Why Is My Dinosaur Plant Dying? Tips for Rescuing Your Dying Selaginella Lepidophylla Plant

The dinosaur plant is easily one of the coolest plants on earth. It will appear fully dried up and dead then come right back with just a little water.

A native to the Mexican desert, these plants have also been called wolf’s foot and the resurrection plant, this lovely little cousin to the fern is hardy, resilient, and so easy to love.

So, if you think your dinosaur plant is dying, rest assured it will likely be a very easy rescue.

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A Dinosaur Plant Is a Great Choice for Your Home or Office

A Dinosaur Plant Is a Great Choice for Your Home or Office

Drought-tolerant, resistant to most pests and disease, and eager for moderate to high levels of humidity, the dino plant is perfect for pretty much any warm, moist space in your home or office.

Growing up to 3 feet tall and out to 3 feet wide, this fern-like plant will curl up or spread out depending on its conditions. Place it in a large, wide clear glass bowl with plenty of pretty pebbles on the bottom and water covering the pebbles, and you will find it a lovely companion on your desk, on a bedside table, or on a side table near the window.

Signs of a Dying Dinosaur Plant

The most obvious signs of a dying dinosaur plant are as follows:

  • Mushy leaves
  • Soggy soil
  • Tightly wrapped, cramped roots
  • Moldy, white film

Common Causes of a Dying Dinosaur Plant

The most common causes of a dying dinosaur plant include:

  • Too much sun
  • Not enough sun
  • Too much water
  • Not enough water
  • Pest infestation
  • Not enough humidity

Watering Needs of a Dinosaur Plant

The dinosaur plant needs to be submerged in water with the tops of the plant peeking out of the top of the water for a few weeks. Then, you can empty the water from the bowl and allow the plant to dry out.

As the leaves start to turn brown and curl up, you’ll know it’s time to add water to the bowl again. Stay in this routine, and your plant will be fine.

To read more about watering your plant, look at this article on watering mistakes that might be killing your plant.

Am I Underwatering My Dinosaur Plant?

You can tell if your dinosaur plant has been underwatered if the leaves lose most of their green and curl almost completely up and into themselves.

Restoring Water to Your Underwatered Dinosaur Plant

If you notice this browning and curling up happening, you can submerge the plant in water again, with just the tops peeking out, and watch it come back to life. Allow it to sit like this for a few weeks then get back to the routine.

Am I Overwatering My Dinosaur Plant?

You’ll know your dinosaur plant is overwatered if the leaves start to get mushy.

Restoring Balance to Your Overwatered Dinosaur Plant

In the event the dinosaur plant has been overwatered, simply remove all the water from the bowl and place it near a bright window with plenty of humidity in the room and allow the plant to dry out fully to the point it is browning and curling up before adding water to the bowl.

Soil Needs of a Dinosaur Plant

You don’t need soil for your dinosaur plant, ever. But if you do plant it in the ground outside, make sure it’s in an environment that gets plenty of sunlight and humidity.

Soil Drainage Needs for a Dinosaur Plant

You only need to drain the water from the bowl once the plant has become completely green. Then you can allow it to dry out again.

Resolving Soil Drainage Issues for a Dinosaur Plant

If you find you have a drainage issue with your plant, you can remove some water from the bottom of the bowl or add more pebbles, so the plant does not sit in so much water.

Lighting Needs of a Dinosaur Plant

Because it is a ground plant, you’ll want to ensure it gets plenty of bright, indirect sunlight in whichever room you place it in.

Resolving Lighting Issues for a Dinosaur Plant

It may take some time to figure out the exact right lighting for your dinosaur plant. Really, it will be a matter of moving it closer to and farther away from the sunlight near your windows. You might also want to move it to different rooms to catch different angles of the sun.

Pests or Diseases that Can Cause Issues with a Dinosaur Plant

The dinosaur plant tends to attract whiteflies and spiders indoors, so watch closely for these. If necessary, you can spray with neem oil and wipe bugs away.

In terms of disease, watch for a white film that may cover the stems of your dinosaur plant. This fungus can kill your plant if you’re not careful. Treat it with a fungicide or apply baking soda to the stems then be sure to clear the baking soda away with fresh water.

Fake Dinosaur Plants May Be an Additional Consideration

Fake Dinosaur Plants May Be an Additional Consideration

In the end, you might find the dinosaur plant requires too much work and energy. Or you might not be able to achieve the right levels of humidity in your home or office.

In this case, you can always invest in a high-quality artificial dinosaur plant. Simply place it in a wide, deep bowl with pebbles without water. And just like that, you’ll have a beautiful resurrection plant in your home or office.

If you’re worried a fake dinosaur plant is not trendy, check out my article on whether artificial plants and flowers are tacky.

Whether you decide to work with a live plant or invest in a fake one, you can’t go wrong with a dinosaur plant. It’s a wonderful addition to your space.

How do you feel about your dinosaur plant? What do you do to keep yours alive and well? Let me know in the comments. I love to hear from my readers.

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