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Friday, September 12, 2008

Growing Ferns

I am a person who love gardening and landscaping. I was graduated from Agriculture Faculty and ever worked at Landscaping & Consultant Company in Indonesia for almost 5 years.

As I ever handled many projects in Surabaya-Indonesia from small to big projects, I knew well about tropical plants. One of my favorite plants I often used in the landscape projects was fern.

After I moved to USA in 2002, a country that has 4 kinds of season, I learned more how to grow ferns especially for my front and back yards. I also have 2 pots of different ferns. They grow so well.

Ferns at my back yard. I planted them 1 year & a half ago. They already grew in the woods at my back yard beautifully, then I thought I really wanted to move them to my garden either at front and back yard.

Ferns family has around 20.000 species of plants classified in the phylum or division Pteridophyta, also known as Filicophyta. Ferns prefer a mix that has a high proportion of organic materials such as peat that drains very well. There should be a source of calcium and magnesium included and are usually provided by dolomite lime and the irrigation water. Ferns grow at least 63 to 70% shade is required in summer. The light levels can also be estimated by looking at the shadow cast by your hand on a bench top. If the shadow is visible but the outline is kind of fuzzy, then the light level is okay. Ferns can grow well and fast at temperature between 73 and 86F. The night temperatures are critical for growth and control of fungus. They can appear the problems for their growth. Most of them do not like to have wet feet and actually like to lightly dry out between watering. For fertilizing needs, it is best to keep them on continuous feed. A good starting point is 100 parts per million nitrogen using something with ratios close to 15-5-15 (Nitrogen : Phosphor : Kalium). The ppm can be raised if the foliage is too light green in color indicating a need for increased Nitrogen. One thing that is not recommended: giving slow release fertilizers can be difficult to control when the days are short and cool. If the ferns look at all unhappy, we need to try reducing the feed rate. One secret to grow the ferns is to keep the irrigating water pH between 5.0 and 6.2.

Pests can attack ferns too. All chemicals used to control pests can burn ferns if they are used improperly. Each must be tested carefully on a few plants and then used only as needed. Repeated use, especially fungicides can cause the problems. It is better for fungus control in general, we need to do lowering the feed levels that are particularly susceptible to fungus problems seems to help more than any chemical sprays.

If we want to move the ferns up, we should not disturb the roots. Put a layer of new potting mix in the new pot so there will be no more than 1" of space between the top of the plant and the edge of the pot. Trim off all lower fronds and any that are not looking great. Repot filling the sides with new mix.

If we would like to divide the ferns, trim the fronds extensively. Remove all lower and older fronds. Cut the remaining ones back to half or less of their length (but not all the way off). Take the plant out of the old pot and with a serrated kitchen knife or thin bladed saw, divide the plant and root ball vertically into giant pie shaped pieces that are in thirds or quarters. Then take off one to two inches from the bottom of the root ball. Put potting mix into the new pots so there is no more than 1" of space below the edge of the pot when the divided plant is set into the pot. Fill spaces with new mix. Treat these divided plants pretty much as you had been treating the original. When you see new growth you will know the transplant was successful. Try to do this before July 1, so there is plenty of time for the plant to recover.

Happy Gardening!

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~~Devita~~ 1:23 AM  

wow sister!! that is soooo cool!!!!!!!

very nice.... i dunno that fern could be that beautiful arranged..

Fida Abbott 9:41 AM  

Hi Icha, some kinds of ferns are good for flower arrangement. They are just perfect.

Have great weekend.

Mariuca 2:00 PM  

Hola Fida, how are u today? Btw, you’ve been tagged, have fun! :)

Fida Abbott 8:15 AM  

Hi Mariuca,
Thanks for involving me. It looks so fun but I have to find a right time to do that tag. I think after my business done, I will do my homework and then I will let you know.

Have great day.


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