The single or bipinnate fronds of this variable genus are often curled at the tips. The leaf stalks are smooth and thin, yellow, green or brown.
• Pteris cretica is the species most often offered for sale. Its sterile young leaves have short stalks and broad feathers. Later on, upright fronds with narrower feathery leaves are formed, withappearing in a continuous line along their edges (except for at the tips of the feathers). The spore clusters are protected underneath the recurved leaf edges. There are green-leafed varieties, such as "Parkeri", "Roeweri" and "Wimsettii", and green and white striped varieties, such as "Albolineata" and "Mayi".
• Pteris ensiformis "Evergemiensis" produces very elegant small plants with green and white variegated leaves.
• Pteris argyrea has leaf fronds that shine silvery white at their bases.
• Pteris quadriaurita "Tricolor" has greenish-red fronds.
• Pteris tremula may grow to a height of over 1 m (40 in).
Origin: Tropics and subtropics, some species also in temperate regions. Exclusively terrestrial ferns.
Position: Bright to semi-shady; green foliage species also shady, no sun. Green foliage types cool (15-18° C/59-64° F); variegated ones warmer (18-20° C/64-68° F); during the winter down to 3° C (37° F). Most of the species prefer high humidity.
Care: Always keep constantly moist. During the winter, water less in cooler positions but never allow the ferns to dry out. Give low doses of fertilizer weekly from the first month of spring to the first month of autumn. Spray frequently. Repot annually during the spring.
Propagation: Fromor division.
Pests, diseases: Aphids on the young shoots.