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stags horn fern (platycerium surperbum) image by Shirley Hirst from

How to Grow a Rabbit's Foot Fern

Fern Babies in Fern Reproduction

How to Care for a Lycopodium Squarrosum Plant

Lycopodium squarrosum, commonly known as rock tassel fern, is defined as an "evergreen perennial herbaceous epiphyte or fern ally," by Michigan State University. That means it reproduces by spores, with sporangia found on its cones or leaf axils. Rock tassel fern is a member of the club moss family and is native to Africa, Polynesia, Australia and Asia. In the U.S., it grows outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 10 to 12. It also can be grown indoors with the proper care.

Place your rock tassel fern in part to full shade. Because it grows in trees and the low parts of rain forests, the plant cannot take direct sunlight.

Keep the moss constantly moist. Choose a medium that has a high percentage of peat moss. Use a humidifier in the room to keep the air moist, or mist your plant at least every other day. Misting, however, can lead to foliar diseases.

Fertilize with a light dose of fish emulsion or use a fertilizer specifically for houseplants at half strength. Do not fertilize during the dormant winter months.

How to Grow Staghorn Fern Balls

Place a layer of sphagnum moss about 2 or 3 inches thick in the bottom of the wire basket.

Remove the juvenile staghorn ferns from their nursery pots they came in and knock the excess soil from the root balls. Leave as much of the roots intact as possible.

Place three of the staghorn ferns around the bottom of the basket turned almost completely upside down so that the fronds hang out of the bottom sides through the wire and the root ball sits on top of the layer of sphagnum moss inside. Make sure that the sterile shield fronds are on the outside of the wire. Fill the basket with sphagnum moss.

Make a depression in the moss in the top of the basket enough to plant the fourth fern upright and gently pack the moss around the roots. Add more moss so it is packed tightly and the ferns hold in place.

Water thoroughly and let the plant drip dry.


Use a wire basket with large slats so the fronds can fit through the sides without having to cut the wires.

You may need to tie down the staghorns in the bottom with fishing line so they do not fall out until they get established.

Long-grain sphagnum moss stays in a clump better than other types and will not fall through the holes in the basket as easily.

Platycerium bifurcatum is an excellent species to use for a staghorn fern ball.


After planting do not let the moss dry out for several weeks until the plant shows signs of new growth. Keep it damp but not dripping wet.

Where Is the Silver Tree Fern Found?

huge fern tree silhouette image by kubais from <a href=''></a>

Silver tree fern, or ponga (Cyathea dealbata), is native to New Zealand's montane forests--at altitudes between 1,500 and 4,000 feet--and lowlands. Standing up to 33 feet high, it has large, horizontal fronds atop thin, silver stalks. The fern is recognizable from its green frond's silvery-white undersides.

What to Feed Fern Plants

About the Fern Plant

Fern plants aren't able to store nutrients like most other plants, so its best to keep them on continuous feed. Also when feeding the fern plant, its best to feed them sparingly and with a slow-release liquid food. Fern plants need more nutrients when they begin to have new fronds uncurling from the center of the plant.

What to Feed a Fern Plant

A good start to feeding a fern plant is to mix 100 parts per million of nitrogen. Look for something that uses ratios close to 15 parts to 5 parts to 15 parts when purchasing fern food. Its always best when reading labels to watch the ammonia and nitrogen levels to make sure that they are equal. Another good choice is a slow-release pellet such as Osmocote, which is simply sprinkled around the dirt toward the base of the plant. Aluminum sulfate also is a beneficial nutrient for fern plants and other garden plants as well.

Organic Fern Food

Fern plants love any type of organic compost. The most beneficial way of feeding a fern with compost is to layer the organic mulch compost on top of the soil and spread it out evenly. This is the most affective way of supplying the fern with all of the nutrients that it needs to build its root base and enable it to start growing new fronds.

Additional Information About Ferns

There are a few essential things that ferns need in addition to proper nutrients. Ferns need shade, humidity and moist soil at all times. Ferns also prefer alkaline soil; if it's difficult to provide this for the fern plant, then mix crushed limestone, oyster shell grit or cement rubble into the soil, which will provide a constant source of lime for the fern plant to feed off of.

How to Look After a Tree Fern

Plant your tree fern in well-drained, fertile soil in a shady, protected location, such as near a fence or alongside a building. Prepare the soil by mixing in a low-nutrient compost to encourage root growth.

Water thoroughly, turning the hose toward the top of the tree fern and letting the water run down the woodsy trunk. This lets the plant absorb water through its trunk as well as through its root system. Keep the soil moist to a depth of about 1 inch.

Fertilize periodically (every other month is fine) with organic fish bone and blood fertilizer. Sprinkle a handful around the trunk and canopy and water thoroughly immediately afterward so the fertilizer will be promptly absorbed by the roots.

Regularly trim fronds once they start to droop or turn brown. This will result in a better-looking fern and also stimulate new growth.


Ferns evolved millions of years ago when the earth was warm and damp. Cold weather slows their growth and frost can kill them. In areas that do receive occasional frost, whenever frost is forecast cover the fronds with newspapers to offer them overnight protection.

When to Plant Korean Rock Fern in Spring?

fern image by Alistair Dick from

The Korean Rock Fern is a small fern that does well in the southern states. Plant in the early spring after all chances of frost have pasted and before summer heat. The lush dark green leaves form a dense mounding pattern. Plant under shade trees or large shrubs and cover roots with moist soil. This fern does well with small perennials and also in containers.

How to Grow an Australian Tree Fern

Plant your Australian tree fern in a well-drained, sandy or loam soil. Amend the soil, if needed, with compost to make it fertile. Australian tree fern prefers partial to full shade.

Keep your fern's soil evenly moist. Do not let the soil dry out beyond the top inch. Water more frequently during dry conditions, and water in the early morning so that the water does not evaporate quickly.

Fertilize with organic fertilizers and well-rotted animal manure, according to the Australian National Botanic Gardens. Most ferns do not need heavy applications of fertilizer.

Propagate your Australian tree fern by removing the spores found on the underside of mature leaves and placing them on the ground. They do not need to be covered with soil.


In Hawaii, the Australian tree fern is considered an invasive or nuisance plant. It has displaced some of the native ferns, according to the Global Invasive Species Database.

How to Transplant Staghorn Fern

Prepare a 5 gallon planter by filling the base with 4 to 6 inches of potting soil or sand. While the staghorn fern does not require soil to grow, this layer will provide anchoring for your pot and the plant over time.

Fill the planter with cedar chips. You will anchor the ball of your staghorn fern within these chips.

Burrow out a hole in the cedar chips large enough to accommodate a layer of sphagnum moss and the ball of the fern. Line the hole with sphagnum moss.

Insert the root ball of the staghorn fern into the sphagnum moss-lined hole. Tuck a layer of moss atop the ball and around the base of the fern.

Pour about 1/4 cup of slow-release, water-soluble 10-10-10 fertilizer into the moss and over the root ball and allow it to soak in.

Layer a handful of cedar chips over the top of the moss to disguise the root ball and sphagnum moss.

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