Ferns (Tracheophyta) are relatively easy to grow indoors and outdoors. Ferns will reward you with lush green fronds all year round.
The Fern plant is a vascular plant, also known as tracheophytes that are defined as those land plants that have lignified tissues for conducting water and minerals throughout the plant.
They also have a specific non-lignified tissue to conduct products of photosynthesis.
Ferns Clean The Air?!?!?
Plants are notoriously adept at absorbing gases through pores on the surface of their leaves. It’s this skill that facilitates photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert light energy and carbon dioxide into chemical energy to fuel growth.
But scientists studying the air-purification capacities of indoor plants have found that plants can absorb many other gases in addition to carbon dioxide, including a long list of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
What Are VOCs?
- Benzene, found in some plastics, fabrics, pesticides and cigarette smoke.
- Formaldehyde, found in some cosmetics, dish detergent, fabric softener, and carpet cleaner
- Household chemicals come from objects and materials like:
- cleaning solutions
- synthetic materials such as plastic, fiber, and rubber
Modern furnishings, synthetic building materials, and even your own carpet may carry more chemicals than expected. These chemicals can make up to 90 percent of indoor air pollution.
VOCs and other indoor air pollutants have been linked to numerous acute conditions, including asthma and nausea, as well as chronic diseases such as cancer and respiratory illnesses. An indoor plant’s ability to remove these harmful compounds from the air is an example of phytoremediation, which is the use of any plant indoors or outdoors to mitigate pollution in air, soil or water.
In 1989, NASA discovered that houseplants can absorb harmful toxins from the air, especially in enclosed spaces with little air flow. This study has been the basis for newer studies about indoor plants and their air cleaning abilities.
NASA recommends two or three plants in 8 to 10-inch pots for every 100 square feet. Some plants are better at removing certain chemicals than others. While most leafy plants are adept at purifying indoor air, some of the plants that scientists have found most useful in removing VOCs include.
- Bamboo Palm. Chamaedorea Seifrizii.
- Chinese Evergreen. Aglaonema Modestum.
- Gerbera Daisy. Gerbera Jamesonii.
- Dragon Tree. Dracaena Marginata.
- Pot Mum. Chrysanthemum Morifolium
- Peace Lily. Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’
- Spider Plant. Chlorophytum Comosum ‘Vittatum’
- Mass Cane/Corn Plant.
- Ponytail Palm. Beaucarnea recurvata
- Japanese Royal Ferns. Osmunda japonic
- Spider Plants. Chlorophytum comosum
- Purple Waffle Plants. Hemigraphis “Exotica”
- English Ivy. Hedera helix
- Areca Palms. Epipremnum aureum
- golden pothos
- Aloe species
- Snake Plant; sansevieria
Plants are also known to:
- increase mood and productivity.
- enhance concentration and memory.
- reduce stress and fatigue.
Tips For Growing Ferns Indoors
Indoor plants remove pollutants from the air by absorbing these gases through their leaves and roots. The microorganisms that live in the soil of potted plants also play an instrumental role in neutralizing VOCs and other pollutants.
There are a lot of species of tropical and subtropical ferns, but there are also a lot of ferns that are native to more temperate climates. These ferns would be well suited to cooler parts of the house but won’t survive in rooms that are too well heated.
Humidity All ferns love moisture and should be given humid conditions. In living rooms and family rooms, stand their pots on trays of damp pebbles or clay granules. Ferns also love being misted at regular intervals with tepid, soft water unless the humidity of the whole room is kept high through the use of a humidifier.
Compost/Soil You also need to provide the right compost. Most ferns are forest or woodland plants and have tender, delicate roots adapted to the light forest soil, which is rich in leaf mold and decayed vegetable matter.
The right compost must be free draining so that the roots never get waterlogged. A compost that contains peat or a fibrous peat substitute with plenty of sand is best. The compost should never be allowed to dry out, which may mean watering the plant a little every single day in a warm, dry atmosphere.
Light Although most ferns grow in moist shady places like forest floors, this does not mean that they need no light. Their normal situation in the wild is dappled light, and if the light level in the home is too low, you will see poor growth and yellowing fronds.
Give your ferns a position near a window that gets morning or late afternoon sun, and keep the ferns away from strong sunlight, especially during the summer.
Direct sunlight will make them lose their leaves or turn their fronds yellow. You can keep your ferns in the dim light as long as you give them regular breaks in bright light. They can be given artificial light, but this should be from a special gardening bulb or a fluorescent strip. Ordinary light bulbs generate too much heat.
Tips For Growing Ferns Outdoors
Outdoor Ferns are extremely forgiving and have an incredibly strong survival instinct. Ferns will grow where other plants fail to thrive and most do well in rich, well-drained soil with an abundance of organic matter. Planting a fern garden outdoors requires minimal attention other than regular mulching and water during very dry periods.
Few pests bother ferns other than the passing slug, which will devour nearly anything. Divide ferns in early spring when they become too large. Taking care of outdoor ferns is so easy that you often forget that they are there. They are excellent for naturalizing and will reward the gardener with their graceful texture year after year.
General Fern Info.
Temperature ~ An individual fern’s place of origin and adaptability will determine how high or low temperature the fern needs. Most ferns don’t like cold. Those ferns from tropical regions truly appreciate 60-70 F (15-21 C.). Those from more temperate regions enjoy temperatures between 50-60 F. (10-16 C).
Fertilizer ~ Feed your ferns in the summertime every two to four weeks with a liquid fertilizer but don’t mix it full strength because you can damage the root system. Just a few drops of fertilizer can be added to the water occasionally for misting.
Don’t feed your ferns in the winter because they rest. In order to keep the air around your ferns moist, mist them often.
Repotting ~ You can repot your ferns in the springtime, but only if their roots are filling the pot. Otherwise, just scrape off the top layer of compost and replace it with fresh compost. Cut off any damaged fronds to encourage new growth.
When you repot your ferns, split them up and make two out of one. You can also grow new ferns from the powdery spores produced in little capsules. These capsules are visible as rows of rusty brown patches on the underside of the fronds. These will grow into a green film into which the fern will grow.
Is A Foxtail Asparagus Fern Really A Fern?
Foxtail asparagus ferns are unusual and attractive evergreen flowering plants and have many uses in the landscape and beyond.
Asparagus densiflorus ‘Myers’ is related to the asparagus fern ‘Sprengeri’ and is actually a member of the lily family. This plant is a very attractive evergreen clumping plant with green needle-like leaves.
This is a drought-resistant plant that needs little care. It is happy just about anywhere.
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