Sword Fern Care – Nephrolepis obliterata

February 22, 2014 in Flowers and Bulbs by Christine

Sword Fern Care – Nephrolepis obliterata

The fern star is a vascular plant that belongs to the plant kingdom known as Pteridophyta. These plants do not have seeds or flowers but include stems, roots and leaves. The fern star plant reproduces by spores and develop what are called fiddleheads. Fiddleheads are the furled fronds, or large divided leaves of young ferns. Fronds vary in size and can range from 12 foot to 1/16 of an inch long. The fern plant is a 350 million year old species that can be found deep in the bush and is used as a landscaping tool as a tropical addition to one’s own backyard oasis or parks by creating fern gardens. Fern species grow small enough to give life to a corner in your home or large enough to be used as additional low shade in yards. Ferns grow in many different types of habitats around the world. Australia has about 420 different varieties of ferns growing in its magnificent landscape. 

Nephrolepis Obliterata Kimberly Queen and Emerald Queen

The Nephrolepis obliterata ferns are among the most popular fern varieties in Australia. Two types that originated there are the Nephrolepis obliterata ‘Kimberly Queen’ and Nephrolepis obliterata ‘Emerald Queen’. The ‘Kimberly Queen’ is also known as the Australian sword fern and has large fronds and upright sword-shaped leaves. It is confused by some to be the same as the Boston fern. However, the sword fern is more compact, tidier and easier to care for especially by those new to gardening. It is considered one of the most beautiful fern species in the world. The ‘Emerald Queen’ has upright slightly arched fronds with a soft and bushy appearance due to its apple green teeming foliage. This is a very vigorous and durable fern. It is also sometimes referred to as a sword fern.

Sword Fern Nephrolephis Obliterata Kimberly Queen Emerald Queen How to Grow Ferns
Sword Fern Care

The Nephrolepis obliterata plants are most often grown in hanging baskets or as potted plants in and around the home. Even though the Nephrolepis obliterata are the most sun tolerant of all ferns, they still grow better in light shade. They also are able to do well in full shade and almost full sun due to their very adaptable nature. The plant prefers temperatures ranging between 55 to 85 degrees. The sword fern can reach a mature size of about 2 to 3 feet. They survive in moist to well-drained soil, because they have a fine root system they need an open potting mixture that allows air and water to flow. A home gardener must be sure not to create a water logged condition for their sword fern or under water the plant as either situation will almost always result in plant death. The sword fern is quite sensitive to frost and can be killed down to the ground by only a few degrees of a freeze but may re-emerge if these conditions are not prolonged. Very little fertiliser is required for most ferns grown indoors and its best to fertilise these plants every six months with a good liquid tonic fertiliser like liquid seaweed. The Australian sword fern is easy to grow provided it has bright to moderate light but not hot afternoon sun rays, evenly moist soil and some humidity.

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