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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Caring For Maidenhair Fern

Maidenhair Fern grows all over the world in tropical to warm temperate climates. The stems were used in basketry by various peoples.

Numerous varieties are available of these most delicate and beautiful foliage palnts, whose pale green foliage contrasts with their black stems. Bright, direct sunlight and dry atmospheric conditions will prove fatal. Offer maidenhair ferns lightly shaded positions in a warm room: place plants in a larger container and surround their pots with a moisture-retaining material such as peat. Misting of foliage is often recommended, but this exercise can have undesirable effects if the surrounding air temperature is inadequate. It is therefore better to use the mister to wet the soil surface. Avoid use of chemicals on foliage. When potting on, a peaty mixture is needed, and once plants have established in their pots weak liquid feeding will be needed every time the plant is watered. During winter, feeding is not important and watering should be only sufficient to keep the soil moist.

CULTIVATION: Prefers alkaline soil. Woodland leaf duff mixed with limestone or ground oyster shell works well. As with most ferns it should have good drainage and be kept moist at all times. This fern is very popular for its propensity to produce volumes of delicate graceful fronds. It will grow quickly to fill its container, and can be divided as many times as you wish. Cut off the existing fronds when (re)potting sections of rhizome. Most books recommend a shady placement, but mine get a good deal of morning sun and seem to love it.


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