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Ferns

Martha Stewart Living, April 1995

Whether in a terrarium or on a windowsill, ferns make wonderful low-maintenance houseplants if you follow a few general rules. Many ferns love humidity, but overmisting them with water can lead to fungal diseases. Instead, place some pebbles in the bottom of a plant saucer, add water, and place the pot on top of the stones. This creates the perfect level of humidity. It's also a good idea to fertilize your fern at least once a month in the winter and every other week during the growing season.

Fern Glossary
Crozier: a fern's coiled juvenile frond, similar in form to a bishop's staff; the crozier is also known as the fiddlehead.

Frond: the leaf of a fern, the frond is divided into the stipe, the stemlike part with no foliage; and the blade, which bears foliage. The rachis is the main stalk of a compound fern frond.

Sorus: the cluster of sporangia on the underside of the pinnae, or leaflets.

Rhizome: a rootlike structure for anchoring and absorbing water and nutrients.

Plant List
Rabbit's foot fern (Davallia fejeensis)
This particular species from Fiji has unusual furry rhizomes that creep over the sides of the pot. Rabbit's foot ferns should be kept in bright, but not direct, light and in temperatures above 55 degrees.

Table fern (Pteris cretica 'Albolineata' and Pteris quadriaurita)
These ferns, which originated in the tropics or subtropics, require high humidity, diffused light, temperatures between 60 degrees and 75 degrees, and moist soil. Never allow the soil to dry out, but don't keep it sodden. Table ferns actually like to be pot-bound, so you don't always have to repot them. They grow to about 3 feet indoors.

Maidenhair fern (Adiantum peruvianum 'Bronze Venus')
The young fronds of this South American cultivar are silvery pink with wiry black stems. They need a humid atmosphere, good circulation, and a minimum temperature of 50 degrees. They do not require any direct light.

Comments (1)

  • tropicalferns 21 Jul, 2010

    I have a small Rare ferns business that sells all types of Platycerium ferns (staghorn ferns) if you are interested this is my sight. www.tropicalferns.com