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Iridescent Blue Peacock Fern

S. willdenowii

Photo: Iridescent Blue Peacock Fern

General description

Selaginella uncinata, the Iridescent Blue Peacock Fern, is one of the most unusual plants we grow. From certain angles the iridescent foliage is an almost unbelievably brilliant blue, changing with the slightest movement of vantage point. The leaves themselves are finely cut and densely spreading, with the look of a beautiful and intricate oriental carpet, fitting for a plant of Chinese origins. Hardy in zones 6-10. Also makes a great houseplant or terrarium plant. 
Not a true fern, but a close relative of the ferns. Prefers medium to low light. Tiny 1/8" or smaller leaves on tender stems with bright iridescent blue coloring. In bright light it will turn an iridescent reddish brown. Spreads as a ground cover. Grows less than 1" high. Requires moist soil and high humidity to thrive.

Plant requirements

Peacock clubmoss makes an interesting pot plant for the cool, shaded greenhouse collection, or it can be grown outside in a shaded, moist site. It is hardy through zone 7, but on the northern end of its range it will freeze back during winter. I plant mine between stepping stones in my patio and walkways. The stones help moderate the temperature and, with every irrigation or shower, the plants get extra water as it runs off the rocks. Propagation is by division.


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Practical use

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1 - 30 cm
Soil type
Partial shade
Moist but well-drained
Needs protection