How to Propagate ferns from Bulbils or Plantlets
Some ferns reproduce asexually, they develop growths on the tips of the fronds called bulbils or plantlets, and when they touch the moist soil they take root. This is by far the easiest and fastest way to propagate ferns. Not all ferns can be propagated this way, other are propagated from spores or by division.
Which ferns can we propagate this way
We are looking at fern species such as Asplenium bulbiferum (Hen and Chicken fern), Polystichum proliferum ( Mother Shield fern) and Polystichum setiferum (Soft shield fern).
These all produce the small new growths on the tips of the fronds, and new ferns can easily be propagated from these small growths
Bulbils on the tips of ferns make propagation easy
What are the best propagation methods
You can simply peg the fern tip down to moist ground and the bulbils will send down roots. Or you can try getting them to strike in pots.
In pots use a moisture retentive but free draining propagating mix. Some peat moss mixed with sharp sand and perlite will do.
- Fill a small pot with the mix and peg the growing tip into the pot.
- Keep moist but not soggy
- As signs of new growth appear, simply snip the new plant from the parent and keep in a cool moist position.
- In a few months the plant will have developed a root system that will allow it to potted up or planted out.
- It is also possible to propagate a wide range of ferns from spores.