Jun 152016
 

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

Blechnum gibbum ‘Silver Lady’

How to keep them thriving indoors in Melbourne!

Please Note: The information below is specific to this particular variety. For more detailed notes on the general growing conditions required for all Indoor Plants, check out our ‘Growing Indoor Plants Successfully’ factsheet.

The Silver Lady Fern is an extremely attractive rosette fern with a neat but lush look. It immediately conjures up images of rainforests and waterfalls.

Watering

Adjust watering to suit the season. This is easy, in the warmer months it tends to put on growth and needs more water. Water so that the potting mix never dries out, aim for a nice even moistness. In winter however, allow the surface to dry out slightly before watering.

Light

Indirect or filtered light all year round. Avoid direct sunlight – it can scorch the fronds.

Temperature and humidity

Ideally keep between 4C and 30C. Keeping it cooler at night helps avoid fungal problems.

Needs good airflow around it or will fail to thrive. It needs humidity, so a humidifier is useful, or failing that misting spray. Important in winter if you are using central heating. Alternatively, you can put the pot on small stones or blocks to keep it raised, and fill the saucer or slip pot beneath with water. The water evaporates increasing humidity, but keeping the pot raised allows the free drainage essential to a happy indoor plant.

Fertilising

Fertilise once in spring and summer with a slow release indoor plant fertiliser, or monthly with half strength liquid fertiliser. Flush out annually.

Maintenance

General maintenance can be done anytime. Old, leggy, discoloured or ragged fronds should be cut back to the base. Any major trimming or rejuvenation pruning is best done in spring.
Silver Lady ferns can grow quite rapidly so if you need to repot, do it in early spring.

Repotting

• Step up the pot size slowly over successive years.
• Use a good quality potting mix and pots with good drainage.
• Make sure your fern is nicely moist before repotting as this ensures the potting mix is adhering to the roots
• If simply repotting into a larger pot, go up one size, if you choose too big a pot, then the excess potting mix retains moisture and can lead to fungal problems and root rot.
• Do not plant too deeply into the potting mix, the plant should end up 2-3cm from the top of the pot.
• Pat down firmly (removes air-pockets) and water in well using a weak seaweed solution.

Problems

Black fronds

If the black appears on the underside of the fronds then this is most likely to just be the normal reproductive spores. Ignore this.

Brown fronds

• If in direct light, fronds can burn.
• If too temperature is too hot, fronds will brown off
• If drainage is poor, and potting mix becomes soggy, fronds will brown.
• If humidity is too low, fronds can brown off.
• Being pot bound can lead to browning of fronds

Yellow fronds
• Old fronds naturally turn yellow as they age, before turning brown and dying.
• Overwatering can lead to yellow fronds
• Stress from moving to a new position, being repotted or divided. Allow time for it to settle in.
• Lack of humidity

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