Welcome to Ferns!

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

By popular request, here's a new forum just for fern lovers!

Lisbon, IA(Zone 5a)

Terry, Thank you! :)


Minneapolis, MN(Zone 4b)

Yes! Thank you Terry


Fort Pierce, FL(Zone 10a)

Thank you so much!!! I can't even remember what my life was like before DG....except that it was boring!!! (smile)

Pocahontas, TN(Zone 7b)

From the postings on the Dave's Garden thread, I can see I have a lot to learn.

Thanks for creating this forum.


Fort Pierce, FL(Zone 10a)

Judy, thank you too for starting us off with your suggestion!

Pearl River, LA

Patti shell.....I used an upgrade download purchase of the Jasc program on my Dell computer...... I purchased 4 and later 5..... It is easier for me to find things in 4 and there is an upgrade to a lot of projects in 5......cards calendars...album pages and such .....I use both of them a lot...... Since this is a new forum I thought I would repost my found by the side of the road baby.... Shirleyt

This message was edited May 23, 2006 9:18 AM

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West Central, WI(Zone 4a)

I'm so happy to see that we've got a Ferns Forum on DG! Think of all the fun frond facts that we can share.


Bartlesville, OK(Zone 6a)

Thanks so much!

Orangeville, ON(Zone 4b)

Thank you for this new forum!

Pic of my first fern unfurling (Dryopteris x australis) a few weeks ago. Planted it last year and it made it through the winter no problem (hardy to Z 6b).


Thumbnail by Erynne
Ottawa, ON(Zone 5a)

So glad to be part of this new forum! Now it's up to us to make it a 'happening' place!

This is one of the woodsia ferns, which one I'm not sure. I'll have to ask the expert :)

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Ottawa, ON(Zone 5a)

And a maidenhair spleenwort, Asplenium trichomanes. It's tiny.

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Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

andy I have an asplenium trichomanes, it's at the top edge of my bank and I forget about it! It is a good size, but still a small fern, it just keeps on keeping on. Must remember to get a pic.

Look what I found on Woodsia


Oh, I am so pleased we have a fern forum!

Oklahoma City, OK(Zone 7a)

Thank you Terry!!

This is very exciting!!! I have been searching for different varities of ferns all season. This will be a great place to learn.

(Zone 4a)


How large should Fern spores be before transplanting?

Thank you.


San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

Thank You. I have been watching and waiting and it's here.

Hi all.

I have 3 ostrich ferns and they are shooting up new fronds now. I really hope that they are enjoying their new home.(old home was 1 gallon plastic pots). the pic is right after the move. but since the transplant they have begun to grow in size. I am sooooooooo happy. see my smile :)

Question? You could consider fern leafed bleeding heart a fern?

I really want to add about 1 or2 of these to the bed below to compliment the ferns and hostas and plectranthus.


Thumbnail by nivlac
Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)


Fern spore should be mature, but when it is released from the fronds there will be left something that may still look a little like spores if you are not familiar with it. Some tree ferns have a hard black capsule, which eventually will burst open to release the brown spore. All ferns, in my observation on the ones I have, behave differently. I have been observing the spore on the backs of my Asplenium scolopendrium Angustatum, it has long ridges of it rather than circular spots, it was well developed last Autumn and the fronds of that don't normally break their stems as some do at the end of winter. When they start to look quite tatty I do remove them to make way for the new fronds. I am wondering if the spore will stay on until the weather conditions are correct, or just release at a certain time of the year. I took some spore around 3 years ago and grew some ferns from it, still in their tray and desperately need transplanting. I think I did this in late winter/early spring.

Tree ferns I have grown from bought spore, which I grew in late autumn. They make spore on the new fronds growing now, and seem to burst sometime in early autumn. I have a polystichum setiferum 'Congestum', and the fronds do tend to be brittle and their stems after winter break near the base so as to lay near the ground, it had a lot of spore on in late autumn and I am guessing when the fronds break down they will perhaps release spore so it can be dispersed or washed away by rain, but they may release some before that. My thinking is they want to grow so will do it when weather conditions are improving.

Now I reread what you have asked, and you said 'transplanting'. Do you mean taking spore from the fronds, or transplanting the ferns once they are growing? If you have germinated the spore there should be livery patches on the surface (after tiny green fuzz), in theory this is when it should be done, remove sections of this to pots of their own so that when they make roots they won't be disturbed. This is important wiht Cyathea tree ferns as they will die if roots are disturbed. That is why I lost most of mine I think as I had tray loads of them, and although I knew it should be done that way, when the little fronds began growing there was so many of them and close together I didn't know how to separate them. At that time I wasn't aware of the Cyathea requirements. I ended up with 2 tree ferns, enough I suppose but none of the very lacy ones. The hardy ferns I grew from spore I just left them in their trays, the strong ones lived and are growing well now about 3 years later, so should transplant well. If I had done it the correct way I may have had more ferns, but nature has a way of selecting the strongest and I have enough. These jobs just don't often get done!

Nivlac, no the Dicentra belongs to the Papaveraceae (poppy) family, the name fern leaf is only used to describe the fern-like looks of the leaf.

Ottawa, ON(Zone 5a)

nivlac, my experience with ostrich ferns is that they like to propagate themselves by underground runners as well as by spores. They are so common here as to be treated like weeds, almost (sorry to the fans). My neighbour has a patch bordering our common fence and I have to dig up and discard the invading shoots every year on my side. All to say, yours will likely spread in this fashion if conditions are favourable.

At the cottage, we have a wetland area with masses of them. I'll post pictures soon. I had planned to harvest fiddleheads this spring but missed the right time. They are such a tasty spring treat!

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)


thanks for the info. I ordered the ferns from Springhill, not knowing what their habits were, really not knowing anything about ferns. I knew what I wanted under the tree though. I will have to tackle the spreading issue when it comes. If it starts choking out my other plants they are goners.


This message was edited May 28, 2006 1:40 AM

(Zone 4a)


I thank you for the information.

Yes, there are small masses of felix-femmina spores that have germinated. This container has been in indirect light.

I shall transplant sections as you suggest.
Should the tranplants go under direct light now?


Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

taramark, I don't think it would be a good idea to put them in direct light, kept moist and fairly shaded until they get some size would be best. I have A filix-femina and it self sets in shady moist places, although those places do get some sun it grows at the bottom of a phormium which has ground cover and stones around it, that will keep it moist and we do have mostly quite high humidity anyway, rarely less than 50% and sometimes 100%. A little sun wouldn't hurt as long as the humidity is high and the growing medium is kept moist. Let the livery platelets form before you transplant small clumps of it.

Fair Lawn, NJ(Zone 6b)

Hi everybody and
Andycdn, you mentioned eating fiddleheads, I am interested. At what stage exactly would you cut them, are all ferns edible and how do you prepare them?
I have been reading everybody's post on this marvelous new forum and I am afraid I am perhaps a little off target here. I don't grow Ferns and Mosses in/for my backyard, I just love to look at them at our (nowadays Summer-) place in North East Pennsylvania. I have been trying to identify what I see and I am usually striking out. I find it very hard to learn them from books, because people take pictures from different perspectives, ( laying on the forest floor perhaps/seeing them from the top down and such.) Especially Club mosses are impossible for me to group properly. Here is a fern picture from last Summer from one of the spots and if you like to look at more, here is the rest:
We will be going through the woods this weekends and I will play with my camera a bit.

Thumbnail by RUK
Monroe, NC(Zone 7b)

That is a lovely drift of ferns! You can't capture that kind of display in the garden - at least most that I know! Yet they re also striking as specimens - I haven't seen one tht culdn't stand on its own.


This message was edited May 25, 2006 1:38 PM

Ottawa, ON(Zone 5a)

Fiddelheads are the emerging shoots of the ostrich fern, Matteuccia struthiopteris. They're picked (cut) before they unfurl, when they're about 4". Right now the stores have tubs of them for about $2/lb. They'll be available for about 3 weeks in total.

I prepare them by boiling in a little unsalted water, after trimming, rinsing and pulling off the excess brown shreddy stuff. They take about 8 minutes to get crisp-tender. A little butter and lemon juice, S&P. Fresh chopped dill is nice. They're tangy and have a nice crunch.

I googled 'fiddleheads' and found some recipes, including instructions for pickling and canning. I think the best idea is to eat them fresh.

Several sites also mentioned that they can be mildly toxic to some people, so read up before you eat a mess of them. I've never had a problem or heard of anyone who has.

Brigham City, UT(Zone 5b)

Ruk, What a wonderful pic. Can't wait to see more. I do love fern. Utah dessert is not the ideal place for them, but I do see them in some of the high mountains. I have very little shade, only on the north of the house, I have >60 fern planted. I just love it.
By the way Dave, Thanks for the site. Marie

(Zone 4a)


Thank you.

I should have mentioned that the closed spore container is in
the house as I live in Zone 4. It receives indirect light.
I can see some small plantelets.

Fair Lawn, NJ(Zone 6b)


Andycdn, good information. I will look into that - for now it might be a good idea to find out exactly what grows in our place. I don't think I have ever seen fiddleheads in the store, but now I will keep on eye on it.

So. Puget Sound, WA(Zone 8b)

Terry, I just found this browsing around (insomnia). Thank you. More temptations!

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

RUK it must be lovely walking through those woods, nice pic of the snake! It looks very close, must have been a zoom job?

Asparagus is a fern, I have a few of Connover's Colossal and the new shoots should be cut 8-10" tall, when the head is still closed. I snap the stem after cutting by hand at ground level and the stringy hard bit at the bottom discarded, some of the stem can still be a little stringy. It tastes like mange tout peas, it also takes about 8 minutes, butter melted over and it's a snack to be relished. After the cutting period you will have a very tall, lacy fern, mine grows up to 5' tall. I have tried buying asparagus, it needs to be fresh to taste right, the bought was horrid.

Fair Lawn, NJ(Zone 6b)

yes, we love it - visiting whatever is at the moment flowering or growing is always a good excuse to walk about and in the process see all sorts of interesting things.
I was about 3-4 feet away from the snake. I see them ever so often, they seem to be harmless.
Before our neighborhood here in NJ was developed around 1950 - 1960, it used to be fields of a good size Asparagus farm. ( Our house numbers are still numbered like the numbers in a field, not in a row, but across parallel streets.) When we moved here in 1971, I would see every so often a leftover fern coming up. Over the years they have disappeared.
Around here you can buy excellent fresh Asparagus, the green kind, not the European white.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

What do you do to keep your fern so healthy? I want to transplant some fern to a planter, but I'm not sure about the growing conditions. I'll post pics. Do you "feed" your ferns anything?

Pearl River, LA

Now Gym girl I have already told you my secret......same treatment for everything except things prone to be eaten by bugs.......roses, cannas, salvia,.......those I treat with Bayer Rose and Garden care.....a three in one ...at the beginning of season before the first bugs bite......then pic up with the tea in about six weeks or so....weak tea here... you can also use osmacote or miracle grow very sucessfully....I use the tea because frankly it is easier on the ole pocket book....shirleyt

Pearl River, LA

Just picking at you Gymgirl.... I have my own gym girl....she is a coach are you? I do not know any more about ferns than you do.....I need to separate this one too. but I know it will be a job and I need some large containers for it......then I will have three.... plus a baby growing in the yard.....I think it is just the type of fern that makes it grow so well....I have not a clue what it is.....I found it by the side of the road like a little rag a muffin and loved it to this state......and now I am just watering it and hitting it with tea every month...I have given starts of this to friends and they have large plants too....See if someone can ID it....and get you one of these...shirleyt

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

shirleyt, your fern looks like a Nephrolepis. Some are not hardy, the Boston fern is one sold as a house plant.



Pearl River, LA

I do not know anything at all about ID of anything.....I just know I have had this for years....I baby the mother plant....and bring it inside for winter months....take it to shade in spring and summer morning sun evening shade...the best miracle grow potting soil and tea through growing season..... I like to give it osmacote for the winter and just water occasionally....plants I had outside came back two years and were spreading and looking great.......Katrina ended that...debris cleanup destroyed them....My daughter has a baby from it that comes back for 5 years or so in a nice big pot in a border garden.... I had one plant that survived the winter outside and is now planted in the ground and doing well.....So I think it is safe to say it is hardy.... in my zone 8b......I need to separate it and take some babies and make it into three plants in big pots.....I repotted it three times in the years I have had it...probably ten or twelve.....I lost track....but it has been a long time.....we moved back here in 93 and we had not been here long when I found it by the road....pitiful specimen....l just thought oh what the heck lets see if you can be revived..... It needs attention now but I have had so much to do to recover that gardening has taken a back seat this year.....I will get settled in my new place and then the heavy duty landscapeing will begin .....first things first...just the deck now.....shirley t

Monroe, NC(Zone 7b)

Hang in there, Shirley!

May your ferns inspire you in your new home, new beginnings with old friends for company . . . .


Bartow, FL

Dear Fern Folk...,
I am a neophyte gardener in Zone 9a, and I would like to enquire as to the best potting mix for ferns that are being transplanted for the first time. I love ferns but I do not know how to best nourish them. Please advise.

Frondly Yours,


Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

I find ferns do well in a very gritty and free draining soil with lots of leafy compost. They don't like to be too wet but like to be moist. In nature they grow amongst trees in similar conditions.

Bartow, FL

Thanks Wallaby1,
I live in zone 9a in USA. Would potting mix, perlite, and a little sand do the trick? With some leaf compost?


Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

It would probably be OK, but I would use a potting mix which has some soil in as opposed to peat or other substitutes. The only food in these substitutes is added, and once that is depleted they would need food. If you have leaf compost that will provide some food.

If you would like to post again on the Fern forum you can start your own thread so others can see it with an appropriate title, this is the original fern start-up thread but that's OK!

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