Ferns, although there are not many varieties of them available for
culture indoors, are probably more universally used as house plants than
any other class of plants. Their culture is not difficult, although it
differs somewhat from that given most of the plants
described in the
In the first place, ferns want a porous soil, say two parts screened
leaf-mould, one sand and one old manure or rich loam, the latter being
preferable. In the second place, they should be given a warmer
temperature, a minimum of fifty-five degrees at night being very
desirable, although not absolutely essential.
The third requisite in success with ferns is a moist atmosphere, as well
as plenty of water at the roots. If the pots are carefully drained
(facing page 41) as they should be, and the soil properly porous, it
will be almost impossible to over-water at the roots. Great care should
be taken, however, not to wet the foliage, particularly where the sun
can shine on the leaves. When the fronds must be wet, to keep them
clean, try to do it on a warm day, that they may dry off quickly near
an open north or east window. They should always be given as much light
as possible, without direct sunlight, and as much air as possible while
maintaining the proper temperature.
Many of the ferns can be increased either by runners or division, and
these are easily propagated at home. Those which are grown from spores
(the fern's seeds) it will be better to get from the florist's.
Most of the ferns belong to one of three groups, the sword ferns
(Nephrolepis), the maidenhairs (Adiantum) or the spider ferns
(Pteris). The distinguishing feature of the sword ferns is their long
pointed fronds; the maidenhairs command attention by their beautiful
feathery foliage, in some varieties as delicate as the filmiest lace;
and the spider ferns, seen usually in mixed varieties in dishes or fern
pans, are attractive for their shades of green, gray, white and silver,
and compact growth.
Next: The Sword Ferns
|ADD TO EBOOK