. Once in early spring and another by mid-summer. There is no need to apply during wintertime as the plant tends to be less active during this period.

Our top picks for fertilizers:

Jack’s Classic All-Purpose Plant Food

Schultz All-Purpose Plant Food

Miracle-Gro All-Purpose Plant Food

10. Pruning & Propagation

Pruning is one good way to maintain the size and shape of the mother plant. Trimming out the leaves allows you to remove the unhealthy parts and keep it all tidy and clean. 

Moreover, pruning also makes it a perfect chance for you to propagate your plant. By cutting the healthy segments, you can eventually create new plants. Just make sure to take cuttings when the plant is fully unfolded and actively growing. 

Once you obtained fresh cuttings, place them on top of gravel or loose well-draining soil. Water the new plant to moisten and activate growth. If done correctly, it will take only a few days to see progress.

Fiskars Steel Bypass Pruning Shears

Care tip:

In both pruning and propagation, it is advisable to use sharp and sterile garden shears. Doing so will give you cleaner cuttings. At the same time, it also prevents cross-contamination of diseases between plants.

Our top picks for garden shears:

Felco Classic Hand Pruner

Fiskars Steel Bypass Pruning Shears

Vivosun Straight Stainless Steel Hand Pruner

Wrapping Up about A Resurrection Plant

Well, there you have it. You don’t need a green thumb after all to grow plants successfully. Sometimes, all you need is to find the right plant for you.  This plant to answer all your greenery needs might just be the resurrection plant.

Unlike others, they are pretty much easy to care for and very forgiving. But most importantly, it is so determined to live that it makes killing much harder than growing it. And thus, perfect for anyone with even the brownest of thumbs. Happy growing, you’ve got this!

Gary Stephen
Gary Stephen

Hi, I am Gary Stephen. I have been gardening for a long time. Gardening gives us much benefits and pleasure. Many of us desire to have a garden, but it cannot fulfill the desire for the proper guide or instruction of gardening. So, I am eager to help them. For this purpose, I have developed the website to make a garden with the proper guide. So, you will get me beside you if you want to know anything about gardening.