Separating Ferns: Learn How To Divide Garden Ferns
Garden ferns are one of the most popular houseplants in your home. They’re easy to care for, they make great additions to any room, and they look really pretty too!
But if you want to have a plant that’s going to last forever, then it will need regular attention. You’ll probably start noticing some changes within a few years of having them around.
The first thing you need to do is decide which type of fern you want to keep. There are several types of garden ferns, but the two most common ones are the Boston Fern (Flammulina) and the Sword Fennel (Eriogonum).
These plants come in many different colors and patterns, so there’s no way to tell what kind of fern you’ve got until after it dies down from winter or starts growing again.
These ferns are native to Europe and Asia, and they tend to grow in groups. They have long stems with leaves that are green above, yellow underneath, and usually white at the base.
Most of these ferns have five petals on each flower stalk, while others may only have four. Each flower has three stamens (the little seeds inside the pistils), plus an ovary (a small organ where eggs develop).
Most of these plants prefer being kept in temperatures that are between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit, with high humidity. If you see the leaves starting to curl or turn yellow then there’s probably not enough humidity around the plant.
If the leaves start to turn brown or get mushy then there’s way too much water in the soil. Watering plants should be done as needed, usually about once a week, but follow the directions on the plant tag that comes with them.
If you’re going to divide your ferns, use a sharp knife or scissors to cut through the middle of the plant and discard the bottom half. It’s better to keep it in a small pot for now so it doesn’t dry out too quickly, after which you can move it into a bigger pot when there’s enough time.
You may also start to notice a few offsets popping up along the main plant. These are little baby ferns that can be separated from the mother plant once they’ve grown larger, so keep an eye on them for now.
If you want to increase your ferns even more then you can carefully separate these offsets (see below).
Once you’re ready to repot your plant, make sure that the soil is damp before doing so. You can then transfer them into any kind of pot that has drainage holes in the bottom.
The best kinds are probably plastic, since terra cotta pots can sometimes dry out too quickly and don’t retain moisture as well.
Flowering plants need to be fertilized every now and then in order to grow at their best. Use a 20-20-20 nitrate based fertilizer once a month during the warmer months, and cut back to once every two months during the winter.
If the plant starts getting leggy (long stems with short leaves) then it probably means it’s time to re-pot them. You want to keep the root bound as compact as possible in order to grow a fuller plant.
Boston ferns should be pruned regularly throughout the year in order to achieve this. Prune out any dead or damaged fronds, as well as any new ones that are growing from the bottom half of the plant.
As for pests, there is not too much that will bother your fern. Spider mites and mealy bugs are the only two that might occur, but those can be taken care of with some insecticidal soap or by changing the environment (turning up the heat or lowering the humidity).
If you’re looking for a less demanding plant then there are plenty of other options out there. A nice flowering plant would be a large cactus.
They only need bright light, don’t need watered too much (let the soil dry out before watering again), and can filter out toxins from the air. You could also get yourself a tillandsia, which is a type of tropical air plant (no soil required). These can be placed in a nice wooden bowl and decorated with seashells to give it a natural feel. Just make sure the bowl has a hole in the bottom so it can drain any water that gets accumulated from the plant.
With these fresh new ideas, you’re sure to find something that will fit in well with your room’s decor.
Before you know it, winter break is over and it’s time to return to campus for your next semester of classes. You thought you would have felt less nervous about going back, but as it turns out you’re just as apprehensive about it as ever.
What if nobody talks to you? What if they start rumors about you behind your back? What if your classes are really hard and you can’t keep up?
You arrive at the bus stop a little earlier than usual, so you have time to think about these things while you wait. Eventually, the crowded bus arrives and you board it. Normally, you would sit somewhere in the middle so you wouldn’t have to walk too far if you needed to get off at a particular stop. However, this time you find yourself toward the front of the bus. You think that if push came to shove, you could easily run off before anyone else could get on.
Fortunately that doesn’t happen, and you make it to your stop without incident. When you arrive at campus, there are a lot more people milling about than usual.
In fact, the population seems to have doubled.
Where do they all come from?
Your first class isn’t for another hour, so you grab something to eat in the cafeteria and then find a place in the student union to sit and people watch. You people watch quite a bit, hoping to see someone you might be able to approach and make friends with.
After about an hour of this, you finally see someone sitting by themselves. They seem to be concentrating hard on their books, so you don’t want to bother them.
Yet, there is something about them that draws you in, so you decide to talk to them.
“Hey,” you say.
They look up, but they don’t look happy to have been disturbed.
Can I help you?”
they ask. It almost sounds like it could be a threat.
“I just wanted to say that I think the tie you’re wearing is pretty neat. Is it…
paisley?” You take a guess, since you can’t really tell what the pattern is from this distance.
“It’s floral, actually. And it was a gift from my grandmother,” they say a little less defensively.
“Well it looks good on you.”
Your strange compliment softens their demeanor. “Thanks.”
Sources & references used in this article:
Plastid-dividing rings in ferns by JG Duckett, R Ligrone – Annals of Botany, 1993 – Elsevier
Trans-splicing group II introns in plant mitochondria: the complete set of cis-arranged homologs in ferns, fern allies, and a hornwort. by O Malek, V Knoop – Rna, 1998 – rnajournal.cshlp.org
The distribution of TPX2 in dividing leaf cells of the fern Asplenium nidus by E Panteris, IDS Adamakis, K Chanoumidou – Plant Biology, 2013 – Wiley Online Library
The classification of ferns by RE Holttum – Biological reviews, 1949 – Wiley Online Library
Chloroplast 16S rDNA sequences and phylogenetic relationships of fern allies and ferns by D Prain – 1908 – West, Newman and Company
Burnt ferns from the English Wealden by JR Manhart – American Fern Journal, 1995 – JSTOR