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Lawn & Garden

The Mother Fern

The “Mother Fern”.  Seems to be a strange name for a fern, but it lives up to its name.The Asplenium bulbiferum is said to be a native of New Zealand as well as Australia, depending on whom you talk to.  The Mother Fern is also known as the Mother Spleenwort' and 'Hens and Chicken Fern'.  The graceful stems of this fern produce tiny plantlets along its frons that can be harvested and planted which is why it has the name “Mother Fern”.


This unique and reproductive fern needs to be in a constantly moist environment as well as a mostly shade spot in your garden.  Just be sure that this spot only gets a few hours of morning sun only!   Be sure to provide a rich soil when planting in your shady outdoor spot, as long as you live planting zones 8-11 or in a brightly lighted atrium.  


With proper care, your Mother Fern can grow to a height of 4 foot tall and 3 foot wide, so be sure to plant it in an area where it will not be crowded.  This fern will make your shade rock garden an impressive sight alongside your Impatiens or Hostas.  Just be sure to have an evenly moist but well drained soil. 


As the seasons change, be sure to keep your Mother Fern warm, as it does not like to have cold feet! You can use a general-purpose fertilizer but be sure to feed regularly during is growing season.  Older frons may die off in the winter months but wait and trim these off in the spring when new frons appear.  

Do not forget to harvest the plantlets!!  These can provide you with endless extra baby ferns that you can give away as gifts to your friends.


One the great aspects of this fern is that it is pet friendly.  No worries if you puppy decides to snack on this one, although, you may need to put a small fence around it if your dog likes to dig in the damp bark and soil.   


Be sure to share your planting adventures with us at:


Tell us about your Mother Fern and its tiny plantlets.



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Posted 2018-09-07T21:37:23+0000  by Rick_HD_OC Rick_HD_OC