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Cultural Tips for Tropical Fern Propagation

Fertilizer:

20-10-20 or 20-20-20 applied on constant feed at 125-175 parts per million (ppm)

Light:

1500-3000 foot-candles.

Lower light levels creates longer fronds.

Soil:

A peat-lite mix from a reputable supplier. Must drain well, yet still provide good water holding capabilities. Avoid large percentages of vermiculite and/or sand, which tend to plug the air spaces needed for healthy root growth.

Water:

Ferns do NOT tolerate standing water. Lift the pots, you will soon learn when these plants need water. Apply water when the containers become about 1/2 the weight of a freshly water container. Water early in the day to allow the foliage to dry. When growing large pots or hanging baskets, if practical, a spaghetti tube system works very well.

Containers:

Any size containers must drain well for good plant growth. 

The use of saucer-less baskets tends to produce a perched water table, unless you are extremely careful with the water.
Temperature:

Best growth occurs between 70 -85 degrees F. Temperatures outside this range tend to retard growth. If, however, you wish to retard growth in early spring, you can allow the temperature to drop lower. Remember to be more careful not to overwater, and watch for botrytis, if you lower the temperature.

pH:

5.5 to 6.5 are acceptable for most fern varieties.

Disease and Pests:

The most prevalent fungal disease in ferns is botrytis, which appears during periods of high humidity and cool temperatures. The major pests, which affect ferns, are scale and aphids. All of these problems can be controlled through good housekeeping , scouting and the proper use of approved pesticides.

Boston Fishtail Fern

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