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Asplenium scolopendrium

Common name: Hart’s Tongue Fern

Family: Aspleniaceae

Synonymous: Phyllitis scolopendrium
Scolopendrium vulgare
Asplenium altajense
Phyllitis japonica

Asplenium scolopendrium

Asplenium scolopendrium

Distribution and habitat: Asplenium scolopendrium is an evergreen fern widely distributed in central and southern Europe, eastern Iran, northwestern Africa, Korea, Japan, Sakhalin and scattered populations appear in eastern North America. It occurs at sites on or near dolomite (magnesium-rich limestone) that remain consistently moist year-round such as sinkholes, cave entrances, wooded limestone ravines and talus slopes and steep north-facing slopes with rich, moist soil. Within these sites, it is typically found in microhabitats such as moist crevices, moss mats, depressions, spray zones and shady cliff margins.
The common name is in reference to the supposed resemblance of the frond shape to a deer’s tongue.

Description: Asplenium scolopendrium is commonly grown as indoor plant. Tufts of fronds unfurl from an upright, branching rhizome that lies partly above, partly below the surface of the soil. The rhizome which is covered with light brown, furry scales, is usually hidden by the fronds stalks.
Depending on their age and growing conditions, the stalks are from 2 to 25cm (0.8-10 inch) long and their colour is usually black at the base shading to green at the point where they became the midrib of the bade. Frond blades are strap-like, pointed at the tip, lobed at the base and medium green in colour. In the wild each blade can grow 50cm (20 inch) long and 13cm (5 inch) wide, but in potted plants they are seldom more than half that size. The fronds grow erect at first, but arch over as they lengthen. Spore cases grow in a herringbone pattern on the beck of the most of them. The edges of blades can be undulate and sometimes frilled and the tip of each blade can be either pointed or crested like a cockscomb. These differently shaped blades can all be present at one time on the same plant. In fact, it is this characteristic of Asplenium scolopendrium that chiefly appeals to many indoor gardeners.
Asplenium scolopendrium is often grown as an ornamental plant, with several cultivars selected with varying frond form, including with frilled frond margins, forked fronds and cristate forms.

Houseplant care: Asplenium scolopendrium grow actively throughout the year under ideal condition. Growth slows down, however, during the short-day winter months.

Light: Medium light is best for these ferns throughout the year. They should never be subjected to direct sunlight which will scorch the fronds.

Temperature: Asplenium scolopendrium grows well in normal room temperatures and can also tolerate temperatures down to 10°C (50°F). These ferns need high humidity in warm positions. When the temperature rises above 18°C (64°F), stand the ferns on trays of damp pebbles.

Watering: Water moderately, giving enough at each watering to make the potting mixture moist throughout but allowing the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the potting mixture to dry out before watering again. If room temperature is allowed to fall below 13°C (55°F) for more than two or three days at a time, water more sparingly during this cool period, allowing a full half of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings.

Feeding: Use half-strength standard liquid fertiliser. Frequency of feeding depends on the type of potting mixture. For plants that are potted in soil-based potting mixture monthly feedings should be adequate. For those ferns grown in peat-based potting mixture apply fertiliser once every two weeks.

Potting and repotting: Either use a peat-based potting mixture or one composed of half soil-based mixture, half leaf mould.
If peat based potting mixture is used, add a tablespoon of lime chips to each cupful of mixture in order to neutralise the acidity of the peat. Repotting is necessary only when roots fill the pot. When this happens, carefully move the ferns into pots one size larger. This is best done in spring.
After maximum convenient pot size – probably 15-20cm (6-8 inch) – has been reached, use these ferns for propagation or carefully cut away about one-third of the root ball and replace plants in the same pot size, adding fresh potting mixture at the same time. When repotting, always plant rhizomes vertically with half of each rhizome below and half above the surface or the potting mixture.

Gardening: Once planted, Asplenium scolopendrium fern grows slowly and needs little attention apart tidying in spring. Tatty or damaged fronds can be removed in early spring as or just before the new growth emerges. Removing the old fronds prevent disease and limits lasting damage and the ferns will look tidy.

Position: Asplenium scolopendrium need a cool shady place to thrive. Plant these ferns in part shade to full shade. If grown in full sun, the ferns are yellow and stunted, while the ferns that grow under the shade are luxuriant and dark green. In alpine areas, plant them in a sheltered location where they are exposed to sun rays only during the coolest hours of the day.

Soil: Asplenium scolopendrium thrives in humusy, limestone soils. It needs superior soil drainage to avoid root rot. The ideal growing conditions are a slightly alkaline well-drained but moist soil that has lots of leaf mould incorporated.
In wild these ferns can be found growing with their roots in very small amounts of soil founded between rocks and crevices. This kind of environment can be replicated in the garden but ferns grown in poor conditions will be small.
It is recommended to mulch annually around the plants with compost to keep the soil moisture even.

Irrigation: Water Asplenium scolopendrium ferns regularly during the growing season and keep them on the dry side during the cold winter months. Keep these ferns in medium moisture without overwatering. Do not allow the soil to dry out until the ferns have become established otherwise the tips will dry out. Once established, they becomes more tolerant of dry soil.
Avoid watering fronds by watering straight to the roots whenever possible, not on the crown. Also watering in the morning allow ferns to dry their frond before the cold night. These precautions help to avoid crown rot.

Fertilising: Asplenium scolopendrium planted in the ground, like a spring dressing of blood and bone or cow manure as well as a regular liquid fertiliser at half strength in the summer months.

Propagation: Propagate old Asplenium scolopendrium ferns in spring by cutting off small branched of the main rhizome. Make sure that each cutting bears a tuft of fronds. Plant cuttings individually in 8cm (3 inch) pot of one of the recommended potting mixtures, only half-burring each cutting. Place the potted cuttings in medium light at normal room temperatures and make the potting mixture barely moist throughout until new growth develops. Thereafter, it is possible to treat the new ferns as mature Asplenium scolopendrium ferns.
These ferns may also be propagated from spores at any time of the year, best sown as soon as they are ripe on the surface of a humus-rich sterilized soil. Keep the compost moist, preferably by putting a plastic bag over the pot. The spores usually germinate in the spring. Spring sown spores germinate in 1 – 3 months at 15°C (59°F). Pot on small clumps of plantlets as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse. Keep the plants humid until they are well established. Once the plants are 15cm (6 inch) or more tall, plant them out into their permanent positions in the spring.

Problems:
Root rot can be a problem in poorly drained soils. Also crown rot may appear when the crown is wet in cold conditions.
Treatment: Apply a suitable systemic fungicide and clear all debris away from the crown to facilitate good air circulation.

Greenfly and blackfly are rare in the garden; they are more likely to occur on ferns grown indoors or in greenhouse. Capsids are graze the frond creating tiny white blotches at random.
Treatment: Apply a suitable insecticide as indicated on the label. To avoid scorching, spray in evening when there is no risk of the sun burning the damp fronds.

Slugs and snails are sometimes attracted to the thicker textured fronds of Asplenium scolopendrium ferns.
Treatment: Use a snail and slugs pesticide to prevent and control them.

Vine weevil grubs are a common pest, their grubs eating any part of the ferns, usually starting with the roots and moving to the leaf base. Vine weevil is common in gardens, but rarely cause any problems outdoors; it is with pot grown plants the real damage done.
Treatment: Pick up and destroy adults. Plants with badly damaged roots cannot usually be saved. Immediately on sighting an adult weevil, drench the potting mixture with a suitable pesticide.

Typically eelworm damage is seen as dead patches of fronds confined by larger veins.
Treatment: Control is just about impossible. It is best to remove fronds suspected of being infected as soon as possible. The problem is most likely to occur in damp, humid conditions.

Recommended varieties:
Asplenium scolopendrium with frond blade margins or tips that are non-variable in shape.

Asplenium scolopendrium ‘Capitatum’ has fronds blades with undulating edges and heavily crested tips.

Asplenium scolopendrium ‘Crispum’ has deeply indented and greatly undulating or frilled edges (like an Elizabethan ruff) with simple pointed tip.

Asplenium scolopendrium ‘Crispum cristatum’ has frond blades with crested tips as well as very frilled edges.

Note: Asplenium scolopendrium has been placed in a segregate genus Phyllitis. Asplenium scolopendrium forms hybrids with other Asplenium species, including those species sometimes classified in the separate genus Camptosorus, which is one reason that both Phyllitis and Camptosorus species are now generally included in Asplenium. On the other hand, a recent phylogenetic study of the Aspleniaceae family suggests that Asplenium scolopendrium is only distantly related to other Asplenium species and that the genus Phyllitis should again be recognized.

Companion plants: The tall vertical straps of the Asplenium scolopendrium fern are perfect partners for the rounded foliage of the small-leaved Hosta species. Wide clumps of the Asplenium scolopendrium look particularly good underplanted with the variegated foliage of Hosta ‘Ginko Craig’. Ferns grow well together and those with more delicate foliage associate successfully with the leathery fronds of Asplenium scolopendrium.

Uses and display: Asplenium scolopendrium fern grows wild in shaded areas, often forming large drifts under trees amongst rocks and streams where its upright pointed tongues contrast strikingly with the softer shapes of damp-loving wild flowers. In gardens, these evergreen ferns are good for shaded wild gardens and are also invaluable for year-round interest amongst shrubs or other shade and moisture-loving perennials. In decorative groupings the unusual shape of these ferns, along with their fresh colouring, makes an interesting contrast with flowering plants.
It makes a good selection for shady areas of limestone rock gardens, alpine and shade gardens or for edging in a moist woodland garden. It is also valuable for adding vertical interest towards the front of a partially shaded border or for underplanting established trees and shrubs.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – bushy
Height: 30-40cm (12-16 inch)
Spread 30-45cm (12-18 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – medium
Temperature in active growth period – min 10°C max 13°C (50-55°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 13°C max 24°C (55-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 5a-9b

Asplenium scolopendrium Asplenium scolopendrium CrispumAsplenium scolopendrium Asplenium scolopendrium - fronds variation



Evergreen, Ferns, Foliage Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , , , ,

Blechnum gibbum

Common name: Silver Lady, Silver Lady Fern, Dwarf Tree Fern

Family: Blechnaceae

Synonymous: Lomaria gibbum
Lomaria gibba

Blechnum gibbum

Blechnum gibbum

Distribution and habitat: Blechnum gibbum is a species of the genus Blechnum along with another 200 species, belonging to the Blechnaceae family. It is a small tree fern, 90-120cm (36-48 inch) high, from tropical and subtropical climates. Native to Fiji, New Caledonia and the Pacific Islands, Blechnum gibbum is growing as an under story plant in forested areas where thrive in filtered light and high humidity in moist fertile soils.

Description: Blechnum gibbum is a neat, symmetrical rosette of fronds up to 90cm (36 inch) long and 30cm (12 inch) wide, which eventually crowns a scaly, black trunk up to 90cm (36 inch) tall. The many leaflets of each frond are shiny green and slightly drooping. There are several forms distinguished by having either narrower, wider or more pointed leaflets.
Unlike other tree ferns this dwarf variety is reasonably fast growing and the fronds will spread to over 1m (3 feet) in good conditions.
Blechnum gibbum have both sterile and spore bearing fronds.

Houseplant care: Blechnum gibbum is widely circulated as a houseplant.

Light: Bright light, but without any direct strong direct sunlight is most suitable for Blechnum gibbum ferns.

Temperature: These Blechnum gibbum ferns grow vigorously in warm – not hot- rooms. Tough tolerant of dry air, the plants should be given as much humidity as possible during the active growth period from mid-spring to late fall. Stand pots on trays of moist pebbles throughout the warmer months. With the resultant adequate humidity, they will tolerate temperatures slightly above 24°C (73°F). Lower temperatures are better in winter, though. Around 15°C (59°F) is ideal, but these ferns can even stand 10°C (50°F) if kept fairly dry.

Watering: Water actively growing ferns plentifully, as often as necessary to keep the mixture thoroughly moist, but never allow the pot to stand in water. If the temperature falls below 12°C (54°F) water moderately, allowing the top 1cm of the mixture to dry out between waterings.
This fern prefers rainwater because it has an intolerance of lime.

Feeding: One or two applications of half-strength liquid fertiliser during the active growth period will suffice.

Potting and repotting: Use equal parts of soil based potting mixture and leaf mould. Move plants into pots one size larger only when roots begin to appear on the surface of the potting mixture – about once every two years.
Maximum pot size recommended for these small tree ferns is around 40cm (16 inch). After that top dress this fern with fresh potting mixture.

Gardening: Blechnum gibbum ferns grow in a wide range of climates from temperate to sub-tropical locations, however this fern needs reasonable ventilation. It is not frost tolerate, although it has been reported to survive temperatures down to -4°C (25°F) and can re-grow if frozen. All fronds eventually blackened but new growth will emerge early in spring.
Its popularity can be attributed to its fast growth, perfect symmetry, attractive broad fronds and its ability to beautify the difficult dark parts of the garden. It is generally quite easy to grow.
Remove old, browning fronds by trimming off at their base. In time, this reveals a narrow trunk, reminiscent of this feature of larger tree ferns.

Position: Plant Blechnum gibbum fern in shady area of the garden where nothing seems to grow very well. This fern is probably at its best when multi-planted adding a cooling, yet tropical, feel to the garden. It will thrive placed by a stream edge which will provide it with added air humidity.
Blechnum gibbum can also be used to add an exotic effect in a patio tub or as a house plant in a bright location out of direct sun.

Soil: Blechnum gibbum will perform best in moist, free-draining, compost-enriched and slightly acidic soil. It has a reputation for being sensitive to transplanting.
Mulching is recommended to keep the roots cool and moist.

Irrigation: Keep the soil moist throughout the year for Blechnum gibbum. This may mean a weekly watering in winter and increase the frequency in warmer months. It is recommended to use drippers, rather than overhead watering, so the foliage avoids staying wet for long periods.
Containerised plants should generally be watered more frequently than in-ground plants. Water when the top layer of potting mix appears dry. Try not to over-water Blechnum gibbum fern as this may cause root rot.

Fertiliser: Feed Blechnum gibbum ferns with a controlled release fertiliser in early spring. Alternatively, can be either replaced or supplemented this application by liquid feedings on a more regular basis during the warmer months.

Propagation: Commercially, Blechnum gibbum are grown from spores which can take between one and three months to germinate. Occasionally, these ferns produce basal offsets which can be detached from the parents, potted up and treated as mature ferns.

Problems: If overwatered fronds will quickly turn brown and the Blechnum gibbum fern is unlikely to recover without immediate action.

Bronze fronds are not a feature. This can be caused by a lack of ventilation and over watering.

Blechnum gibbum is not overly prone to pest or disease attack however it is possible to see the effects of aphids, caterpillars, slugs, scale or mealybugs.
Treatment: Use appropriate insecticides and follow the instruction on the label.

Note: The root systems of Blechnum gibbum are often used to produce a substrate for growing orchids.

Uses and display: Plant enough of Blechnum gibbum close together and they will make an interesting under tree groundcover. It can be grown in pots also and makes a wonderful focal plant. This fern looks great when used in large pots for display around patio or planted in shaded moist areas in the garden, included in a tropical planting or shown off to great advantage in a courtyard in a decorative pot. It has become popular choices for gardens to add a large, finely textured green presence in their landscape.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – rosette
Height – 90-120cm (36-48 inch)
Wide – 60-90cm (24-36 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – moderately
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bight filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 16°C (50-61°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 18°C max 27°C (64-81°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 9b-11

Blechnum gibbumBlechnum gibbumBlechnum gibbumBlechnum gibbumBlechnum gibbumBlechnum gibbum



Ferns, Foliage Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , ,

Platycerium grande

Common name: Staghorn Fern

Family: Polypodiaceae

 

Platycerium grande

Platycerium grande

Distribution and habitat: Platycerium grande is coming from the Philippines where in growing on tree branches near cultivated plants. Apparently Platycerium grande did escape from cultivation in the early stages of becoming established in the wild. It grows on both trees and rocks, usually in rainforest.
This ferns are epiphytes, using trees for support only; they do not obtain nourishment or water from the host tree as would a parasite plant do. Photosynthesis takes place in the green fronds just like any ordinary plant leaf. But the overlapping brown fronds near the base of this fern serve to trap falling debris such as dead insects and pieces of plant material; this is where the fern gets its minerals and other nutrients that most plants would get through their roots from the soil.

Description: Platycerium grande is an epiphytic fern (a fern that grows on the branches of tree canopies or on fallen logs). It is a large fern that produces enormous sterile fronds, like a large battle shield, with forks off of the top edge. The fertile fronds up to 2m (6 feet) length, have two lobes with long fingers hanging down off of their lower edge. In between those two lobes, on the underside of the frond is a large spore patch. Each fertile frond also has a second spore patch located on the lower side of a large triangular lobe.

Platycerium grande is very similar with Platycerium superbum. Platycerium grande can be identified from other Platycerium species by having two spore patches, no frills around the growth bud and having thin papery sterile fronds.

Houseplant care: Platycerium grande ferns are best suited to greenhouse cultivation, but can be grown in the home if water is supplied regularly. Platycerium grande is advisable to be mounted on a sphagnum covered wood plaque. This fern does not do well growing on a hanging basket.

Clean the fronds of Platycerium grande by leaving them in gentle rain in mild weather or by mist-spraying them; Wiping them with a soft cloth or sponge is not a good idea as it will remove the attractive felty scurf. Do not allow water to remain on the fronds.

Light: In nature, Platycerium grande usually grow high up in the branches of the trees; thus, they strive in bright light. Strong direct sunlight, however, will rob the fronds of much of their colour and may cause unsightly markings.
Keep them in bright light without direct exposure to sun. If only artificial light is available, they should have at least 4300 lux (400 foot-candles).

Temperature: Platycerium grande like temperatures up to 24°C (75°F) as long as humidity is kept high. These plants should be mist sprayed once a day when they are grown in warm rooms. An ideal summer temperature is about 21°C (70°F) with a minimum winter temperature of 13°C (50°F). Airy, well ventilated situation suit these plants best.

Water: During the spring and summer give to Platycerium grande enough water at every watering to make the potting mixture thoroughly moist, but allow the potting mixture to dry out almost completely before watering again. During the rest period water these ferns much more sparingly than in the growing period, giving only enough water to make the mixture barely moist throughout.

Because the ‘shield’ frond often covers the surface, it may be virtually impossible to water some potted Platycerium bifurcatum from above. The way to solve this problem is to submerge the root portion in a large container of water until it is soaked. During the active growth period leave the plant in water for 15 minutes or so at each watering. During the rest period leave the plant in the water for no more then one or two minutes at a time. Whatever the plant is growing actively or resting, do not soak it again until it is obviously in need of water, which will be indicated by abnormally droopy fronds or by an evident loos of weight of the plant.

Feed: Feeding is rarely necessary, but mature plants – especially those growing on bark – should have two or three applications of standard liquid fertiliser during the period of active growth. For a satisfactory feeding, the bark section that carries the roots should be immersed for a few minutes in the fertiliser solution until it is thoroughly soaked.

Potting and repotting: Platycerium grande plants are often sold growing on a piece of tree fern or bark. When the sterile fronds of such plants have almost covered their backing, fasten the fern onto larger piece of material, either tying or carefully nailing the two together.
To fasten a plant initially to bark wrap the small, spongy root mass in an equal parts mixture of very coarse peat moss and sphagnum moss and tie this bundle securely to the backing with some strong cotton – not nylon – thread. Keep both bark and root mass moist until the roots (which are sparse) and the sterile fronds have adhered to the support.

Alternatively, plant the fern in a wooden, slatted hanging basket (similar to those used for orchids) which is filled with same mixture of peat and sphagnum moss. When established, the plant will gasp the slats firmly.

Platycerium grande can be grown in pots only when very small, since they wrap their supportive fronds around the pot, which must be broken to sever their hold. It is extremely difficult to move them into larger containers.

Gardening: Platycerium grande prefers to be mounted on a sphagnum covered wood plaque. This fern does not do well growing on a hanging basket.
Platycerium grande prefers temperatures to be above 15°C (60°F). It will survive short periods of colder temperatures. Damage will begin to occur below 4°C (40°F).

Light: Platycerium grande ferns do best in bright light, but not direct sun. It will thrive suspended in the filtered light beneath a canopy of trees.

Water: Water regularly, but don’t keep it too wet. The entire Platycerium grande fern and the organic material to which it is attached should be dunked once a week in a dilute solution of fertilizer and rainwater. This species likes high humidity. It will thrive when the fronds are misted daily, but they can do without. Rainwater is best, but soft water can be used.

Fertilise: Feed Platycerium grande with diluted liquid fertiliser once a month during the spring and summer.

Propagation: Nonclumping species such as Platycerium grande can only be propagated from spores and this can be quite a difficult undertaking.

Problems: Scale and mealy bug, sometimes attack Platycerium grande.
Treatment: Use an adequate insecticide.

May be confused with: Platycerium holttumii, Platycerium superbum and Platycerium wandae
When immature, Platycerium grande, Platycerium holttumii, Platycerium superbum and Platycerium wandae will look more or less identical to one another. The adults, however, differ from each other in for key aspects: only Platycerium superbum has only one spore patch, the other three species have two spore patches, only Platycerium wandae frills around growth bud and only Platycerium holttumii has thick and spongy sterile fronds.

Uses and display: Platycerium grande are grown on a moisture retentive medium such as tree bark, osmunda fern root or sphagnum moss, usually in hanging containers or mounted on wall planters. In frost free climates they can be attached to trees or they are often grown in containers suspended beneath a large tree. Platycerium grande ferns are best suited to greenhouse cultivation, but can be grown in the home if water is supplied regularly. Platycerium grande ferns can grow to enormous size, even with little care and a large specimen is truly impressive.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – climbing
Height: 60-90 cm (24-36 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 13°C max 18°C (55-64°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 18°C max 24°C (64-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 9 – 11



Evergreen, Ferns, Platycerium ,

Nephrolepis exaltata

Common name: Sword Fern, Wild Boston Fern, Tuber Ladder Fern, Fishbone Fern, Boston Fern

Family: Lomariopsidaceae

Nephrolepis exaltata

Nephrolepis exaltata

Distribution and habitat: Nephrolepis exaltata ferns grow in jungles in Central and South America where they are shaded by the jungle canopy but receive moisture on a regular basis. Within Nephrolepis exaltata genus there are many varieties, some of them quite small and compact, others quite large. These evergreen terrestrial or epiphytic ferns have short rhizomes and usually wiry spreading runners. It is considered as being a serious invasive plant, forming dense monocultures.

Description: Nephrolepis exaltata has 50–250cm (20-98 inch) long and 6–15cm (2-6 inch) broad in tufted clusters arising from underground rhizomes.  The individual pinnae (leflets) are as much as 2 to 8cm (1-3 inch) long and shallowly toothed, but not further divided. The pinnate vein pattern is also visible on these highly compound leaves. The round sori (clusters of spore-bearing organs) are in two rows near the margins on the underside of the pinnae.
The fronds grow upright at first, then arch gracefully downwards. They grow in lovely arching rosette shaped and spread by runners.

Houseplant care: Nephrolepis exaltata is one of the easiest of the ferns to grow indoors. These ferns need pliantly of space to develop their long fronds. Rotate the plant from time to time to ensure symmetrical growth, but as far as possible leave it undisturbed.

Nephrolepis exaltata ferns do not tolerate dry air. They need high level of humidity provided by regular misting and trays of moist pebbles placed under their pots. Use trepid soft water if possible. Once a week, apply a gentle shower  with trepid water. Leave them in bath to drain before returning them to their usual place.

In some of the extremely feathery forms of Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis some of the fronds of the plant occasionally revers to the original species. Cut out any long, insufficiently segmented fronds as soon as they appear. If permitted to survive, they will take over the plant.

Light: Provide to Nephrolepis exaltata bright light without direct sunlight. If necessary these ferns can tolerate medium light for periods up to four or five weeks.
A good place for Nephrolepis exaltata is in front of an east-facing window or several feet from a west or south facing window.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are suitable throughout the year. Minimum tolerable temperature is 10°C (50°F). For Nephrolepis exaltata grown at temperatures above 21°C (70°F) increase humidity by standing the pot on a tray of damp pebbles and mist-spraying the foliage daily.

Nephrolepis exaltata may appear totally dead due to frost, it will re-emerge in the spring.

Watering: In summer Nephrolepis exaltata will need lots of water and frequent misting. As long as room temperatures remains above 13°C (55°F), water the plant plentifully as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist. Do not allow the potting mixture to dry out. In winter this fern will need less water.  If the temperature drops below 13°C (55°F) for more than a day or two, allow the top third of the potting mixture to dry out completely between waterings.
Water hanging baskets ferns by plunging in a bath or bucket of water, to cover the soil surface. Let it to absorb water for 15-30 minute.

Fertilising: Apply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks to Nephrolepis exaltata actively growing in peat-based potting mixture. Feed actively growing plants that are in soil based mixture about once every four weeks.

Potting and repotting: Use either a standard peat-based potting mixture or a combination of half soil based mixture and half leaf mould. When the roots of Nephrolepis exaltata have filled its current pot, repot in the spring, moving the plant into a pot only one size larger. After maximum convenient pot size has been reached, remove the plant from its pot every spring, carefully trim away some of the outer roots and replace the plant in the same pot, which has been thoroughly cleaned. Add fresh mixture as required.

Gardening: Nephrolepis exaltata requires little maintenance, except to keep it in check from spreading too far and too fast, which it does by way of its underground rhizomes.
Nephrolepis exaltata is killed to the ground by frost but will re-emerge in spring.

Location: Nephrolepis exaltata are easily grown in mild areas in part shade or full shade. Plant them in bright indirect light with no direct sun.

Soil: Nephrolepis exaltata grows well in humus-rich soil. Good drainage is mandatory. Amend heavy clay or sandy soils with organic matter.

Irrigation: Follow a regular watering schedule as these ferns need moist soil and steady high humidity. Water them slowly and deeply, allowing the substrate to dry slightly between waterings. It is best to water early in the day to allow the fronds plenty of time to dry before night time.
Ferns need to be kept consistently moist at all times. They do not however want to be soggy or water logged.
Nephrolepis exaltata is the most drought tolerant of the commonly cultivated ferns, but it thrives only under conditions of high humidity.
Mulches them to help reduce water evaporation in hot or dry weather.

Fertilising: Nephrolepis exaltata thrives best when are added 5-8cm (2-3 inch) of compost or peat moss to the beds each spring or fall. This treatment should suffice and no additional fertilising is require.
Adding controlled release fertiliser on the soil surface should be done at low rates, as recommended on label. Ferns are sensitive to high salt levels, so moderation should be considerate when decide to fertilise them.

Propagation: Nephrolepis exaltata plant is usually propagated by division of the rooted runners, as named cultivars will not produce true spores. Propagate whanever desirable by potting up a new plantlet taken from any point where the tip of a runner has rooted down. Use a sharp knife to cut through the runner about 5cm (2 inch) from the tip, thus releasing the rooted plantlet. Plant it in a 8cm (3 inch) pot of the preferred potting mixture for adult plants and treat it in the same way as a mature specimen.

Problems:
Nephrolepis exaltata will shed fronds if potting mixture dry out, at which point all fronds may be cut back to about 5cm (2 inch) to regenerate.

Pythium or Phytophthora: Symptoms include stunting, wilting, and graying or yellowing of the foliage. More likely to occur in cool, dark weather and cool, wet media.
Treatment: Fungicides remain an important method to control losses due to Phytophthora and Pythium spp.

Rhizoctonia: Aerial blight that occurs mostly in the summer. Symptoms include brown irregular lesions commonly in the crown of the plant.
Treatment: Apply adequate fungicides. Be certain the Nephrolepis spp. to be treated is listed on the fungicide label.

Oval or round brown spots indicate fern scale.
Treatment: It the attack is mild remove the insects with a cotton swab dipped in diluted methylated spirits. Combat major attacks with a suitable insecticide. Care should be taken as some of these insecticides are not suitable for ferns.

Grey, pale or crumpled fronds indicate an attack of red spider mites.
Treatment: Submerge the whole plant in a bath of trepid water for 10 minutes. Drain well, keep evenly moist and mist to keep humidity high. Place the plant in good light. Mites are only comfortable in hot dry surroundings, so will perish if these conditions do not exist.

Small white insects on fronds occur if the plant is host to mealy bugs.
Treatment: Mild attacks can be dealt with using   cotton tipped swabs dipped in diluted methylated spirits. Combat severe attacks with careful use of a suitable insecticide. Follow the label instruction for use.

Lifespan: Give to Nephrolepis exaltata good light and adequate humidity and it will grow for many years.

Availability: Nephrolepis exaltata are available all year from garden centres and nurseries.  Buy fresh green looking plants of a reasonable size.

Note: Nephrolepis exaltata is classified as an invasive alien plant in South Africa. In some provinces it must, by law, be eradicated. In others, a permit is required to import, possess, grow, breed, move, sell, buy or accept one as a gift.

Recommended varieties: Nephrolepis exaltata cv. Bostoniensis has gracefully arching  wavy or curly fronds. It is one of the oldest and probably the most popular variety.

Uses and Display: A mature Nephrolepis exaltata, with its cascading mass of fronds will look impressive in any settings. Stand it on a medium height cane table to create a nostalgic hint of the Victorian era when ferns were more popular than today. Also Nephrolepis exaltata are ideal plants for hanging baskets. But remember that hanging baskets tend to dry quickly, so check the potting mixture to not dry out. Many prefer to keep the ferns in bathrooms, but only do this is the light is bright.
Small plants will fit onto windowsills but larger ones will need more space and should be place a little further into room.
It is used as a specimen or accent plant in large containers. Hanging baskets are often filled with this fern.

Nephrolepis exaltata is a perennial hardy plant used in warm climate zones as erosion control plant, ground cover, massing or woodland garden. It is used in landscape along walks, in front of taller growing shrubs and as a ground cover under trees.

Nephrolepis exaltata is acting as a natural air humidifier, removes formaldahyde and is a general air purifier. It said to be among the best in air purifying houseplants.
On the other hand, these ferns are known to be non-toxic, so it is safe to grow them around kids and pets.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – upright
Height: 60-90cm (24-36 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – moderately
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 13°C (50-55°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 13°C max 24°C (55-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zones: 9-11

Nephrolepis exaltata Nephrolepis exaltata Nephrolepis exaltata varieties



Evergreen, Ferns, Foliage Plants, Garden Plants, Ground cover, Indoor Plants, Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants , , , , ,

Cyrtomium falcatum

Common name: Japanese Holly Fern, Holly Fern, House Holly Fern, Japanese Netvein Hollyfern

Family: Dryopteridaceae

Synonymous: Polypodium falcatum
Aspidium falcatum
Dryopteris falcata
Polystichum falcatum
Phanerophlebia falcata
Cyrtomium yiangshanense

Cyrtomium falcatum

Cyrtomium falcatum

Distribution and habitat: Cyrtomium falcatum is a species of fern native to eastern Asia. It grows from crevices, coastal cliffs, stream banks, rocky slopes, and other moist, stable areas.
This species was naturalised in Australia, Lord Howe Island, North America and Hawaii.

Description: Cyrtomium falcatum became a popular indoor plant, being very decorative, long lasting fern with leaflets that look more like holly leaves than like the division of fronds. It is an evergreen fern. The base of the plant is a rhizome thickly covered with very furry scurf which also covers most of the 10-15cm long leafstalks that rise from the rhizomes. Borne on these short stalks are leathery fronds up to 60cm (24 inch) long, which are held stiffly erect and each frond is divided into several pairs of 10cm (4 inch) long, oval, glossy, coarsely toothed, dark green leaflets. The spores cases that appear in small patches on the undersides of leaflets are green at first but gradually turn light brown.

Houseplant care: Cyrtomium falcatum is a tough plant for growing indoors because it tolerates dry air, low light and gas fumes better than most other ferns.

Light: Provide Cyrtomium falcatum with bright filtered light. These ferns can tolerate quite poor light, but only for short periods of time. If not in permanent bright position, they should be moved into a better light for a few hours periodically – every second day, if possible.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are suitable and these ferns can also tolerate temperatures down to 10°C (50°F). In warm position – above 21°C (70°F) they should be given extra humidity by being standing the pots on trays of damp pebbles.

Watering: In a normally warm position these ferns do not have a winter rest period. Water them moderately enough to make the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. If the indoor temperature ever fall below 12°C (54°F) for more than a few days, water sparingly allowing half of the mixture to dry out between waterings.

Feeding: Apply a liquid fertiliser at half strength every two weeks to actively growing plants.

Potting and repotting: Use a potting mixture composed of half leaf mould or coarse peat moss. In early spring plants may be moved into pots one size larger, but only if roots have filled the current pots. These ferns should never need larger pots than 15-18cm (6-7 inch). After this size has been reached, top-dress annually with fresh potting mixture.

Garden Culture: Cyrtomium falcatum is a popular ornamental plant in warm climate gardens. This evergreen fern become deciduous in colder climates.

Groom when foliage becomes frayed or unsightly. Ferns will soon regrow after being cut back, but avoid cutting into or damaging the crown.

Position: Cyrtomium falcatum should be placed in the garden in partial to full shade. It tolerates more sun than many ferns.

Soil: Grow in moderately fertile, humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil. Where marginally hardy, plant in the shelter of a rock and mulch the crown with straw in winter.

Irrigation: This ferns grow in a moist but well drained soil. Cyrtomium falcatum needs to be watered quite frequently, every 1-2 weeks ; if there are abundant rains, diminish watering, which should be done only when the soil is dry.

Fertilising: It thrives with occasional fish emulsion or liquid fertilizer.

Companion plants: Cyrtomium falcatum fern can be grown outside in part shade as filler in shady beds with Hosta, Impatiens and Caladium species or with other ferns as a contrast in color and texture.

Propagation: In early spring old plants can be pulled apart for propagation. The rhizome of Cyrtomium falcatum is hidden in the root ball, but it can easily be broken into sections. A section of rhizome with three or four fronds attached will normally establish feeding roots quickly if it is planted just below the surface level of an 8cm (3 inch) pot of standard potting mixture well moistened. The rhizome section should have 5-8cm (2-3 inch) of root already attached to it; if it does not, the potted section will need to be enclosed in a plastic bag or propagation case for two or three weeks. Otherwise, all that is necessary is to put the pot in bright filtered light, watering just often enough to make the potting mixture barely moist, until the new growth begins to appear. Cultivation needs of the new plants thereafter are the same as those of mature plants.

Cyrtomium falcatum is relatively easy to grow from spores. The ripe spores can be collected on a piece of paper placed under spore bearing leaves. Sow spores on damp peat moss in late winter. They germinate best at a temperature of 20-21°C (68-70°F). The growing medium should be kept constantly moist and covered with glass or plastic. Once new plants are large enough to handle they can be transplanted into individual containers.

Problems:
Cyrtomium falcatum if overwater can develop root rot.
Prevention: Empty the plant saucers after watering, to avoid stagnant water to damage the roots.

Fungal spots can be a problem in damp conditions.
Treatment: Treat the plants with a suitable fungicide and provide aeration for the plant by removing any dead fronds.

Scale insects attack sometime this plant.
Treatment: Use an adequate pesticide.

Recommended varieties:
Cyrtomium falcatum ‘Rochfordianum’ is one of the most compact varieties. Its fronds are only about 30cm (12 inch), but has large leaflets.

Uses: This unique fern is an excellent potted specimen as indoor plant but it is a popular porch plant as well. It best suitable in woodland or shade gardens. It makes an attractive border around large trees or shrub beds.

In arrangements, long lasting Cyrtomium falcatum fern fronds can be used as background for more colourful flowers.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – upright
Height: 45-60cm (18-24 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in active growth period – min 10°C max 24°C (50-75°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 7a-11

Cyrtomium falcatum RochfordianumCyrtomium falcatum Rochfordianum - sporesCyrtomium falcatum Rochfordianum - new frond



Cutting Flowers, Ferns, Foliage Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , , , , , , ,

Davallia fejeensis

Common name: Rabbit’s Foot Fern, Hare’s Foot Fern

Family: Davalliaceae

Synonymous: Davallia solida var. fejeensis

Davallia fejeensis

Davallia fejeensis

Distribution and habitat: Davallia fejeensis are epiphytic ferns, with fronds arising from long aerial rhizomes which grow on and over thick bark on trees or on rock crevices. It is a fern native to Fiji, growing on moss-covered rocks and on trees in the subtropical forests.

Description: Davallia fejeensis is distinguished by their furry rhizomes, which creep over the surface of the potting mixture and root down into it at regular intervals. The fur is composed of long, light brown hairs on 1-2cm (0.4-0.8 inch) thick rhizomes and is the reason why these plants have such common names as Hare’s Foot Fern. Arising from the rhizomes are 22cm (9 inch) long, grey-green stalks carrying fronds that are roughly triangular, usually around 60cm (24 inch) long and 45cm (18 inch) wide and divided into three or four leflets.

Houseplant care: Davallia fejeensis are easy to care ferns. They are also remarkably tolerant of the dry air and will thrive in rooms where many other ferns would normally suffer from lack of humidity.
Remove dried fronds for a good looking and healthy fern.

Light: Davallia fejeensis will do best if they are grown in medium light. It will glow in good indirect light, on a north or est-facing windowsill.

Temperature: Davallia fejeensis grow well in normally warm room temperatures, but they can tolerate cooler conditions. Fronds may die off if the temperature falls above 13°C (55°F), but new ones will start to grow as soon as warmer conditions prevail.
Although these ferns are tolerant houseplants, it is best to maintain a humid atmosphere by spray-misting around the plant when condition are to dry and hot.

Water: Water moderately, enough to make the mixture moist throughout, but allow the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the mixture to dry out before watering again. If the temperature is dropping bellow 13°C (55°F) for more than a day or two, give just enough water to keep the potting mixture from drying out completely until the temperature has risen again.

Feeding: Apply a liquid fertiliser about once every two weeks to actively growing mature plants.

Potting and repotting: Use either a peat-based or a half soil-based and half leaf mould potting mixture. In spring move small Davallia fejeensis into pots that are at least one size larger. Take older ferns out of their pots, trim away some of the outer roots and detach some rhizomes before replanting them in the same pots using fresh potting mixture.

Propagation: To propagate these ferns, use 5-8cm (2-3 inch) long tip section of rhizomes, each with at least one to two fronds attached. In spring cut such section from the parent with a sharp knife and pin each section down with a loop wire or hairpin so that it just sits on the surface of the rooting mixture in 8cm (3 inch) half-pot.
Use a mixture of equal parts of peat moss and coarse sand or a substance such as perlite and just moisten it slightly. Enclose the whole pot in a plastic bag or propagating case and keep it in bright filtered light at normal room temperature; no additional watering is required. When new fronds begin to appear – usually after three or four weeks – rooting will have taken place. Gradually reduce the humidity by uncovering the young fern for increasingly longer periods over the next two or three weeks and give it enough water to keep the rooting mixture from drying out. Do not feed new fern. After a further three or four months move the fern into a slightly larger pot of normal potting mixture and treat it in the same way as a mature Davallia fejeensis.

Problems: Generally problems appear due to incorrect treatment.

Yellowing fronds with brown tips and fronds dying back are caused by high temperatures and dry air.

Limp, wilting, yellowing fronds indicate overwatering; these ferns must never be allowed to become waterlogged.

Watch for scale.
Treatment: Use an adequate pesticide.

Botrytis and aerial blights may occur.
Treatment: Use an adequate fungicide.

Recommended varieties:
Davallia fejeensis var. plumosa produces fronds that are more finely divided than the species.

Uses: With their gracefully arching fronds, Davallia fejeensis are excellent ferns for hanging baskets or for shallow pots, where – because the rhizomes normally fork into two or more sections at the points where they root – the potting-mixture surface is quickly covered.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – upright
High: 45-60cm (18-24 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – moderately
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – medium
Temperature in rest period – min 13°C max 24°C (55-75°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – Low

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Davallia fejeensis - aerial rhizomes

 

 

 

 

 

 



Ferns, Foliage Plants, Indoor Plants , , , ,

Asplenium bulbiferum

Common name: Hen and Chicken Fern, Mother, Parsley Fern, Mother Spleenwort

Family: Aspleniaceae

Synonymous: Asplenium bullatum
Asplenium cavalerianum
Asplenium marinum var. bulbifera
Asplenium viridissimum
Caenopteris bulbifera

Asplenium bulbiferum

Asplenium bulbiferum

Distribution and habitat: Asplenium bulbiferum is an evergreen fern species native to Australia and New Zealand. It grows in a diverse range of habitats – along stream banks, in rainforests, in lowlands, in alpine regions, along coast lines. It is invariably associated with flowing water, close to permanent creeks and almost always with waterfalls.

Generally Asplenium bulbiferum are terrestrials (growing in the ground) but sometimes are epiphytes (growing on hosts such as trees).

Description: Asplenium bulbiferum has foliage that closely resemble carrot leaves, but the medium green fronds are studier and more finely divided than those of carrot leaves. They are up to 60cm (24 inch) long and 22cm (9 inch) wide and they grow on black stalks. Each fronds is split into between 20 and 30 leaflets. Small brown bulbils from which arise replicas of the parent plant appear on the upper surface of several of the leaflets; these will eventually weigh the whole frond down slightly. Once grown to about 5 cm (2 inch), these offsprings fall off and when touch the moist soil they develop a root system and grow into new ferns. This additional means of reproduction is easier to use for propagation than spores.

The new foliage is a bright green turning darker with age. The fern has a crown and foliage unfurls from it. The fern also produces spore on the underside of the fronds and so it has a double chance to propagate.

Houseplant care: Old fronds can be removed to improve appearance.

It is possible to wire the plant to a slab of wood or to tree trunks

Light: Asplenium bulbiferum thrives in many situations from shade to partial sunlight, including areas with low light. Give them medium light all year long.

Temperature: Asplenium bulbiferum do well in normal room temperatures although they can actually withstand quite low temperatures.

Keep Asplenium bulbiferum away from droughts and direct contact with heat. A temperature between 16 to 21°C (61-70°F) is ideal with a minimum temperature of  10°C (50°F).

Stand the pots on trays or saucers of moist pebbles to increase the humidity. Frequently misting the plants is another option to keep them healthy.

Watering: During the active growth period water plentifully as often as necessary to make the potting mixture thoroughly moist.

During the rest period water sparingly, enough to keep the potting mixture from drying out. It will not hurt these ferns to dry out for a while, but it is best to keep them evenly moist.

Feeding: Apply liquid fertilizer to well established plants once a month during the active growth period.

Potting and repotting: Inspect the root ball annually in spring and repot if necessary, using a soil-less compost with added coarse sand for drainage.

Repotting is needed only when the root ball becomes so dense and crowded that the pot is full of roots and obviously the plant is not absorbing enough moisture when watered. When this occurs, move plants into pots one size larger in the spring.
The roots of these plants will often adhere firmly to the sides of a pot and in some cases it may be necessary to carefully break the pot to be able to remove the plant.

Garden Culture: Asplenium bulbiferum is hardy outdoors to zone 9. With very feathery foliage and dense habit it is an excellent plant for cool moist spots in the garden. A place around a water feature is ideal for Asplenium bulbiferum thus the increased air humidity, resembling its natural habitat.

Position: These ferns tend to thrive in shade to partial sunlight, preferring north-facing exposures. Plant Asplenium bulbiferum in areas with wind, frost and drought protection.

Bright midday sun may damage the fronds.

Soil: It grows in well-drained or moist but well-drained soil. Amend heavy clay or sandy soils with organic matter.

Water: Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. Water slowly and deeply when plants begin to wilt and do not perk up at night. When possible, water in the morning to avoid promoting diseases from night watering.

Mulches them to help reduce water evaporation in hot or dry weather.

Fertilising: Feed frequently during growing season with a general purpose fertilizer.

Propagation: Asplenium bulbiferum is easily propagated by means of the bulbils that grow on the mature fronds. When the bulbild are carrying three of four miniature fronds, they can be easily detached between the finger and thumb and then planted in small pots.

Place the young fern on the surface of recommended potting mixture for ferns and water them just enough to moisten the mixture. Do not overwater. Enclose each propagation pot in a plastic bag or propagating case and keep it at normal room temperature in a slightly shaded position until further top growth begins to appear.
Thereafter, the best procedure is to gradually reduce the humidity by removing the plastic bag or uncovering the propagating case for increasingly long periods over the next four weeks and water the plant just enough to keep the mixture barely moist. Do not feed the new fern.
At the end of this time carefully move the fern into a larger pot and treat it as an adult Asplenium bulbiferum.

This vegetative reproduction is much easier to use for propagation than by using the spore method.

Problems: Asplenium bulbiferum are rarely bothered by pests. Space out the ferns to allow air circulation as this will assist with prevention of wilting.

They can be troubled by snails and slugs, however, if grown outside. A single slug can devour a whole leaf.
Treatment: Use from time to time a snail bait to prevent or combat snails and slugs, especially in spring when fern develop new fronds.

Asplenium bulbiferum can attract aphids.
Treatment: Sighted spray (use at lowest of recommended rate) the ferns with insecticide.

Asplenium bulbiferum can get Crown rot (growing tip gets mushy) if the ferns sit with too much water in crown especially after long dry period.

Yellowing of fern fronds – in ground ferns often due to over exposure to direct sun.
Treatment: need more shade to allow normal greening to operate. Relocate the fern in a suitable position.

Yellowing of fern fronds – in potted ferns that looks very old and roots are coming through the bottom and fern is struggling probably root-bound with lack of nutriment.
Treatment: Take out from its pot and trim back side roots and re-pot with new potting mix.

Note: Asplenium bulbiferum has a curiosity value for its  ability to grow plantlets directly on the surface of the feathery fronds, an amazing adaptation to vegetative propagation along with spore propagation which is normal for ferns.

Uses: Asplenium bulbiferum can be terrestrial or epiphytic depending on how it is cultivated and does very well in pots or hanging baskets. It is an excellent subject for large tubs and pots and becomes quite an impressive specimen given time.
When Asplenium bulbiferum is grown outdoors, the following companion plants can be used to create attractive garden landscape: Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’ (Catlin’s Giant Carpet Bugle), Dicentra x ‘Luxuriant’ (Luxuriant Fringed Bleeding Heart), Campanula portenschlagiana (Dalmatian Bellflower), Hosta and Azalea species.

It has very high moisture needs, thus it is suitable bogs and water gardens situated on draped shade positions.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – rosette
Height: 60cm (24 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – medium
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 24°C (50-75°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 9-11

Asplenium bulbiferum - bulbilsAsplenium bulbiferum - spors sori

 

 

 

 

 



Ferns, Foliage Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , , , , ,

Athyrium niponicum

Common name: Japanese painted fern

Synonymous: Athyrium nipponicum
Asplenium niponicum
Asplenium uropteron
Athyrium uropteron
Athyrium goeringianum

Family: Athyriaceae

Athyrium niponicum

Athyrium niponicum

Distribution and habitat: Athyrium niponicum occurs in temperate regions in shady places in the lowlands. The species originates from East Asia, primarily Japan, North China, Korea and Taiwan.

Description: Athyrium niponicum is a deciduous herbaceous plant with a weeping habit, being one of the most colourful garden ferns. It is a terrestrial fern with creeping rhizomes and with a whorl of fronds growing from the basal rootstock. The fronds are triangular shaped blades, 25-40cm (10-16 inch) tall and 15-25cm (6-10 inch) broad, pinnate, with 6-10 pairs of pinnae 4-9cm (1.5-3.5 inch) long and 2-3cm (0.8-1.2 inch) broad, deeply lobed. The fronds are bright green with a dark red-brown stem in the wild plant. Fertile fronds form the spore-bearing sori on the underside of all of the pinnae.

This fern has a low and mounding habit, slowly spreading by rhizomes to form dense colonies. The fronds are positioned in a way that creates a horizontal layering effect.

The foliage colors of this fern are more intense in the spring or in cooler temperatures or in cooler climates such as the Northwest. Its colorful foliage should be vibrant from early spring until frost, when it will go dormant and reemerge with its excellent foliage the next spring. Mature fronds hold color and contrast with emerging fronds to form a compact clump.

Gardening: Athyrium niponicum has a medium growth rate, being an easy plant to care for. It will make the garden attraction for spring, summer and fall seasons. Leaves may be trimmed to the ground in late fall or early spring.

It is an trouble-free landscape plant that prefers evenly moist soils, but will tolerate long periods of drought once it is established.

Position: Athyrium niponicum can be grown in sheltered location with partial shade to full shade. To obtain best frond color place these ferns in light shade.

Full sun is tolerated with intensive watering. Leaves color up more with a bit of sun exposure, but their growth will be more vertical and less attractive if they receive too much sun.

Soil: Normal or sandy or clay soils will work well for these ferns. Incorporate lots of well-rotted leaf mould, composted pine needles or garden compost into the planting hole. They will perform well in any rich, evenly moist soil. In cold areas in late autumn protect the crown of the plant with a dry mulch of straw or bracken.

Athyrium niponicum is very cold hardy. It goes dormant in winter by wilting its folds and stopping the new growth of fronds in late fall when temperatures drop to freezing points. Then reemerges with its excellent foliage the next spring.

Water: Good irrigation practices are important. Ferns should be kept moist during active growth period. Water thoroughly the ferns and allow the substrate to dry slightly between waterings. It is best to water early in the day to allow the fronds plenty of time to dry before night time.

Ferns need to be kept consistantly moist at all times. They do not however want to be soggy or water logged.

Fertilising: Athyrium niponicum thrives best when are added 5-8cm (2-3 inch) of compost or peat moss to the beds each spring or fall. This treatment should suffice and no additional fertilising is require.

Adding controlled release fertilizer on the soil surface should be done at low rates, as recommended on label. Ferns are sensitive to high salt levels, so moderation should be considerate when decide to fertilise them.

Propagation: Propagation can be done by spring divisions or by planting spores.

Growth habit and color uniformity is not ensured by spore propagation. Surface sow in a pot of sterile compost in a shady part of the greenhouse and keep moist, this is most easily done by putting the pot in a plastic bag. Pot up small clumps of the plants when they are large enough to handle and keep them moist until they are established. Plant out in late spring of the following year. Division in spring as plants come into growth. Larger divisions can be planted straight into their permanent positions whilst smaller clumps are best potted up and kept in a cold frame until they are growing away well.

Excellent selections of Athyrium niponicum may also be produced by clump division. Plants are easily divided in spring, every 3 to 4 years.  A well-grown plant can be separated in early spring into 3-4 divisions and replanted.

Uses: Athyrium niponicum is grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and suits for containers too. It is wonderful for edging the shade border, in the rock garden or in mixed containers. It is suitable to be used in designing woodland gardens, shade gardens or shaded border fronts. Also effective in shaded areas along streams or ponds. It is one of many ferns suitable for the alpine & rock garden. Succeeds in a semi-shaded bog-garden or in damp woodland, also in garden borders in full or part shade. It can be used as groundcover and mass planting and is good for erosion control.

The fronds work well in cut flower arrangements, providing lasting color and soft texture.

Athyrium niponicum is a good companion of other garden plants with which can share the same environmental conditions and contrast in form and texture such as: Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ (Hosta), Brunnera macrophylla (Brunnera-Heartleaf), Chasmanthium latifolium (Northern Sea Oats), Cimicifuga ramosa ‘Hillside Black Beauty’ (Snakeroot-Black), Galium odoratum (Sweet Woodruff), Liriope muscari ‘Big Blue’ (Lily-turf-Blue), Astilbe ‘Rheinland’ (Astilbe-Japanese) or Aquilegia ‘Cardinal’ (Columbine).

Recommended varieties:
Athyrium niponicum var. pictum (Japanese Painted Fern) with pale silvery-green fronds and a bright red stem

Athyrium niponicum var. pictum ‘Red Beauty’ with yellow fronds and a bright red stem

Athyrium niponicum ‘Metallicum’ is noted for its variegated silver, green and red foliage.

Height: 30-60cm (12-23 inch)
Spread: 30-45cm (12-18 inch)
Hardiness zone: 4-9

Athyrium niponicum var. Pictum

 

 

 

 

 



Cutting Flowers, Ferns, Garden Plants, Ground cover , , , , , ,

Pteris cretica

Common name: Cretan Brake, Cretan Fern, Ribbon Fern, Table Fern

Family: Pteridaceae

Pteris cretica var. Albolineata

Pteris cretica var. Albolineata

Distribution and habitat: Pteris cretica is almost pantropical in distribution. Because this species is so commonly and widely cultivated and appears to escape easily in warmer regions, its native range is uncertain.

These ferns are founded in the rocky woods of warm temperate forests – warm being relative since winters hardiness of these ferns can get rather cold and even snowy at times. They seem to like vertical habitats, either on actual rock walls or on steep slopes.

Description: Pteris cretica produces clumps of fronds from the short underground rhizomes. As the upright fronds grow tall, they tend to arch over at the tip. Pteris cretica has only one kind of fronds, which is about 30cm (12 inch) long, 20cm (8 inch) wide and light to medium green. The frond stalk is about 15cm (6 inch) long and is black. Each frond blade has up to four pairs of pinnae and a single terminal pinna. Each strap-shaped pinna is up to 10cm (4 inch) long and about 2cm (0.8 inch) wide and it tapers to a point. In fertile specimens the spore cases can be borne on all pinnae.

Houseplant care: Cut away the older, outer fronds of Pteris cretica if they become shabby-looking. There are generally new fronds ready to unfurl from the many growing points on the rhizome to take their places.

Pteris cretica have a moderate rate of growth, reaching the full maturity and height in 2 to 5 years.

Light: Give to Pteris cretica ferns bright light throughout the year, but never expose them to direct sunlight.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are suitable for Pteris cretica throughout the year. Whenever temperature remain  above 18°C (64°F) for more than two or three days it is a good idea to stand pots on trays of moist pebbles and mist-spray plants daily. Minimum tolerable temperature is 13°C (55°F).

Water: These ferns cannot tolerate dryness around their roots. Water them plentifully at all times, giving enough water to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist. If indoors temperatures ever drop below 15°C (59°F) or more for more than a day or two, water moderately during this period, allowing the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings.

Fertilising: Apply a half-strength standard liquid fertiliser once every two or four weeks, depending upon the type of potting mixture. The more frequent feedings are required for plants in peat-based potting mixture.

Potting and repotting: Use either a peat-based mixture or an equal-parts combination of soil-based mixture and leaf mould. Move the ferns into pots one size larger in spring, but only when roots fill the pot. In repotting, burry the rhizome just below the surface of the potting mixture. After maximum convenient pot size has been reached (probably 20-25cm (8-10 inch)), use the ferns for propagation.

Propagation: Pteris cretica can be propagated in spring by dividing large clumps. Using a sharp knife, cut the rhizome into sections, making sure that each section carries a clump of fronds and feeding roots. Plant each section in an 8cm (3 inch) pot of the fresh moist potting mixture and treat the newly potted fern in the same way as recommended for a mature Pteris cretica.

Production of spores is so heavy that young Pteris cretica are often found growing in the pots of neighbouring plants. These tiny ferns can be rescued, potted  up in 5cm (2 inch) pots and grown on as adult specimens.  Otherwise, the spores can simply be used for propagation.

Gardening: Pteris cretica is winter hardy to Zone 8a. It grows outdoors in any chalk-free, moist but well-drained soil with plenty of added leaf-mould in part shaded to full shaded positions. The cool nights with temperatures ranging to 10-13°C (50-55°F) and warm days with 16-21°C (60-70°F) will make this fern feel at home. Feed Pteris cretica in spring and summer with fertiliser specifically formulated for ferns. Keep the fern moist.

Problems: Problems may appear usually as result of incorrect treatment.

Keep the ferns in humid conditions and do not overwater them.

Fading of leaf vegetation may occur if plants are exposed to sun or light that is too bright.

Leaves turn brown, first on margins and curl if too dry or too little water.

Uses: Pteris cretica is commonly grown as an ornamental species indoors as pot plants and in gardens. It make a beautiful ground cover or border outdoors as well as an attractive accents for a room. Add beauty, style and design to courtyards, patios and verandahs with these easy care feature ferns. Its dwarf habit make it perfect for usage in rock gardens.

Pteris cretica can be used to create ‘living vertical fern walls’ for small courtyards and commercial office developments. Also can be used in hanging baskets to create vertical height and is suited for shaded balcony gardens and dish gardens. It can be used in combination with other plants in a plant bowl, troughs or baskets.

Pteris cretica have shown a remarkable ability to tolerate and accumulate high concentrations of arsenic as well as antimony in their fronds. This phytofiltration ability makes it capable of rapidly filtering arsenic from drinking water supplies

Notes: Pteris cretica is known to sometimes escape from gardens and can be problematic to rare native species if facilitated by shady, humid conditions.

Recommended varieties:
Pteris cretica var. ‘Albolineata’ (White Striped Cretan Brake, Victorian Brake Fern) is a variety that has a narrow band of creamy white on either side of the midrib of each separate pinna.

Pteris cretica cv. ‘Mayii’ (Variegated Club Foot Fern, Silver Brake Fern) features heavily forked tips with spidery appearance. It grows to around 40cm (16 inch) high and wide, so is quite a compact fern. Its pale green foliage has a narrow cream stripe down the centre.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green or variegated
Shape – bushy
Height: 30-45cm (12-18 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – moderately
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 13°C max 16°C (55-61°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 8a-10b

Pteris cretica cv. MayiiPteris cretica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis

Common name: Boston Fern, Wild Boston Fern

Family: Lomariopsidaceae

Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis

Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis

Distribution and habitat: Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis  is an evergreen fern, native to tropical regions throughout the world. It is common in humid forests and swamps, especially in northern South America, Mexico, Central America, Florida, the West Indies, Polynesia and Africa.

The fronds are 50–250 cm (20-98 inch) long and 6–15 cm (2-6 inch) broad, with alternate pinnae (the small “leaflets” on either side of the midrib), each pinna being 2–8 cm (1-3 inch) long. The pinnae are generally deltoid, cut into a number of segments, so that the plants have an exceptionally feathery appearance. The pinnate vein pattern is also visible on these highly compound leaves. The edges appear slightly serrate. Nephrolepis exaltata cv. Bostoniensis has gracefully arching fronds.

Houseplant care: Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis is one of the easiest of the ferns to grow indoors.

In some of the extremely feathery forms of Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis one of the fronds of the plant occasionally revers to the original species. Cut out any long, insufficiently segmented fronds as soon as they appear. If permitted to survive, they will take over the plant.

Light: Provide to Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis bright light without direct sunlight. If necessary these ferns can tolerate medium light for periods up to four or five weeks.

Temperature:  Normal room temperatures are suitable throughout the year. Minimum tolerable temperature is 10°C (50°F). For Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis grown at temperatures above 21°C (70°F) increase humidity by standing the pot on a tray of damp pebbles and mist-spraying the foliage daily.

Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis  may appear totally dead due to frost, it will re-emerge in the spring.

Watering: Never allow Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis to become dry at the roots. As long as room temperatures remains above 13°C (55°F), water the plant plentifully as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist. If the temperature drops below 13°C (55°F) for more than a day or two, allow the top third of the potting mixture to dry out completely between waterings.

Fertilising: Apply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks to Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis  actively growing in peat-based potting mixture. Feed actively growing plants that are in soil based mixture about once every four weeks.

Potting and repotting: Use either a standard peat-based potting mixture or a combination of half soil based mixture and half leaf mould. When the roots of the Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis have filled its current pot, repot in the spring, moving the plant into a pot only one size larger. After maximum convenient pot size has been reached, remove the plant from its pot every spring, carefully trim away some of the outer roots and replace the plant in the same pot, which has been thoroughly cleaned. Add fresh mixture as required.

Propagation: This plant is usually propagated by division of the rooted runners, as named cultivars will not produce true spores. Propagate whanever desirable by potting up a new plantlet taken from any point where the tip of a runner has rooted down.  Use a sharp knife to cut through the runner about 5cm (2 inch) from the tip, thus releasing the rooted plantlet. Plant it in a 8cm (3 inch) pot of the preferred potting mixture for adult plants and treat it in the same way as a mature specimen.

Problems: Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis  will shed fronds if potting mixture dry out, at which point all fronds may be cut back to about 5cm (2 inch) to regenerate.

Pythium or Phytophthora: Symptoms include stunting, wilting, and graying or yellowing of the foliage. More likely to occur in cool, dark weather and cool, wet media.
Treatment: Fungicides remain an important method to control losses due to Phytophthora and Pythium spp.

Rhizoctonia: Aerial blight that occurs mostly in the summer. Symptoms include brown irregular lesions commonly in the crown of the plant.
Treatment: Apply fungicides: be certain the Nephrolepis spp. to be treated is listed on the fungicide label.

Insects: The most common are caterpillars, fungus gnats, mealybugs, mites, scale, and thrips.
Treatment: spay plants with appropriate pesticide.  Repeat the treatment after 3 days and again 10 days later. If the insect attack persist, try a different pesticide.

Uses:  Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis is a very popular house plant, often grown in hanging baskets or pedestals.

It is a perennial hardy plant in warm climate zones as erosion control, ground cover, massing or woodland garden. Outdoors Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis prefers partial shade or full shade, inside it grows best in bright filtered light.

Nephrolepis exaltata cv. Bostoniensis is said to act as a natural air humidifier, removes formaldahyde and is a general air purifier. Said to be among the best in air purifying houseplants.

Also, Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis is known to be non-toxic, so it is safe to be grown around pets (cats).

Note: Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis is classified as an invasive alien plant in South Africa. In some provinces it must, by law, be eradicated. In others, a permit is required to import, possess, grow, breed, move, sell, buy or accept one as a gift.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – upright
Height: 60-90cm (24-36 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – moderately
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 13°C (50-55°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 13°C max 24°C (55-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zones: 9-11



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