Gardening Articles

Other Ferns

The Holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum) is another very desirable house plant and has been a favorite for years. It has very dark green substantial glossy foliage, and stands up well. There is a new Holly fern, however, which I think will replace C.

falcatum; it is C. Rochfordianum; its foliage is not only a richer deeper green, but the pinnae, or leaflets, are deeply cut and also wavy, and have given it the popular name of the Crested Holly fern. Be sure to try it among the next ferns you get. Fern balls, which are usually composed of one of the Davallias, sometimes prove unsatisfactory. Be sure in ordering to get them fresh from some reliable mail order house, rather than take chances on them at the florist's. The best way, however, is to get them already started. If you get them in dormant condition, soak in tepid water and then give a temperature as near sixty degrees at night as possible until they start. While not strictly members of the fern family, the asparagus used for decorative purposes under the name of Asparagus Ferns, are commonly classed with them. Since their introduction they have proved very popular indeed. Asparagus plumosus nanus, the Lace fern. No foliage is more beautiful than the feathery light green sprays of this asparagus. Notwithstanding its delicacy, it keeps wonderfully well when cut. The plants can be grown as pot plants, or as vines. If wanted for the former purpose, keep the sprays pinched back at twelve inches, and the roots rather restricted. For vines, keep in large pots or boxes--always well drained--and keep well fed. Asparagus Sprengeri in both foliage and habit is very distinct from A. plumosus. The leaves resemble small glossy pine needles, borne in long sprays, and as it is trailing in habit it makes a unique and beautiful plant for stands or baskets. The sprays keep well when cut, and make an excellent background for flowers. It is now used more universally for green by florists than any other plant. Either of the above may be started from seed, or propagated by dividing old plants, but small young plants may be had of the florists at a very low price. They need about the same treatment as smilax (see page 94), but will do well in a temperature of fifty to fifty-five degrees at night. Shower frequently, but water only moderately. For many years these two varieties have held the field to themselves, but recently a new asparagus, of each type has put in an appearance. Hatcheri resembles plumosus nanus, but is more compact in habit and the leaves are much closer together on the stems. If it remains true to type, and is as hardy as plumosus, it will replace it, for it certainly is a more beautiful plant. A. S. variegata is a very pretty "sport" with the leaves edged white.

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