Ferns

Houseplants of the Month February 2019 - FERNS

If you regularly suffer from headaches or dry skin, maybe you don’t need to go to the chemist, but to the garden centre. the Boston fern (Nephrolepis) purifies the air and ensures perfect humidity. Phlebodium and Asplenium also work hard to give you clean air. Ferns originate from (sub)tropical regions, and therefore feel at home in an environment with high humidity.

Colours and shapes

 Which of the 40,000 different species of fern do you prefer? Those with leaves over a metre long? With the Boston fern, the leaves are initially rolled up, and when they unroll they produce a fantastic feather of bright green leaves. All you have to do is ensure that these luxuriant feathers have enough room.

With most species (e.g. Nephrolepis or Adiantum species) the leaves are very segmented, but there are also varieties where the leaves are all one piece (e.g. Asplenium). The fern’s leaves emerge from a horizontal stem below ground (the rhizome) and come in colours ranging from bright to dark green and from bronze to red.

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 Symbolism

If your diary was overloaded in the past, you needed to carry some of the seeds with you. People believed that you could then work 20 times as hard!

Another fun fact: Because Maoris weren’t able to type their destination into a navigation system, they used silver ferns to find their way in the dark. The underside of the leaves is silvery, so it reflects the light of the moon and stars. The leaves appear to glow, and so helped light the way.

This silver fern is very common in New Zealand, as are many other species, and it therefore became that country’s national symbol.

Origin

The fern is also unusual in historical terms: it transformed from a water plant into a land plant in prehistoric times, like all other plants that reproduce with spores. They’re so old, that they can be found in 400 million year old fossils. In those days this green air purifier could reach a height of 15 metres.

Caring for ferns

  • Give the green curls plenty of water. Make sure that the pot soil remains damp.
  • Don’t water into the heart of the plant - it doesn’t like it.

  • Regular spray your fern with a plant spray, and give it some extra food once a week.

  • Place it in a light spot, but not in direct sunlight. 

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