There are two distinct stages of the fern life cycle. Place in clean, sealable plastic bags, label and keep out of direct sunlightOnce potted and sealed, the little fern plants are again fairly trouble free and should be left to grow. Place in clean, sealable plastic bag, label and keep out of direct sunlightAfter sowing each pan, place in a sealable plastic bag and wash your hands to reduce cross-contamination. take from 2 to 6 weeks to germinate. There are two distinct stages of the fern life cycle. Spores should be sparsely sprinkled on a medium such as finely chopped tree Alternatively, you may pot up the plants and acclimatise them after potting by giving them some temporary cover and misting if they show signs of wilting, again over a week or two. The mix should drain well. Something that slows it down is the prothalli being too crowded – try taking out some and hence making holes in the blanket of growth if the spores have been sown thickly. The container should be covered with How to Grow Ferns From Spores: Last spring I bought a lovely maidenhair fern for my balcony garden. Growing ferns from spores The fern life cycle. Choose pots or modules suitable to the size of the plants and of the bags you intend to use. spores on the underside of the leaves. Water the pots and allow to drain overnight. Prothalli just forming, prothalli well grown with true ferns just starting, and prothalli replaced by small fern plants. Clean a suitable sowing containerSuitable containers include small plastic pots, translucent plastic boxes or cut down milk bottles. Instead, they mainly reproduce by spores. Allow to coolAllow to cool completely before sowing. also forms an excellent germination base. Ferns do not flower but reproduce sexually from spores. This is because the fern plants have been in their own microclimate in the plastic bag since sowing and it’s stressful to be introduced to the outside world. Mature plants produce Remove the kitchen towel immediately prior to sowing.This will remove any stray weed spores that may have landed while the tray was cooling. This should happen naturally, but may take some time. Mature plants produce spores on the underside of the leaves. Do not add any fertiliser at this stage. Materials such as sharp Look for the formation of prothalli (see pictures)Spores do not grow directly into ferns. Whatever method you chose, some losses are likely, but many will survive. They may form after a few weeks or a few months or even a year after sowing. Further potting up should be into a coarser textured mix with relatively high Initially prothalli are formed. It is important to sterilise the germination mixture before sowing the fern The developing ferns should not be containing a finely sifted soil mixture. When these germinate they grow into small heart-shaped plants known as prothalli. Ensure they have drainage holes. Fill with compost to 1-3 cm below rimFerns are not generally fussy as to compost – however, peat based is ideal and coir is often not suitable. Towards the end of June I went away for a week on vacation. STEP 4  A well grown fern plant ready for planting out in the garden, This information is also available as the BPS Spore sowing leaflet. spores by pouring boiling water over it This kills the spores of fungi and After a few weeks the germinating spores appear as a mossy growth. some airspace) and kept at around 20 degrees C in indirect light. Prepare potsEnsure pots/modules are clean and fill with compost. It grew happily and soon became one of my favorites. Fill with compost to 1-3 cm below rim The Fern Growers Manual by Barbara Joe Hoshizaki (Knopf, 1979) thoroughly covers the various possible combinations. They can be slow and it may be up to a year before you will want to pot them on again, STEPS 3 & 4 – Spore pan ready for patching out, and a tray of patchings reading for potting. Spores Ferns do not flower but reproduce sexually from spores. appear as black, brown or yellow 'powder' which is a mixture of spores and river sand and gravel-sized charcoal pieces may be useful for this purpose. Wait until small plants are filling their pots and are well established so they are more able to survive the move. prothalli are formed and well developed they may be pricked off into a punnet
2020 growing ferns from spores