Spores are the way that most ferns are grown along with division, and if you wondering how to grow ferns from spores at home, we have a simple method..
It is possible to propagate many fern varieties in your home garden if you follow a few basic techniques.
The most difficult part is collecting, or harvesting the spores in the first place, you first need to identify what the spores actually look like, and then collect them.
Generally spores are produced beneath the fonds and they are found in what is called called sporangia. Sometimes they appear as small brown dots, on other ferns they can appear as lines of spores.
The production of spores begins with pale immature spores in the sporangia. As the spores ripen, they will darken. You need to collect the spores just before they ripen. So as they darken begin the process.
Collecting Fern Spores
Once you have identified that a particular fern is producing spores you collect a part of the frond with the spores attached. This is generally late summer to autumn, again depending on climate and fern species
That part of the frond needs to be placed on a sheet of paper or in an envelope, and usually within a day or two the spores will begin to drop onto the paper.
Along with the spores a little light material (chaff) that surrounds the spores will also drop off.
You can seperate the two by simply tilting the paper, the waste material usually falls away, leaving the spores behind.
So now you are ready to sow the spores.
Germinating Fern Spores
You need a fine growing medium, very finely chopped sphagnum moss or completely composted leaf mould is ideal, you can also use fine coir peat or peat moss.
- Pour boiling water over the growing medium before using and allow it to dry a little. This will sterilise the medium and help prevent fungal problems.
- A layer of vermiculite beneath the growing medium should be used if possible to maintain good moisture and drainage.
- The growing medium can be placed in a shallow container.
- The spores are spread as evenly as possible over the top.
- A very light mist spray at this time will be about all the moisture you will need.
- Cover the container with a clear lid with some holes or a gap for ventilation, and place it in a warm position, however NOT in direct sunlight.
The spores can take 1 – 2 months to germinate, depending on warmth, humidity and the variety of fern.
After a while you will see a mass of green, known as prothalli, this is the best part as true propagation begins here.
As soon as the green appears begin to mist spray, do not soak the medium, just a light spray every day or two, never allowing the medium to dry out.
Growing the sporlings on.
In a few weeks you will see the tiny little ferns (sporlings) appear. These can be gently transplanted into individual pots, mist sprayed and grown on, again under the cover of a plastic lid. Once individual fronds are evident and they reach a good size they ready to pot up, harden off and then transplant into the garden or container.