Resurrection Plant Care: How To Grow False Rose Of Jericho

The world of botanical wonders is vast, with each plant boasting its unique attributes. Among these, the Resurrection Plant, scientifically known as Selaginella lepidophylla, stands out with its fascinating ability to resurrect from a seemingly lifeless state. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of resurrection plant care, exploring everything from its origins and unique characteristics to the essential tips for cultivating this captivating species in your own space.

Image of Selaginella Lepidophylla or rose of Jericho plant on a white background

About the Resurrection Plant: Selaginella Lepidophylla

Selaginella lepidophylla, commonly known as the Resurrection Plant, distinguishes itself as a resilient member of the spikemoss family native to the arid landscapes of the Chihuahuan Desert. Flourishing primarily in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States, this desert plant, often referred to as the “dinosaur plant” or “flower of stone,” captivates the imaginations of plant enthusiasts worldwide with its remarkable ability to withstand extreme drought conditions.

During its dormant phase, Selaginella lepidophylla assumes a compact, desiccated state, forming a tight ball that appears lifeless and dry. However, the magic unfolds when this unique plant encounters water. Under the influence of hydration, it undergoes a miraculous transformation, unfurling its distinctive greyish foliage and revealing a vibrant green hue. This extraordinary ability to resurrect has bestowed upon Selaginella lepidophylla common names such as the “false Rose of Jericho” and the “resurrection plant.”

It’s essential to distinguish Selaginella lepidophylla, the false Rose of Jericho plant, from the true Rose of Jericho (Anastatica hierochuntica). While both species of resurrection plants share the symbolic significance of resurrecting, they belong to different botanical families, each exhibiting its own unique characteristics and adaptations to survive in arid environments.

Selaginella Lepidophylla or rose of jericho on a plate

How to Care for the Resurrection Plant

Caring for the Resurrection Plant involves understanding and replicating its natural habitat. Below, we’ll explore key aspects of resurrection plant care, including light, soil, water, temperature, humidity, fertilization, pruning, common issues, propagating, and more.

Light Requirements:

The Resurrection Plant, like many desert plants, thrives in bright, indirect sunlight. While it can tolerate some shade, providing it with ample light ensures the best results. Placing the plant near a window with filtered sunlight or under artificial grow lights designed for indoor plants will help maintain its overall health and vitality.

Soil Conditions:

When it comes to soil, the Resurrection Plant prefers well-draining mixtures that mimic its native desert environment. A blend of cactus mix and perlite or sand works well to prevent waterlogged conditions, which can lead to root rot. Ensure that the pot has adequate drainage holes to facilitate the escape of excess water.

Watering the Resurrection Plant:

Watering is a crucial aspect of resurrection plant care, and understanding the plant’s unique water requirements is key to its well-being. Unlike many plants that thrive on regular watering, the Resurrection Plant is adapted to survive long periods of drought. When reviving a dormant plant, place it in a shallow dish of distilled water, allowing it to absorb moisture gradually. Avoid using tap water, as the chemicals may impact the plant’s health.

During active growth, provide the Resurrection Plant with a modest amount of water, allowing the soil to dry out between water breaks. This plant is a true survivor, capable of thriving on very little water, making it an ideal choice for those seeking low-maintenance plants.

Temperature and Humidity:

The Resurrection Plant is accustomed to extreme fluctuations in temperature, ranging from scorching daytime heat to chilly nights. It can withstand arid conditions, but it’s essential to avoid exposing it to freezing winter temperatures. Keep the plant in a dry place with room temperatures and protect it from drafts or sudden temperature changes.

While the Resurrection Plant can endure low humidity levels, it appreciates a bit of moisture in the air. Misting the plant occasionally or placing a tray of water nearby can help create a more suitable environment, especially if you’re cultivating it indoors.


Being a hardy plant, the Resurrection Plant doesn’t demand frequent fertilization. A diluted, balanced liquid fertilizer applied during the growing season, typically in spring and summer, is sufficient. Remember to follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging to prevent overfeeding, as this can harm the plant.


The Resurrection Plant is a low-maintenance plant that generally requires minimal pruning. However, removing dead ends or trimming back unruly growth can help maintain its compact and attractive appearance. Use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to make precise cuts, and ensure that the plant is in its active growth phase when pruning.

Resurrection plant on a plate after being watered
Image source: Asurnipal, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Common Issues with the Resurrection Plant

The resilient Resurrection Plant, celebrated for its unique ability to revive, encounters occasional challenges. Let’s explore common issues and practical solutions to ensure the continued health of this extraordinary plant.

Root Rot:

Overwatering or poor drainage can lead to root rot in the Resurrection Plant, characterized by browning or blackening of roots and a foul smell. To address this, allow the soil to dry between waterings, ensure proper drainage, and repot in fresh, well-draining soil.

Severe Dehydration:

During dormant periods, the Resurrection Plant may experience extreme dehydration, seen in curled, brittle foliage. To remedy this, immerse the entire plant in distilled water for an extended period, gradually reintroducing regular watering as signs of revival appear.

Exposure to Extreme Conditions:

Prolonged exposure to air conditioners or sudden temperature fluctuations can stress the plant, resulting in wilting and browning. Protect your Resurrection Plant by placing it in a stable environment with consistent room temperatures, avoiding drafts and extreme conditions.

Limited New Growth:

Insufficient light, nutrient deficiencies, or dormancy may hinder new growth. Ensure your plant receives bright, indirect light, provide a balanced liquid fertilizer during the growing season, and be patient if the plant is dormant, waiting for the next active growth phase.

Dying Ends:

Natural aging or environmental stress can lead to browning or withering at the tips of the foliage. Trim back dead ends using clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears during the active growth phase to maintain a healthy appearance.

Dormancy Confusion:

If the Resurrection Plant fails to resurrect after water exposure, it may not be in its dormant state or needs more time to respond. Understand the plant’s natural dormancy cycle and ensure you provide water during the appropriate phase.

Insect Infestations:

Pests such as mites or aphids may be attracted to the plant during active growth. Safeguard your Resurrection Plant by removing pests manually, using insecticidal soap, and isolating the plant if necessary to prevent the spread of infestations.

Incorrect Water Source:

Unresponsiveness to water, especially during dormancy, may result from using tap water with harmful chemicals. Opt for distilled water when reviving a dormant Resurrection Plant to avoid adverse effects on the plant’s health.

Addressing these common issues with the Resurrection Plant ensures that your plant continues to thrive, showcasing its incredible ability to withstand challenges and revive with vigor.

Selaginella lepidophylla resurrection plant
James St. John, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Propagating the Resurrection Plant:

Propagation of the Resurrection Plant is a simple yet rewarding process, primarily accomplished through division. Follow these step-by-step instructions to successfully propagate your Resurrection Plant:

Step 1: Observe Active Growth

Wait for the Resurrection Plant to enter its active growth phase, typically characterized by the emergence of new growth and an overall robust appearance. This phase is crucial for successful propagation.

Step 2: Prepare for Division

Gently lift the parent plant from its container or growing area. Take care not to damage the roots during this process. Ensure the plant is healthy and free from any signs of stress or disease.

Step 3: Separate into Sections

Carefully separate the parent plant into smaller sections, ensuring that each section has a portion of the root system attached. Use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to make precise cuts.

Step 4: Choose Individual Containers

Select individual containers for each section of the Resurrection Plant. These containers should have adequate drainage holes to prevent waterlogging. Ensure they are clean and free from any residues that could harbor harmful microorganisms.

Step 5: Plant in Well-Draining Soil

Fill each container with a well-draining soil mix, such as a combination of cactus mix and perlite or sand. Create a small hole in the center of the soil for the section of the Resurrection Plant to be planted.

Step 6: Plant with Care

Place each section into its designated container, making sure the roots are well-positioned in the soil. Gently pack the soil around the plant to provide stability while avoiding compacting it excessively.

Step 7: Mimic Mature Plant Care

Treat the newly propagated sections with the same care as you would for a mature Resurrection Plant. This includes providing bright, indirect light, maintaining appropriate watering intervals, and avoiding exposure to extreme conditions.

Step 8: Monitor and Adjust

Keep a close eye on the newly propagated plants for any signs of stress or adjustments needed. Adjust watering and light conditions as necessary to support their acclimatization and promote healthy growth.

Step 9: Patience is Key

Propagation success may take some time, so exercise patience as the newly propagated sections establish themselves. Once they show signs of active growth and resilience, you can be confident in the success of your propagation efforts.

By following these step-by-step instructions, you can propagate the Resurrection Plant with ease, expanding your collection of these fascinating and resilient plants.

Selaginella Lepidophylla resurrection plant (false rose of jericho) in a red pot
Image source: Yercaud-elango, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


In the vast plant kingdom, the Resurrection Plant stands out as one of the most unique and fascinating species. Its ability to thrive in extreme conditions, coupled with its captivating resurrection act, makes it a favorite among plant enthusiasts. By understanding the specific needs of this intriguing plant and providing the right conditions, you can enjoy the beauty and resilience of the Resurrection Plant in your own space. Whether you’re a seasoned green thumb or a novice plant enthusiast, the Resurrection Plant is sure to bring joy and wonder to your collection of botanical treasures.

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