Propagation can be done from spores or by division. For division, the plant is carefully removed from the pot and a long-bladed knife is used to halve or quarter the root ball (rizome). Spread roots in soil in the new pot. Water thoroughly for the first few weeks.
Reproduction of fern requires sufficient moisture. It reproduces by spores, which are usually found in cinnamon-colored clusters on the backs of the leaves. The reproduction of ferns from spores is different from other plants because there is an in-between process (asexual stage). The tiny spores are shed into the air and they develop into simplified plants called a prothallium that produce male and female cells on the underside and fertilization occurs. The spores are also carried by the wind and then start to grow on moist ground. Depending on the kind of fern, it may take two to six months after fertilization for the first fronds to appear.
Propagating ferns yourself needs some patience. Brush spores from the underside of a mature frond into an envelope or paper bag. Let the spores dry for a couple of weeks. Sterilize a plastic pot by dipping it in boiling water. Fill the pot with seed-starting soil and spread the spores thinly on top. Cover the pot with plastic wrap and place it in a shady spot. After several weeks, a mossy mat will grow. Keep the pot covered. The mat of green that you see is actually tiny plants that make male and female cells. After several more weeks, new ferns will emerge. When they're two to three inches high, transplant them into individual pots.
Potting new plants is relatively simple. Take a clean pot, put gravel or broken crockery in the bottom. Then, partially fill the pot with your potting soil or mixture. Do not pack the soil. Pull the root ball apart so you can spread the roots outward to the edges of the pot. This space facilitates watering. Gently firm the soil if necessary but be careful not to cover the crown of the plant. Water thoroughly to moisten all the soil.
A soil mixture for ferns must hold adequate but not excessive moisture, contain organic matter and be well drained and well aerated so air can move through the soil. Ferns prosper in soil rich with organic matter like peat moss, peat humus, leaf mold, ground sphagnum moss and manure such as cow dung etc. These plants thrive in partial or full shade, with lots of water and a little fertilizer.
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