Polypodium Ferns

This large, variable genus is well known as an ornamental outdoor fern.

Some species are indigenous to Europe, such as Polypodium vulgare whose roots were often used as a planting medium for orchids and epiphytes years ago. Most of the species, however, are accustomed to warm climates and will only flourish indoors in a temperate climate. Unfortunately, they are not often found for sale in the gardening trade. These plants possess creeping rhizomes and feathered or undivided leaves. The mostly circular spore clusters appear in rows parallel to the central ribs. They are protected by hairs. Often, the leaves are slightly depressed wherever the spores are situated. Usually slow-growing.



• Polypodium polycarpon and its varieties are most common. They have narrow, undivided, leathery, up to 50 cm (20 in) long leaves which, in some varieties, may be dentate or forked at the tip as in "Grandiceps".

• Polypodium longifolium has very narrow, long leaves that are 2 cm (3/ in) wide and 60 cm (24 in) long.

• Polypodium lucidum and Polypodium scandens are among the species with feathered leaves.

Family: Polypodiaceae.

Origin: Generally found in the tropics or subtropics. Polypodium grow as terrestrial or rock ferns but also as epiphytes.

Position: Bright to semi-shady, no sunlight. Even room temperatures all year round; may be cooler during the winter (down to 12° C/ 54° F). These plants prefer medium humidity.

Care: Keep evenly moist during the spring and summer months but avoid water-logging. Water less during the winter. Give low doses of fertilizer weekly from the first month of spring to the first month of autumn. Make sure ventilation is good. Usually these plants are grown as epiphytes but they can also be planted in pots. Make sure the compost is permeable and only repot if necessary during the spring.

Propagation: From division or spores.

Pests, diseases: Scale insects.

01. June 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: House Plants, Indoor Ferns | Tags: | Comments Off on Polypodium Ferns


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