General Fern Culture

SOIL: ½ potting soil, ½ Canadian peat, add crush pine bark, shredded cypress mulch, lots of coarse vermiculite, coarse builder’s sand, oak leaves, pine needles and saw dust.

WATER: Only when the soil is dry two inches deep. Add enough water so the excess water runs off. This is called (leaching) washing the soil of the salt build up.

SUNLIGHT: At least fifty percent filtered sunlight is required. Less sun – the plant’s new growth is very slow. More sunlight the plant can be burned, and also, the plant will require more frequent fertilizing.

FERTILIZER: Use half of the recommended amount of the fertilizer. You can burn the roots and also the foliage will appear crispy brown on the edges. The excess salts in the inorganic fertilizer will burn. You can kill the plant.

DOUBLE POTTING FOR HUMIDITY: Do not mist the plant to produce the necessary humidity. Place gravel in a larger container to raise the container the plant is in to the surface of the larger container. Place the plant’s container on the gravel. Line the area between the containers with sphagnum moss, coarse vermiculite and charcoal. Keep the sphagnum moss damp at all times. Only water the soil of the plant when dry two inches deep. Leach the soil when watering the plant.

LIME: the maiden hairs, pteris, pellaea (Button), Doryopteris pedata (Band fern), Birds nest and Asplenium (Mother’s fern) require lime water every time the soil is dry. The lime mixture water is two tablespoons of powdered dolomite per quart of water. The other ferns require the lime water mixture once a month. The tree ferns do not require the lime.

Do not over water, as this is the biggest problem of growing ferns and other plants. A plant somewhat on the dry side will survive longer than a wet one. The plant will add magnificent beauty to your home and the enjoyment you will receive will be a hundred fold.

There are several good sources of fern culture available for fern growers who are interested:
International Tropical Fern Society
Manatee County Fern Society (Chapter)