How To Take Care Of Your Fern

How To Take Care Of Your Fern

Ferns are ancient, dating way back to the Carboniferous period. There are over 700 species and they can give your indoor or outdoor collection a soft, airy look, reminiscent of an almost bygone area.

The Green Grower stocks Asplenium Bulbiforum or the Hen and Chicken Fern or Mother Spleenwort, known to the Maori as Pikopiko or Mouku. Native to New Zealand, it is ideal indoors in a container or a hanging basket or as a ground cover outside, where they tend to ‘clump’ together in a shady, moist area, displaying a fairly fast-growing deep green foliage.

How much light does your Asplenium need?

As a house plant, they prefer medium, dappled light, maybe on or near a north-west facing window. It is best to rotate them periodically to ensure even growth.

Outdoors, a humid, shady area is best as direct sunlight in the warmer months can stunt their growth and cause browning of their ‘leaves.' They make an ideal display under higher trees.

What type of soil is best for your Asplenium?

Indoors, a peat-based potting mix is best; outside, the soil should be loose and well-drained, neutral to alkaline, rich in organic matter like coco-coir, peat moss or shredded leaves.

What temperature is best for your Asplenium?

They quickly adapt to a household range of 12-25C. A humid environment is best (periodic spells in the bathroom!) and on particularly hot days, a fan could be used to increase air circulation (moving air helps keep insect pests, diseases and fungus at bay) Outdoors, they adapt readily as long as they are not exposed to temperature extremes.

How much water does your Asplenium need?

Since they are epiphytes, they require high humidity and plenty of soil moisture. Your house plant will enjoy an evenly moist soil (water into the soil, not the base stem of the plant)

They could even be placed on a tray filled with pebbles and water, so that the evaporating moisture can reach the foliage. Outdoors, in their shaded position, keep the surrounding soil moist, perhaps with an organic mulch distributed around the base.

What is the best fertiliser for your Asplenium?

Do not over-fertilise! Use a balanced houseplant fertiliser diluted to half strength. Outdoors use an organic-based fertiliser.

General Care Tips for your Asplenium.

As a house plant, they can become root-bound, so re-pot into a larger pot, wetting the plant thoroughly first, being careful not to damage the delicate roots.

Outdoors, allow plenty of room for the rootball, use a slow release fertiliser, water well and once it has established itself, apply an organic fertiliser like blood and bone (a handful per square metre in Spring as new growth appears) Old, brown or unsightly fronds can be removed to retain that rich green, healthy look.

The Green Grower’s Rating of Asplenium.

Relatively hardy and easy care in a diluted light, humid environment, they provide a great contrast in terms of shape and texture (fronds) indoors or out to your tropical collection.

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