Monday, November 10, 2008

Nurture Ferns. Indoors. Without Tears.

I did it. I kept several ferns alive for almost a year.

The secret?

Mini-greenhouses and Wardian cases. Structures so forgiving that - as I ignored some of the plants during the excitement and zany-ness of Willa's first three months under my care - they still thrived.

The maidenhair fern really needed a tightly-sealed environment. Lots of humidity. The smaller greenhouse suited it best (bottom photo).

An asparagus fern, a bird's nest and two other smaller ferns took to the Wardian case like champs (top photo).

Now, my next step in this horticultural dance would normally be to push my luck and buy a few more. But I am so thrilled with this small victory, I am content to sit with it and just gaze at their greenery through the winter.


Bonbon Oiseau said...

ah...that's right! i'll give my fern some humidity'!!! thank you!

Anonymous said...

Tracey, the ferns are beautiful and look so happy and healthy! And the cases definitely add something.....uh-oh...I'm getting tempted!!
Do they tend to grow fast in their cases and outgrow them quickly? Or not. And does your asparagus fern shed a lot? Maybe it's the lack of humidity that makes mine shed all over the place. Thanks.

Tracey said...

Yeah, humidity! That is the stuff!

Betsy - No shedding with my asparagus fern - so the moisture must do something to prevent it. They are getting a tad big for their cases, but I prune them back a bit. The bird's nest is getting big - maybe I need another case - :)

lotta said...

These mini fern "conservatories" are so beautiful. Very inspirational!

Anonymous said...

Well, maybe you do! After all, the Holidays are just around the corner again, and perhaps a tradition is starting. >:o) And what about a teensy, Willa-sized case to start her out with?


Lonnie said...

Hey, if you really want to drool over ferns, then check out the ones at Charles Alford Plants. He's got some really bizzare ones like the ant ferns that have unusual hollow rhizomes for ants to live in. Or the epiphytic Lycopodia (imagine running cedar relatives hanging from trees). He also has a large number of different kind of staghorn ferns.

The downside is that he's old school and has a paper catalogue that you've got to print off, and mail.