Notes on Ferns in Pots

Bullet points re ferns in containers

  • Potting mix needs to allow for good drainage – pumice or sand in mix is a good idea. Slow release fertiliser (osmocote 8-9 month) small amount of in the mix is a good idea. Blood and bone is also a good fertiliser.
  • If pot has a catch pot to capture any water drip important the roots are not sitting in the water all the time as soil will go sour – good idea to stand on inverted saucer or put pebbles in catch pot to elevate. Pot ferns are planted in must have drainage holes.
  • Ferns need good air flow and an adequate moisture content to thrive in – if indoor avoid rooms with air conditioning
  • Don’t place ferns in full sunlight nor where very windy.
  • Hanging baskets are good for some species – Davallia (rabbits foot), Nephrolepsis (boston), tree fern orchids (Earina varieties), Asplenium flaccidum, Microsorum pustulatum
  • The Victorian craze of ferns in bottles or terrariums is an interesting and challenging way for the enthusiast.
  • Pests – aphids, scale, mealy bug, passion vine leaf hopper are to be looked out for – spray as appropriate. Passion Vine leaf hopper use pyrethrum product.
  • Light balance is important – too light and stems will thicken and fronds get yellow, too dark and you get spindly elongated fronds. Indoors avoid bright lit areas and hot fluorescent lighting.
  • Don’t be scared to cut off or cut back fronds especially just prior to coming out of dormancy (late winter)
Some recommended ferns for pot growing (those recommended in hanging baskets above will also be ok in a normal pot)
Adiantums (raddianum, hispidulum, aethiopicum) , Asplenium nidus, Crytomium falcatum, Pellea (rotundifolia, falcate), Blechnum gibbum, Asplenium bulbiferum – not the native pikopiko but the finer lacy frond variety, Asplenium bulbiferum Maori princess.
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