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A guide for choosing and planting ferns | Garden Design and Inspiration | Gardening Australia

Written By Gardening Australia on Friday, Jan 13, 2023 | 03:00 AM

Jane celebrates the diversity of Australian ferns, a diverse and adaptable group of plants with more than 400 species native to Australia. Subscribe 🔔 http://ab.co/GA-subscribe Ferns are ancient, one of the first plants to emerge on land hundreds of millions of years ago. They don’t flower, reproducing only by spore, so they are reliant on lots of water being around. However, they aren’t all as fussy as we might imagine. Jane takes us through some of the unique and hardy members of this group. Tree ferns are some of the more recognisable members of the fern family, and you can identify them by their trunk. All legally harvested tree ferns sold in retail nurseries will be issued with a serial number from a government authority. Rough tree fern– easier to grow than their soft counterpart, adaptable to a wide range of soils and climates. They are great in a pot, and can tolerate direct sun as long as their roots are kept wet. They have ‘rough’ trunk that is covered with the bases of old fronds. Soft tree fern – is smooth to the touch due to the hair-like roots growing on the outside of the trunk. They need a bit more care, requiring to be kept very moist with lots of mulch, and in part shade. Indoors is a great place to grow many ferns that require more delicate lighting conditions. They need good light, but not direct sunlight; and be sure to keep them away from central heating or air conditioners, as they can burn the plants easily. Necklace fern — lovely little leaves that look great in a hanging basket Fishbone water-fern — very tough with geometric leaves Bird’s nest fern — this is Jane’s favourite because of its beautiful lime green leaves Maidenhair fern — you might not have realised this indoor fav is an Aussie native. While it grows naturally in thick mounds in the bush, it may have given you a bit of grief in your own home, as it is notorious for browning up overnight. To prevent this occurring, keep the plant in a plastic nursery pot, stored in a larger decorative pot or saucer that holds a little bit of water at the base, so it is always kept moist. Don’t be afraid to prune it hard when it dies back, it will grow new shoots from the base. Epiphytes — Many ferns have evolved to grow as epiphytes, an adaptation to grow on other things than the ground for physical support. Instead of getting nutrients from soil, they find nourishment from small pockets of animal droppings and leaf litter that get caught in their crevices. Staghorn fern — magnificent fern with a protective shield and drooping fronds that will get larger over time. Elkhorn fern — slightly smaller than the staghorn, but can be grown in very similar conditions Tough ferns have learned to store water in their roots underground, and will fare better in harsher conditions or with less watering. Prickly rasp fern — tough foliage but new fronds are red, with pink tips on older leaves. Mother shield fern — an elegant but hardy choice. Hen and Chicken fern — can grow little plantlets on the end of its fronds that will grow into new plants when they touch the ground. ___________________________________________ Gardening Australia is an ABC TV program providing gardening know-how and inspiration. Presented by Australia's leading horticultural experts, Gardening Australia is a valuable resource to all gardeners through the television program, the magazine, books, DVDs and extensive online content. Watch more: http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/gardening-australia Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gardeningaustralia Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/gardeningaustralia Web: http://www.abc.net.au/gardening ___________________________________________ This is an official Australian Broadcasting Corporation YouTube channel. Contributions may be removed if they violate ABC's Online Conditions of Use http://www.abc.net.au/conditions.htm (Section 3).


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