HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR FERNS
How to care for your Ferns Part 1 -
How to care for your Ferns Part 2 -
How to care for your Ferns Part 3
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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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