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HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR FERNS

How to care for your Ferns Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4bCQKQych

 How to care for your Ferns Part 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uid1bWLmRpc

  How to care for your Ferns Part 3   -    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIqhx6j8w-A


Position

Ferns enjoy moist conditions, sheltered from midday and afternoon sun. Up to 4 hours of sun a day is fine. They're an under canopy plant, so therefore enjoy indoor and outdoor life.

Indoors

One of the main problems with growing ferns indoors is the lack of humidity.  A simple solution is to group the pots on a shallow tray  containing water in which  pebbles or gravel are placed .  Ensure the pots are above the water level.  This creates a microclimate which gives moisture to the fronds.

Watering

The only way to really tell if a fern needs watering is to feel the soil around the plant and if it feels dry, it needs watering. If it is still wet, DO NOT water. The most efficient way to water is to have your ferns in self watering pots.

Repotting

A Fern Potting Mixture is recommended for repotting ferns, or you can add approximately 20% of Peat Moss to any potting mix you have. To see whether or not a fern needs repotting, simply tap the plant out of its pot and have a look at its root system. If the roots have reached the sides and bottom of the pot, the fern needs repotting. It's best only to go up 1 or 2 sizes in pot at any one time, or slice the root ball in half, from top to bottom and repot into two containers the same size as the original pot.

Soils (Outdoor)

Ferns have a very fine root system, so you need to ensure that the roots have enough air and water available to them. This is achieved by applying a good cover ( approx. 100mm) of Rainforest Mulch and Leaf Mould to the area before you plant your ferns.

Fertilizer

A 5-6 month slow release fertilizer with trace elements should be used at the recommended rates when repotting or planting out and a water soluble fertilizer should be used for watering on a fortnightly basis, at the rates recommended on the fertilizer packaging.

Pests

Ferns don't have many pests that worry them. Some of the ones that do are slugs and snails, this is mainly outside and can be seen by the fern not producing any new growth. Mealy bug and fern mite are found on the underside of the fronds like little white specks. If either of these problems occur consult your local nursery for the right advice on which is the best spray to use.

Pruning

Cut off any dead fronds at the base of the plant and if the fern gets scrappy looking, or if you have a bad pest problem, cut the whole fern off just above the ground level and let the fern reshoot. (Warning: Do not do this with tree ferns) This is best done in late winter or early spring.

Growing ferns from spore at home

When spore is starting to be released from the frond, cut that frond off and place in a paper bag to let it dry. The spore is then the fine dust in the bottom of the bag. Get a clay brick and place it in a saucer of water and the water level 1/4 to 1/3 of the way up the brick, you must keep the water in the saucer for the whole time. Sprinkle the spore over the brick and place in a warm position out of the sun. Within a few months you should start to see the first signs of green. In the next few months it should start to look like moss. Once you have a good cover of moss keep the plants wet with a light spray of water (this may have to be done a few times a day) until you start to see the ferns shooting up from the moss, gently break off clumps and plant in pots, you now have grown your very own ferns.


Suggestions by Heaton's Wholesale Fern Nursery

More information may be found in these books.

Encyclopaedia of Ferns.  by David L.Jones

Maidenhair Ferns in Cultivation.  by Christopher J.Goude

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