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Ferns planting and growing


Ferns. - The native ferns transplant easily to the garden, and they make an attractive addition to the side of a house, or as an admixture in a hardy border. The ostrich, cinnamon, and royal ferns are the best subjects. Give all outdoor ferns a place that is protected from winds, otherwise they will shrivel and perhaps die. Screen them from the hot sun, or give them the shady side of the building.

See that the soil is uniformly moist, and that it does not get too hot. Mulch with leafmold in the fall. It is not difficult to colonize many of the native ferns in shady and protected places where trees do not sap all the strength from the ground.

Probably the one fern grown most extensively as a house-plant is the small-leaved maidenhair fern (or Adiantum gracillimum). This and other species are among the finest of house plants, when sufficient moisture can be given. They make fine specimens as well as serving the purpose of greenery for cut flowers. Other species often grown for house plants are A. cuneatum and A. Capillus-Veneris. All these do well in a mixture of fibrous sod, loam, and sand, with ample drainage material. They may be divided if an increase is wanted.

Another fern for house culture is Nephrolepsis exaltata. This is no doubt the most easily grown of the list, flourishing in a sitting-room. A variety of N. exaltata, called the Boston fern, is a decided addition to this group, having a drooping habit, covering the pot and making a fine stand or bracket plant; and there are now several other forms of it suitable for the best window-gardens.

Several species of pteris, especially P. serrulata, are valuable house ferns but require a warmer place than those mentioned above. They will also thrive better in a shady or ill-lighted corner.

Perfect drainage and care in watering have more to do with the successful growing of ferns than any special mixture of soils. If the drainage material in the bottom of the pot or box is sufficient, there is little danger of overwatering; but water-logged soil is always to be avoided. Do not use clay soils. Ferns need protection from the direct sunshine, and also a moist atmosphere. They thrive well in a close glass box, or window-garden, if the conditions can be kept equable.