Most houseplants just sit there. But the rose of Jericho has a life of its own, and taking care of this plant is also a fascinating experience. There is nothing quite like it, so if you want to add something truly remarkable to your plant collection, then this unusual moss is a must!
Table of Contents
The Benefits of Choosing a Rose of Jericho
- A very interesting plant to care for.
- Suitable for beginners.
- Looks great.
- Difficult to kill.
Origins and Appearance
The Rose of Jericho is originally from Western Asia. More specifically, the region’s arid desert areas. Believe it or not but this quirky plant is also part of the mustard family!
This plant is a “rose” in name only. Instead, it’s a type of moss that has evolved to survive years in a desert without rain. A mature plant is gray and roughly a foot wide (30 cm). When a dry spell hits, to save itself the Rose of Jericho will dry and curl into itself. Curiously, it ends up looking like a ball of tumbleweed. Similar to tumbleweed, it can roll along in the wind without dying. Once it rains, the plant anchors itself into the soil with new roots and then grows again.
Temperature and Humidity
All houseplants need the right temperature, amount of light, and humidity to stay healthy. We will look at each of these requirements, in turn, and discover which conditions will keep your desert rose in shipshape condition!
No Sudden Temperature Changes
The Rose of Jericho has a remarkable ability to survive in most temperatures, making it an ideal houseplant all over the world. But it prefers to stay within 41 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit (5 and 35 degrees Celsius). It can even survive frost when the change is gradual. Emphasis on “gradual.” Despite its ability to weather a wide range of temperatures, the moss cannot survive if the change is sudden.
Pro Tip: Make sure that your Rose of Jericho is not living near a window. If the window is drafty, the temperature can change rapidly and endanger the plant.
As a desert plant, it will happily soak up a couple of hours of direct sunlight every day. This is especially important if your rose is growing (and not curled up in a dry ball). About 4 hours a day is sufficient but don’t worry if your home does not have a lot of sunshine. This moss can thrive in bright, indirect sunlight as well.
Humidity is tricky for this plant. It prefers moist conditions and humidity levels that are above 50 percent. While that sounds simple enough, some people struggle to maintain the humidity levels. A good way to keep constant air moisture available is to place the plant on a tray filled with pebbles and water.
Top Tip: When humidity is high, there is always the risk of mold. Keep an eye on your rose to ensure that this troublesome condition doesn’t arise.
Watering and Feeding
The Rose of Jericho might be confusing to first-time owners. Especially when it comes to the plant’s watering schedule. It’s sitting in water instead of soil, so… what gives? How do you water this plant? Follow the tips below and your little Jericho is going to be just fine.
- Only use tap water that has been left out overnight (harmful chemicals evaporate this way).
- Only use room-temperature water.
- If possible, change the water daily.
- You can skip a day here and there, no biggie.
Pro Tip: Avoid overwatering. Every week, remove it from the water and give it a 24-hour break. You can also give your Jericho a week-long break every month. During breaks, keep the moss away from heat and sunlight.
The Rose of Jericho does not need fertilizer.
Potted Rose of Jericho Care
Some prefer to plant their rose in soil. The Rose of Jericho can and do flourish in soil, providing that the potting mix is rich, well-draining and high quality.
Provide light watering on a weekly basis. It is important not to overwater this plant or to allow the soil to become waterlogged. This can lead to all sorts of fungus and mold problems that might eventually kill the plant.
How to Revive a Rose of Jericho
Most people buy their Jericho Rose online. This is possible because sellers rely on the plant’s response to prolonged dryness (to roll up and basically hibernate in the box). In this condition, it can be shipped anywhere.
New owners must then “resurrect” the dry moss on their own. If this is your first time attempting to revive a Rose of Jericho, then no worries. Follow the following steps to gently awaken your new plant.
- Get a shallow dish with pebbles (pebbles are optional)
- Fill the dish with water that had been left out overnight.
- Place the roots in the water.
- The plant should revive itself within 4 or 5 hours.
Rose of Jericho plants are infamous for being hard to kill. But if your new Rose does not revive after a few hours, then it’s probably dead.
Get all the best tips on how to re-pot your house plants.
When to Prune Your Rose of Jericho
Under normal circumstances, a Rose of Jericho does not require regular pruning. The only reason to reach for those pruning scissors is to remove dead materials. The latter usually show up after the rose is revived and parts of the mossy plant fail to come back to life.
Pests and Diseases
The Rose of Jericho plant is relatively free of health problems. Most plant diseases hail from incorrect care or being exposed to other infected plants or tools – so make sure those pruning scissors are clean! But let’s look at a few hiccups that might crop up with these amazing moss balls.
Root rot – Mostly due to overwatering, by the time root rot takes hold, it can be very difficult to save the plant. The best course of action is prevention. Make sure that you give your Rose less water rather than more. After all, it has evolved to survive desert conditions!
Mold – Mold is another devastating problem that can quickly get out of hand. If the problem is light, then prune away the affected areas. The main cause is too much humidity but even more important, the plant needs more air circulation. Ensure that your Rose of Jericho receives enough circulation from the start.
Snails and slugs – When you keep your rose outdoors, then these slimy creatures might take a bite out of your plant. If your garden is filled with snails, it might be best to move the plant indoors.
There seems to be no definite answer to this one. However, the Rose of Jericho is a type of spike moss and those are potentially dangerous to cats. For this reason, keep your moss away from animals, children and vulnerable adults.
Yes, you can propagate this wonderful plant at home. Simply take a few cuttings from healthy, new growth and place them on soil or gravel. Add water to start the growing process. Cuttings can be taken at any time of the year.
Amazingly, a dried Rose of Jericho can continue to stay alive and dormant for years. There is a caveat. In order to survive for a long period of time, the plant must be kept in a dark place with sufficient air circulation.
Yes, once it is fully hydrated, this plant will produce beautiful blooms. The flowers are small, white and petite.
Unsurprisingly, due to its ability to come back from the “dead” the Rose of Jericho stands for renewal, transformation, and prosperity.
It’s pretty normal for your Rose of Jericho to smell a little musty, especially when it’s dried out. However, this plant should never smell bad. When a funky odor appears, it could be the result of mold or rot due to overwatering.