Peacock Fern: Learn the Basics of Nurturing the Species

nurturing peacock fern basics

Welcome to this informative article on Peacock Fern, where we will explore the fundamentals of nurturing this captivating species.

Peacock Fern, scientifically known as Selaginella uncinata, has gained popularity among plant enthusiasts due to its remarkable appearance and relatively straightforward care requirements.

In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with essential information to create an optimal environment for your Peacock Fern.

From understanding its basic characteristics to addressing tank requirements, water care, and maintenance tips, we will equip you with the knowledge needed to ensure the thriving growth of your Peacock Fern.

So, let's embark on this journey together and uncover the secrets behind nurturing this unique species.

Key Takeaways

  • Peacock Ferns, scientifically known as Selaginella willdenovii, are not true ferns but a type of spikemoss that reproduces through spores.
  • They are native to Southeast Asia and known for their vibrant and iridescent fronds, making them popular houseplants.
  • Peacock Ferns can be easily propagated through spore propagation or division.
  • Proper care and maintenance, including trimming dead fronds, inspecting for pests, and using organic fertilizers, are crucial for their optimal growth and health.

What Is Peacock Fern?

definition of peacock fern

Peacock Fern, scientifically known as Selaginella willdenovii, is a unique and fascinating plant that belongs to the Selaginellaceae family. It is commonly known as the Peacock Fern due to its vibrant green foliage that resembles the plumage of a peacock.

There are several varieties of Peacock Fern, each with its own distinct characteristics and growth habits. These include the Selaginella willdenovii 'Aurea', which has golden-yellow foliage, and the Selaginella willdenovii 'Variegata', which features variegated leaves with creamy white and green patterns.

When it comes to growing conditions, Peacock Ferns thrive in moist, well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. They prefer indirect sunlight or partial shade, as direct sunlight can scorch their delicate leaves. Adequate humidity is also essential for their optimal growth.

It is important to note that Peacock Ferns are not true ferns, but rather a type of spikemoss, which is a primitive plant that reproduces through spores. With the right care and growing conditions, Peacock Ferns can add a touch of elegance and beauty to any indoor or outdoor space.

Peacock Fern Stats

Selaginella willdenovii, commonly known as Peacock Fern, possesses a set of distinctive statistics that contribute to its unique and captivating nature.

When it comes to propagation, Peacock Fern can be easily multiplied by spore propagation. The spores are usually found on the underside of the fronds and can be collected and sown in a suitable growing medium.

As for fertilizers, Peacock Ferns are not heavy feeders. They can be fertilized sparingly with a balanced houseplant fertilizer, diluted to half strength, once every two to four weeks during the growing season. Overfertilization can lead to burnt fronds, so it is important to follow the recommended dosage.

Tank Requirements

aquarium tank size guide

When caring for Peacock Ferns in a tank, it is essential to provide the appropriate conditions to ensure their optimal growth and health. The tank size should be spacious enough to accommodate the fern's spreading nature. A tank with a capacity of at least 10 gallons is recommended.

As for the temperature range, Peacock Ferns thrive in temperatures between 70°F and 80°F (21°C to 27°C). It is important to maintain a stable temperature within this range to avoid stressing the plants. Fluctuations in temperature can lead to growth problems and even plant death. Using a reliable heater and thermometer can help regulate the tank's temperature.

Water Care

To ensure the optimal growth and health of Peacock Ferns in a tank, proper water care is essential.

Maintaining the correct pH levels and water temperature is crucial for the well-being of these plants. Peacock Ferns prefer slightly acidic to neutral water with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.0. Regular monitoring of the pH levels using a test kit is recommended to prevent any fluctuations that may negatively impact the ferns.

Additionally, maintaining a consistent water temperature between 70°F and 80°F (21°C to 27°C) is important for the ferns' growth. Sudden temperature changes can stress the plants, leading to leaf wilting or yellowing.

Care and Maintenance

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Care and maintenance of Peacock Ferns involves implementing specific practices to ensure their optimal growth and health in a tank environment. To evoke an emotional response in the audience, consider the following tips:

  • Pruning techniques: Regularly trim any dead or yellowing fronds to promote new growth and maintain a tidy appearance. This will not only enhance the overall aesthetic appeal but also prevent the spread of diseases.
  • Pest prevention: Take preventive measures to keep pests at bay, such as inspecting the plant regularly for signs of infestation and using organic pest control methods if necessary. This will protect the ferns from potential damage and ensure their long-term survival.


The successful care and maintenance of Peacock Ferns also involves understanding the importance of providing appropriate fertilizers to support their growth and vitality in a tank environment. Peacock Ferns require a balanced mix of nutrients to thrive, including macronutrients such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), as well as micronutrients like iron (Fe) and magnesium (Mg).

When it comes to choosing the best fertilizers for your Peacock Fern, organic options are highly recommended. Organic fertilizers are derived from natural sources and provide a slow-release of nutrients, ensuring a steady supply for the fern's growth. They also help improve soil quality and promote beneficial microbial activity in the tank.

To further assist you in selecting the right fertilizer for your Peacock Fern, here is a table highlighting some popular organic fertilizers and their nutrient content:

Fertilizer N-P-K Ratio Micronutrients
Fish emulsion 5-2-2 Iron, manganese, zinc, copper
Worm castings 1-0-0 Calcium, magnesium
Seaweed extract 0-0-1 Potassium, trace elements
Compost tea Varies Varies

Remember to follow the package instructions for application rates and frequency, as overfertilization can be harmful to Peacock Ferns. Regularly monitor the plant's health and adjust the fertilization regime accordingly.

Light Requirements

plant light requirements explained

Peacock Ferns have specific light requirements that are essential for their growth and overall well-being in a tank environment. Choosing the right lighting for peacock ferns is crucial to ensure their success. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Intensity: Peacock ferns thrive in moderate to low light conditions. Direct sunlight can cause their delicate fronds to burn, while insufficient light may lead to stunted growth.
  • Duration: Aim for a photoperiod of 10-12 hours per day to mimic their natural habitat. Using a timer can help maintain a consistent light schedule.

Common mistakes in providing light for peacock ferns include:

  • Excessive light: Overexposure to light can lead to algae growth and stress the ferns.
  • Insufficient light: Inadequate light can result in pale, leggy growth and poor overall health.


With a strong foundation in understanding the light requirements of peacock ferns, it is now important to explore the process of propagating these delicate plants.

There are two common methods for propagating peacock ferns: leaf division and rhizome propagation.

Leaf division involves separating the mature leaves of the fern into smaller sections, ensuring that each section has a portion of the rhizome attached. These sections can then be planted in a suitable substrate and kept in a humid environment until they establish roots.

Rhizome propagation, on the other hand, involves cutting a healthy rhizome into smaller pieces, each containing a bud or growing point. These rhizome sections can be planted directly into the substrate, where they will develop new shoots and roots.

Both methods require careful handling and attention to ensure successful propagation of peacock ferns.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should I Water My Peacock Fern?

The optimal watering frequency for a peacock fern depends on various factors such as humidity levels and pot size. Generally, it is recommended to keep the soil slightly moist but not waterlogged. Regularly check the moisture level and adjust watering accordingly.

Can Peacock Ferns Tolerate Low Light Conditions?

Peacock ferns thrive in moderate to bright light conditions, making them intolerant to low light settings. To ensure optimal care, provide the fern with ample lighting, such as placing it near a window or using artificial grow lights.

What Is the Ideal Temperature Range for Peacock Ferns?

The ideal temperature range for peacock ferns is between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. During winter, it is important to provide adequate warmth and humidity to ensure the plant's well-being. This can be achieved by placing a heat source near the tank and misting the leaves regularly.

How Long Does It Take for Peacock Ferns to Grow to Their Full Size?

Peacock ferns have a moderate growth rate and can take several months to reach their full size. To optimize growth, it is important to provide them with an optimal watering schedule, ensuring the soil remains consistently moist but not waterlogged.

Are Peacock Ferns Safe for Pets?

Peacock ferns are generally safe for pets, but it's important to note that some animals may have adverse reactions if consumed. To ensure pet safety, keep peacock ferns out of reach and consider incorporating other pet-friendly indoor plants in your home.


In conclusion, nurturing a Peacock Fern requires attention to specific tank requirements, water care, and maintenance techniques.

By providing the proper tank size, substrate, lighting, and fertilization, you can create an optimal environment for your Peacock Fern to thrive.

Additionally, understanding propagation methods and suitable tank mates will contribute to the overall health and longevity of the plant.

With this comprehensive guide, you are well-equipped to embark on a successful journey in nurturing your own stunning Peacock Fern.