Archive for the ‘Ferns’ Category

Nephrolepis obliterata

Common Name: Kimberly Queen Fern, Boston Fern, Sword Fern

Family: Lomariopsidaceae

Nephrolepis obliterata

Nephrolepis obliterata

Distribution and habitat: Nephrolepis obliterata  is a large, ground-dwelling or terrestrial fern which grows in rainforests upon rocks or in soil near lakes or streams native to northeastern Australia and New Guinea.

Description: Nephrolepis obliterata is considered to be one of the most beautiful among all ferns. It has large fronds and beautiful upright bushy and sword-sahped leaves. The leaf stems or petioles are covered with sparse red-brown hair-like scales with pale margins and a few longer hairs. The fronds are evergreen, long and feather like, the leaflets have margins which are lightly scalloped.

It has large fronds going up from the soil and beautiful upright bushy and sword-shaped leaves.

Houseplant care: Nephrolepis obliterata is one of the easier ferns to grow. This fern does great both indoors and outdoors!

Water: The Nephrolepis obliterata requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings. Do not let the plant stand in water. Nephrolepis obliterata is sensitive to both too little and too much water, so water the plant well but permit the soil to dry out between waterings.

Light: Nephrolepis obliterata is either low light or high light tolerant. The more sun, the more moisture is required.

Nephrolepis obliterata prefer bright, but indirect sunlight.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are suitable throughout the year. For temperatures abouve 21°C (70°F), Nephrolepis obliterata should receive increased air humidity by standing the pot on a tray of damp pebbles and mist spaying the foliage daily. Minimum tolerable temperature for Nephrolepis obliterata is 10°C (50°F). Temperatures between 15 to  24°C (60-75°F) are best.

They are frost sensitive and are killed to the ground by a few degrees of a freeze. However, they will return if the cold weather is not a prolonged freeze.

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 obliterata have 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: Nephrolepis obliterata reproduces by spores or is easily divided to form new plants. Propagate whatever 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.

Uses: Nephrolepis obliterata are quite popular for use on patios or covered decks during the spring and summer.  Ferns are used as specimens in atriums, greenhouses, and conservatories and can be found in the smallest apartments to the largest homes. They offer a quiet, graceful beauty by softening landscapes indoors and out.

Nephrolepis obliterata has the added benefit of reducing indoor air pollution. These types of houseplants clean formaldehyde, toluene and xylene out of the home.


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

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 zone: 9a-11

Ferns, Indoor Plants, Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants , , ,

Azolla filiculoides

Common name: Water Fern, Large Mosquito Fern, Red Water Fern

Family: Azollaceae

Synonyms: Azolla caroliniana Willd.
Azolla rubra R.Br.
Azolla japonica Franch. & Sav.
Azolla arbuscula Desv.
Azolla filiculoides var. rubra Lam. (R.Br.) Strasb.
Azolla magellanica Wild.
Azolla squamosa Molina

Azolla filiculoides

Azolla filiculoides

Distribution and habitat: Azolla filiculoides is a species of Azolla, native to warm temperate and tropical regions of the Americas as well as most of the old world including Asia and Australia. Azolla filiculoides is a floating aquatic fern, with very fast growth, capable of spreading over lake surfaces to give complete coverage of the water in only a few months. Each individual plant is 1-2cm (0.4-0.8 inch) across, green tinged pink, orange or red at the edges, branching freely and breaking into smaller sections as it grows. It is not tolerant of cold temperatures and in temperate regions it largely dies back in winter, surviving by means of submerged buds.

Azolla filiculoides settles in ponds, ditches, water reservoirs, wetlands, channels and slow flowing rivers. Azolla filiculoides can be found in sunny to shady parts of the water bodies. Through its symbiotic association with Anabaena azollae, the floating fern is able to grow in nitrogen-deficient waters.

Care: Azolla filiculoides are taking care of themselves.
Azolla filiculoides will float freely on still to slow moving fresh water.
Azolla filiculoides can survive within a water pH range of 3.5 to 10, but optimum growth occurs in the pH range of 4.5 to 7  with high nutrient levels.

Light: Azolla filiculoides requires a sunny or lightly shaded position.

Temperature: Azolla filiculoides best grows at 15-26°C (59-79°F) and the plant will die at temperatures below – 10 to – 15°C (5-14°F). Azolla filiculoides is the most frost tolerant of the Azolla species.
This plants are able to survive encasement in ice for at least one week, but those parts of the plants which protruded above the ice, will be killed.

Propagation: Azolla filiculoides has a surface-area doubling time of 7-10 days under favourable conditions. Azolla filiculoides can also propagates through spores and it is sporulates most often between May and November.

Under optimum conditions, Azolla filiculoides’s growth spreads across the dam surface until it covers the surface of the water in a dense cover.

Uses: Azolla filiculoides can be used as an ornamental plant in ponds, aquariums and fish tanks.

Azolla filiculoides is a plant used as water purification and removal of heavy metals nitrogenous compounds.

Notes: Azolla filiculoides is a weed and the plant must be controlled. Azolla filiculoides forms dense mats and out-competes native plant species. These infestations can reduce light levels below the mats and cause die off of water plants and algae and reduce water oxygenation levels with serious impacts on fish and other fauna.  Azolla filiculoides can block canals, drains and overflows and may lead to an increased risk of flooding. It is can also affect irrigation systems – both by blocking their water supply and by reducing water quality.

Hardiness Zones: 7a-11

Aquarium Plants, Ferns, Water Plants , , , , , , , , , ,

Adiantum raddianum

Common Names: Delta Maiden-Hair

Synonyms: Adiantum cuneatum

Adiantum raddianum

Adiantum raddianum

Description: Adiantum raddianum grows up to 45 cm tall with a spread of up to 60 cm. The triangular, dark green fronds may be 20 cm long and 15 cm at their widest point and are divided into numerous delicate, wedge-shaped leaflets.

There are many forms of Adiantum raddianum, all slightly different in scale, colour and general shape. The fronds of all Adiantum raddianum forms, however, are semi-erect at fist drooping gracefully as they mature.

Foliage – green
Shape – bushy

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 10C max 24C
Temperature in active growth period – min 16C max 24C
Humidity – high

Ferns , ,

Dicksonia antarctica

Common Names: Soft Tree Fern, Man Fern, Tasmanian Tree Fern

Dicksonia antarctica

Dicksonia antarctica

Description: Dicksonia antarctica is probably the best known of all the treeferns.

Dicksonia antarctica can grow to 15 m in height, but more typically grow to about 4.5-5 m. The large, dark green, roughly-textured fronds spread in a canopy of 2-6 m in diameter.

They can be cut down and, if they are kept moist, the top portions can be replanted and will form new roots. The fern grows at 3.5 to 5 cm per year and produces spores at the age of about 20 years.

The plant can grow in acid, neutral and alkaline soils. It can grow in semi-shade. It strongly resents drought or dryness at the roots, but does best in moist soil.

In winter protect the crown by wrapping it up with straw or dead fronds.

Note: Dicksonia antarctica has many advantages over almost all the other tree fern species. It is nearly hardy in cool temperate climates. It is incredibly easy to grow. It is able to live through being shipped from Australia to Europe, which takes seven weeks in a container. Most remarkable of all, it can survive being saw off at ground level as a mature tree up to 6m (20 feet) in height. The severed plant has no roots apart from those an the trunk. When, in due course, the trunk in planted on the other side of the world, it produces new fronds in 4-6 weeks and with a year has rooted into its new growing medium. The survival rate is estimated to be 99% and the failures were down to mistakes by the growers.

Gardening: Dicksonia antarctica is hardy to zone 8 and it will thrive outdoors only protected or it have to be kept in a conservatory all year round. This tree fern must be watered abundantly in hot weather during the growing period. They also need water from time to time, especially if the conservatory is heated. The outdoors specimens plunged in pots into the garden from spring to autumn and then moved inside into a protected environment for winter. This is especially important for smaller tree ferns, around 60cm (2 feet) which are less hardy than taller, older ones. Also they are lighter and not too difficult to move around.
Larger tree ferns can be left out over winter but need protection in zone 8 or colder. The ring of fronds at the top of the trunk forms a funnel that leads down into the trunk very nearly as low as the meristem (the bud tissue in the crown). This funnel will readily collect water. To prevent this from happening, stuff it with straw to about 15cm (6 inch) above the top of the trunk. This keeps the meristem warmer and excluded the worst of the winter wet, greatly reducing the risk of a block of ice forming in the crown. In mild winter this is sufficient protection for large plants of 1.2m (4 feet) or taller. For shorter, younger tree ferns in addition to the straw should be wrapped in insulating material around the top of the trunk. It can be used a belt of polystyrene plant trays, tied together and cushioned from the trunk with more straw – the straw is stuffed behind the trays and keep them secure. Tie a circular piece of polystyrene over the crown, which helps divert rainwater away from the meristem, offering protection against cold and keeping it dry. In severe weather, further layers of insulation, perhaps sacking or straw bales, can be tied around trunk. Other insulation materials could be garden fleece or bubble wrap.
In places that rarely experience frost, protection such as this is less likely to be necessary.

If the specimen is purchased as a log, soak the base of the trunk for a few minutes prior planting. If it is to be planted out in the garden, select a shady spot, protected by the wind; in less suitable conditions these tree fern tends to produce shorter fronds. Plant the log so that as little as possible is buried, while ensuring that it will not topple over – as these tree ferns are priced according to the length of the trunk.. Once the trunk is firmly in position, water it copiously all over and around the trunk. It is not recommended to fill the crown with water, especially if the weather is cold and damp as this practice could encourage rot. Keep the log watered daily if possible until the new leaves have emerged and expanded. A well watered tree fern produces larger fronds and generally will better set up for the next season.

To grow a tree fern in a pot, plant the log as shallowly as possible. Water copiously and within six months the log should rooted and become secure. Use a pot as small as possible for the log at first. There are several reasons for this: because the tree fern needs to be watered so much over the first few months, the potting mixture inevitable become very wet and a smaller pot has a better chance to dry out a little between waterings; the unrooted log if very difficult to secure in a large pot unless it is planted unacceptably deep; smaller plants are easier to move around and more economical on potting mixture. After one full year in a small pot – the next spring – the tree fern produced roots that will apear out of the drainage holes. When this happens it is time to pot it on.

Feed the tree ferns only after roots are fully developed. If it is fed too much nitrogen, there is a risk that a lot of foliage will be produced with little or no root, possibly stressing the plant if it is allowed to dry out at all. Feeding with a high potash and low nitrogen fertiliser to encourage root growth may be fine but not necessary.

Foliage – green
Shape – rosette

Watering in rest period – moderately
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – medium
Temperature in rest period – min (-5)C max 12C
Temperature in active growth period – min 12C max 35C
Humidity – high

Dicksonia antartica







Ferns , , ,

Cyathea cooperi

Common Names: Scaly Tree Fern, Australian Tree Fern, Lacy Tree Fern, Cooper’s Tree Fern

Synonyms: Alsophila cooperi, Sphaeropteris cooperi

Cyathea cooperi

Cyathea cooperi

Description: Cyathea cooperi is a beautiful Australian native fast growing evergreen tree fern. This robust tree fern has large lacy fonds up to 3 m long on a stout oval patterned trunk with many light coloured scales.

Cyathea cooperi suitable for most moist soils in a wide range of positions. Prefers a frost free, humid environment. Will tolerate full sun if well watered.

Foliage – green
Shape – rosette

Watering in rest period – moderately
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – medium
Temperature in rest period – min (-5)C max 20C
Temperature in active growth period – min 22C max 32C
Humidity – high

Cyathea cooperi







Ferns , , , ,

Adiantum tenerum ‘Scutum’

Common name: Brittle Maidenhair Fern, Fan Maidenhair

Family: Pteridaceae

Adiantum tenerum 'Scutum'

Adiantum tenerum ‘Scutum’

Description:  ADIANTUM tenerum cv. Scutum is medium sized fern growing to 60cm (23 inch) height and 60cm (23 inch) wide. It is erect, evergreen fern with many 3-pinnate fronds. The new growth is usually pale green turning green with age. It has segments more or less rhomboidal, lateral and upper margins lobed and finely toothed. Fronds become crowded by rhomboidal segments. Sori numerous along segment margins; indusia oblong.

Proper Care: In spring cut off all old and discolored fronds to make way for new growth. Also in spring, repot or top dress with fresh soil mixture. Reduce watering and set plant in a cool place during the winter.

Adiantum tenerum ‘Scutum’ are forest dwellers from warmer regions. This means that Adiantum tenerum ‘Scutum’ do best in loose, nutrient-rich, moisture-retaining potting medium. They do not tolerate blazing sunlight and cold feet. Through their numerous fronds, Adiantum tenerum ‘Scutum’ develop a lush mass of green that evaporates much water. The soil should therefore be slightly damp at all times, watered with soft, room temperature water. Adiantum tenerum ‘Scutum’ are from habitats where high humidity prevails which is the main reason why they often fail in rooms with heated, dry air.

Light: Low to medium; indirect or filtered light.
Position the Adiantum tenerum ‘Scutum’ in a light shady position, protected from sunlight. Keep out of droughts and avoid wide temperature changes. Adiantum tenerum ‘Scutum’ suits well in unobstructed north light or in filtered light of an east window.

Watering: If possible use rainwater to maintain a moist soil condition. Keep soil uniformly moist but not wet. Good drainage is essential. The soil must never dry out since this will damage the root hairs.

During summer the soil should be kept very moist. In winter, allow soil to become slightly dry before rewatering, but do not allow plant to wilt.

Avoid overwatering. This fern like many others does not like  too much water especially throughout  the cooler months. Watering intervals: every 2 to 7 days depending on season. It is very important that this fern does not dry out, so water when top of soil is dry to the touch.

Humidity: Adiantum tenerum ‘Scutum’ like very humid atmosphere. Spray it regularly in hot weather. It prefers humidity range of 40% to 60%. Curling and browning of new fronds may be an indication of too low humidity.

Mist every 4 days. Providing indirect humidity by placing the pot on a tray with moist pebbles is a bonus for the Adiantum tenerum ‘Scutum’.

Temperature: Average climate, minimum at night 13°C (55°F); will tolerate temperatures of 7°C (45°F) for short periods, thus often used as a houseplant. Optimum daytime temperature is 21°C (70°F). Prefers tepid constant temperatures through the whole year (average under 20°C (68°F)). They do not like too high a temperature, but will survive in condition of good humidity and shade.

  • Growing season 12-15 °C (53-60 °F)
  • Minimum winter 7 °C (45 °F)

Safe temperature range  for Adiantum tenerum ‘Scutum’ is from 4oC (39°F) to 40oC (104°F).

Fertilise: Feed Adiantum tenerum ‘Scutum’ only during active growth with dilute solution every 3 weeks or space applications every 4-6 months according to growth. Fertilize with half strength solution.

Soil: Add peatmoss, leafmold or other humus to a houseplant mix. Sharp sand or perlite will add drainage. Adiantum tenerum ‘Scutum’ like calcium-rich soils, so add dolomite limestone or oyster shells to the mix.

Potting & Reppoting: If re-potting, do not disturb the soil ball. Simply slide it into a slightly larger pot, which is well drained, and top up with new compost, to which a little crushed charcoal should be added in order to keep it wet. Completely bury the old soil.

Uses: Suitable for indoors, bush-house or shaded garden position. When small, these ferns are best used in terrariums. Being a medium height plant, the pot of Adiantum tenerum ‘Scutum’ will look great when placed on a table. Also, ideal conditions for Adiantum tenerum ‘Scutum’ are  bathrooms, or a damp, humid flower window.

Wilting fronds: Increase humidity by spraying and by improving environment. Ferns prefer a moist atmosphere in a light shade.

Wilting fronds and yellowing leaves: Stop feeding. If the soil is dry, water generously with soft water but good drainage must exist.

Brown scorched leaflets: Take the plant out of the sunlight which probably caused the complaint. Cut off badly affected fronds close to their bases.

Maidenhair ferns can be damaged by some insect sprays.

Adiantum tenerum ‘Scutum’ characteristics:

  • Hardness Zones 9-11
  • Size: 0.6m (23 inch) high x 0.6m (23 inch) wide
  • Temperature Range: 4oC (39°F) to 40oC (104°F)
  • Light: Medium Light




Ferns , ,

Adiantum tenerum ‘Lady Moxam’

Common name: Hybrid Maidenhair Fern, Fan Maidenhair, Brittle Maidenhair Fern

Family: Pteridaceae

Adiantum tenerum 'Lady Moxam'

Adiantum tenerum ‘Lady Moxam’

Distribution & habitat: Adiantum tenerum is native to Florida, Mexico, Central America, tropical South America and the West Indies. It grows in the edges of woodlands and shady crevices in rocks or at streamsides or they prefer deeper shaded areas.

Description: Adiantum tenerum cv Lady Moxam is an evergreen hybrid fern with large gracefully dropping shaped pinnules and weeping stems. This fern has a short rhizome with upright arching fronds forming a compact rounded layered habit. The fronds consist of may fan-shaped bright green leaflets that are fringed along the margin giving the plant a lacy appearance. The broad, fan-shaped leaflets sometimes overlap each other.
This fern is large growing to 0.8m high (31 inch) x 0.8m (31 inch) wide and is attractive through its weeping fronds with large broad pinnules.

Proper Care: Can grow  in tropical to sub-tropical condition. Adiantum tenerum ‘Lady Moxam’ prefers a shaded to a semi-shaded protected position and is frost and drought tender. Cut out dead or damaged fronds as needed.

Light: Filtered sun or bright light from an east window is preferable. Adiantum tenerum ‘Lady Moxam’ like strong indirect sunlight in high humidity.

Temperature: It requires tropical conditions with high humidity and abundance of air movement, without direct droughts. Best suited to temperatures ranging from 12oC to 45oC (54-113oF), thus often used as a houseplant. Keep the Adiantum tenerum ‘Lady Moxam’ above 7oC (45ºF).

Watering: Adiantum tenerum ‘Lady Moxam’ do not like a dry atmosphere, nor to much wetness.   It is very important that this fern does not dry out, so water when top of soil is dry to the touch. Frequent misting is welcomed also.
Once established Adiantum tenerum ‘Lady Moxam’  has a high water requirement (Scale: 3-drops from 3), responding to an occasional deep watering during dry periods, or misting during low humidity.

Fertilise: Fertilize with half strength, quick-release solution during growing season.

Soil:  Grow in medium grade bark charcoal with limestone chips that is humus rich made from  2 parts sand and 3 parts leaf mold.

Potting and repotting: Plant in oversize container. The potting mixture for Adiantum tenerum ‘Lady Moxam’  must be capable for holding water and yet of providing good drainage. A peat-based mixture is suitable, but only is the plant gets some fertiliser at least once every two weeks.

Feeding is much less important – fertiliser will do once a month – is equal parts of soil based potting mixture and coarse peat moss are used. Repot Adiantum tenerum ‘Lady Moxam’  only when dark-coloured roots appear on the surface of the mixture. The best time for repotting is early spring. Instead of being repotted, an old plant may have some outer roots carefully removed before being replaced in same pot with the additional of fresh potting mixture.

Uses: Suitable for indoors and greenhouse. Ideal for a hanging basket. Adiantum tenerum ‘Lady Moxam’  is a popular indoors plant especially in the bathroom as hanging plants.
Suitable for indoors, bush-house or glasshouse culture. Adiantum tenerum ‘Lady Moxam’  also can be used for small shaded gardens or gully settings in warm climates but is commonly grown as a potted shade house plant.

Adiantum tenerum ‘Lady Moxam’  characteristics:

  • Temperature Range 12oC to 45oC
  • Size: 0.8m high x 0.8m wide
  • Hardiness Zone: 9-11

Ferns , , ,

Adiantum peruvianum

Common name: Silver Dollar

Family: Pteridaceae

Adiantum peruvianum

Adiantum peruvianum

Distribution and habitat:  Adiantum peruvianum is a large, beautiful fern, native to Peru. It is of tropical origin and is quite hardy in cultivation, but requires glasshouse conditions with moderate heat in temperate climates.

Description: Adiantum peruvianum has black stems and large flat pinnules. New growth is oval shaped and displays a pale pink shade, later turning to pale green with a metallic sheen and finally to a dark green. Spores are produced around the edge of the leaflets. Adiantum peruvianum is a remarkably handsome species, the fronds spread and hang gracefully dependent as the boughs of a weeping willow. Adiantum peruvianum grows to 1m (39 inch) high x 0.8m (31 inch) wide.

Houseplant care: When grown indoors, Adiantum peruvianum ferns require filtered light and a constant temperature. Provide a humid environment by placing a pebble filled saucer beneath the pot and filling with water. But remember that Maidenhair ferns do not like to stand in water.
In the garden (warm climates) place it in a cool shaded area that is not subject to winds. A humus rich moist soil is best.

Light: Shady. The plant typically grows in partial to full shade. Do not expose to any direct sunlight or even especially bright light.

Water: Water freely in summer and keep moist in winter. While Adiantum peruvianum needs to be kept moist, do not over water the plant. This can lead to root and stem rot. On the other hand, do not let the Adiantum peruvianum dry out either. In the event it does accidentally dry out, do not be so quick to throw it away. Give it a good soaking and Adiantum peruvianum fern will eventually produce new leaves.

Place the pot in a tray of moist pebbles to keep humidity elevated and spray it frequently during the hot months .

Temperature: Adiantum peruvianum will do best kept above 21oC (70ºF). Do not expose to cold drafts or temperatures below 15oC (60ºF) if possible. If temperatures fall too low Adiantum peruvianum will likely go dormant, just as it would in the wild.
Try to keep Adiantum peruvianum away from areas where temperature fluctuate.

Soil: Rich, loose, organic compost. Adiantum peruvianum prefers moist but well-draining soil amended with organic matter, much like in its natural habitat in humus-rich woods. Also grow best in slightly acidic soils. Adding lime rock to potting soil will help increase the acidity of container grown plants.

Fertilizer: Adiantum peruvianum trough not greedy, benefit from occasional feeding of standard liquid fertiliser during the growth period (during spring and through to autumn). Feed biweekly with weak liquid fertilizer during growth season.
Too much fertilizer causes brown fronds.

Potting and Repotting: Annually or biannually, depending on the pot size and growth rate. They don’t mind being a little underpotted, but repot when the roots fill the pot. Divide the plant during repotting to increase the collection.

Propagation: By spore or division. Larger plants can be divided during repotting.

Uses: Adiantum peruvianum is frequently grown as an ornamental greenhouse or house plant and is favored for its unusually large pinnules.
They are an attractive addition to any home or office. Ferns are popular because of their graceful foliage and ability to grow in low light.

Adiantum peruvianum characteristics:

  • Size: 1m (39 inch) high x 0.8m (31 inch) wide
  • Temperature Range:  12oC to 40oC (53-104oF)
  • Hardiness zone: 9a-11

Ferns ,

Adiantum capillus-veneris

Common name: Venus Hair, the Southern Maidenhair Fern, Black Maidenhair Fern

Family: Pteridaceae

Adiantum capillus-veneris

Adiantum capillus-veneris

Distribution & habitat: Adiantum capillus-veneris is a species of ferns in the genus Adiantum with a subcosmopolitan worldwide distribution. Adiantum capillus-veneris is native to the southern half of the United States from California to the Atlantic coast, through Mexico and Central America, to South America. It is also native to Eurasia, the Levant in Western Asia, and Australasia.
Adiantum capillus-veneris is found in temperate climates from warm-temperate to tropical, where the moisture content is high but not saturating, in the moist, well-drained sand, loam or limestone. Habitats of the Adiantum capillus-veneris  includes rainforests, shrub and woodlands, broadleaf and coniferous forests, and desert cliff seeps and springs. Adiantum capillus-veneris typically grows on rock faces and in crevices of cliffs, on banks and ledges along streams and rivers, or close to natural hot springs. It is cultivated as a popular garden fern and houseplant.

Description: Adiantum capillus-veneris has roughly triangular light green fronds comprising many delicate-looking, fan-shaped leaflets. In particularly fine specimens the fronds may be up to 60cm (24 inch) long and 25cm (10 inch) wide with individual leaflets 2-3cm (1 inch) across, but the average plant will be somewhat smaller. With pale green new growth this fern is excellent for glasshouse or indoor use.

Size: Adiantum capillus-veneris grows to about 40 cm (15 inch)

Houseplant care: Adiantum capillus-veneris requires humid conditions, and air movement, but will not tolerate hot, dry winds.

Light: Semi-shade to full shade with preference to bright indirect light or dappled sunlit areas. Dislikes full sun though!

Temperature: Adiantum capillus-veneris will grow well in any normal room temperature and can tolerate temperatures down to 10oC  (50oF). If the temperature rise above 24oC (75oF), stand pots on trays of moist pebbles and moist daily to provide much needed humidity.

Watering: Adiantum capillus-veneris require regular watering in the summer months but with less in winter months when the growth is slow or possibly absent. Avoid wetting the foliage, water by raising the fronds with the back of the hand and watering the underneath parts of the plant. Standing pots on pebbles in a saucer of water helps to increase the humidity.

Soil: Moist soil but well drained. Ideally light, loamy and neutral to alkaline. A soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 2 parts sand is recommended, with 2 tablespoons of ground limestone (for every 15cm (6 inch) pot) added to change the pH. This is favorable as the plant’s native habitat is on moist maritime/limestone cliffs and boulders.

Fertilise: From spring to autumn, Adiantum capillus-veneris benefit from fertilising in small doses at half-strength fortnightly or monthly. Fish emulsion, seaweed extracts, liquid cow manure are all good fertilisers. Slow release fertilisers can be added to the potting mix. Fertilise only when the soil is moist.

Potting and Repotting: Adiantum capillus-veneris  grow best in a well drained open good quality potting mix containing humus such as cow manure, tree fern fibre, leaf mould, peat moss or perlite to improve the water holding capacity.  A small amount of lime or dolomite is beneficial. Adiantum capillus-veneris are better underpotted than over-potted and usually only need repotting each year or two and this is best done in the spring months, that is, the beginning of the growing season.

Propagation: Adiantum capillus-veneris  can be easily propagated by dividing its underground rhizome. Firstly, trim off to almost ground level most of the older rachis and remove withered fronds. Then dig it up and divide by cutting through with a garden spade or sharp long-edged knife and finally replant the divisions into individual pots, being careful not to plant their crown below soil level, as it is from this point that new fronds will emerge.

Adiantum capillus-veneris can also be propagated from spores. Collect the ripe spores from under spore-bearing pinnules (leaflets) and sow on the surface of a humus-rich sterilized soil. Keep the growing medium always moist by covering with a plastic bag over the pot. Germination should take place within 6 weeks at a temperature of 20-21oC (68-70oF), then transplant the tiny clumps of plantlets where desired.

Usage: This Venus Hairfern is not only excellent for containers, hanging baskets or terrariums placed indoors or at patios, but a wonderful feature in hanging baskets on trellis too. It is ideal as an ornamental landscape fern for woodland garden or any shade gardens, besides being used as an outdoor groundcover plant beside a pond or rock garden with water fountain. Can also be used as a filler foliage in floral arrangements.

This fern has therapeutic benefits too – as a diuretic, expectorant for respiratory problems, treatment for dandruff, hair loss and menstrual disorders among others.

Problems: No serious insect or disease problems. Leaves may scorch in direct sun. Fronds will die back quickly if soils are allowed to dry out.
Pests: Susceptible to snails and slugs.

Adiantum capillus-veneris characteristics:

  • Maintenance: Low
  • Tolerates dense shade
  • Height: 20 to 40cm (8 to 15 inch)
  • Spread: 20 to 40cm (8 to 15 inch)
  • Hardiness Zone: 7a to 10b


Ferns , , ,

Platycerium bifurcatum

Common Names: Elk Horn Fern, Elkhorn, Stag’s Horn Fern

Synonymous: Platycerium alcicorne

Family: Polypodiaceae

Platycerium bifurcatum

Platycerium bifurcatum

Distribution and habitat: Platycerium bifurcatum is an epiphytic rainforest fern native to Australia and New Guinea. This fern will fix itself on trunks or branches of trees with a shielded-shaped frond that clasps on its host bark. A second type of fronds grows on the same fern – the fertile fronds – spreading or drooping and forked like a stag’s antlers, which is what gives its common name.

Decsription: Platycerium bifurcatum is growing to 90cm (35 inch) tall by 80cm (31 inch) broad, it has two kinds of fronds: heart-shaped sterile fronds and arching grey-green fertile fronds. The sterile fronds are 12–45cm (5–18 inch) long growing at the base of the plant and clasps the plant’s support. The fertile fronds are forked and strap-shaped and grow up to 90cm (35 inch) long.

The sterile frond main function is – apart form holding the plant to its support – to trap debris that can be broken down into nutrients as it falls from the branches of the host tree. In time this frond becomes brown and papery and a new green one forms in its place.
The single sterile frond is constantly being replaced, each new one appearing as a small silver spot on top of its predecessor and gradually spreading over the dry brown rather papery surface of the earlier one. When it is young, the new ‘shield’ is a soft peppermint green, which gradually turns brown. At first it clings tightly to the brown patch bellow it, but is unfurls for the last few centimeters (1 inch) of its growth and it is this upward-turning section that catches falling leaves and any other tree debris in the wild.

The fertile fronds are more decorative. They are several in number, fleshy and deep green which is overlaid with fine, white, felty scurf. The overlay of white scurf give the fronds a silvery green appearance. When mature, they have brown spores arranged in dense clusters on their undersides, mainly concentrated at the tips of the fronds.
The fertile fronds develop from the centre of the sterile one; they can extend up to about a metre (3 feet) or so with each of the terminal ‘antlers’ as much as 22cm (9 inch) long. These long folds are often semi-erect with the divided parts drooping a little. There are a number of quite different forms, which have fronds of varying colours and length.

Houseplant care: Platycerium bifurcatum is much the easiest species of Platycerium to grow indoors. It will do best when it grows on a pieces of rough bark or tree fern. Alternatively, Platycerium bifurcatum can grow in moss filled baskets.

Clean the fronds 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: Platycerium bifurcatum should be kept in a well-lit position away from direct sun.
Strong direct sunlight, however, will rob the fronds of much of their colour and may cause unsightly markings.

Temperature: Platycerium bifurcatum likes temperatures up to 24°C (75°F) as long as humidity is maintained high.  An ideal summer temperature is about 21°C (70°F) with a minimum winter temperature of 10°C (50°F).

Maintain a humid atmosphere by mist-spraying the plant once a day.

Airy, well ventilated places suits these ferns best. For this reason is best to grow them suspended on a piece of bark or in hanging baskets.

Water: During the spring and summer give to Platycerium bifurcatum 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.

Fertilising: 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: There are three ways to grow Platycerium bifurcatum. The most natural way is to let them attach themselves to the rough and moist surface of a piece of bark or similar material; another way is to plant them in wooden hanging baskets; the least satisfactory way is to pot them.

Platycerium bifurcatum 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 bifurcatum 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: Within its hardiness zones the Platycerium bifurcatum it is usually grown outdoors. When you grow them epiphytically on a tree, the way they do in nature, they require very little care. The sterile fronds collect falling debris which composts itself in the space between the frond and the tree. This composted organic material absorbs water during rains, which the plant uses when rain becomes scarce.

If not in suitable climate for leaving these plants outdoors all year long, Platycerium bifurcatum is attached to a piece of wood or is grown in hanging baskets. In both cases the fern can be sheltered to safety during harsh winter conditions.

Place them in a well lit position away from direct sun and care them as per indicated above.

Propagation: Propagation is usually from spores and not practical for the indoor amateur grower.

Larger plants occasionally develop more than one growing point and a small side growth can be detached without harming the rest of the plant; this can be treated as a new young specimen on bark or in a basket.

More often, however, old plants are broken up into several separate sections, but it should be kept in mind that the braking-up process may cause considerable damage to some sections.

Problems: Any problems that arise are likely to be the result of incorrect care – insufficient humidity in hot dry conditions or overwatering in winter.

Dry indoor air will cause brown tips.
Treatment: Mist the fronds regularly to keep the humidity high.

However, do not allow the base of the fern to stay wet, which may cause it to rot.

Avoid damaging the fronds by over-handling.

Platycerium bifurcatum are not often troubled with pests, but scale insects sometimes infest the underside of the fronds.
Treatment: They can be treated by applying methylated spirit on a fine-tipped brush direct to each on the insects.

Uses: Platycerium bifurcatum is used as house plant. It is best grown on large slab of bark or wood. It can also be effective in a hanging basket.

Outdoors Platycerium bifurcatum can be grown epiphytically on a tree as well as mounted on a piece of wood or grown in hanging baskets in shaded position.


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

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: 10a – 11


Climber, Ferns, Foliage Plants, Indoor Plants, Platycerium , , , ,

OLALA Agency | Software house, Cloud services & Advertising
Sponsored by
Powered on Amazon cloud |