Asplenium is a spectacular and unpretentious fern that can be grown both as a herb for the open ground of a personal plot and as an indoor flower. In nature, it is found in almost all climatic zones, but, depending on the place of growth, its varieties and characteristics change. In tropical latitudes, its leaves can grow up to 2 meters in length, and the plant itself looks like a large green fountain. As it moves into more temperate zones, its size becomes more modest, the northern asplenium is a potted version of tropical varieties.
The plant belongs to the extensive Aspleniev family, it can be both an epiphytic and a terrestrial fern, in most species adapted for growing at home.
On the territory of our country, there are 11 wild varieties of culture. The shape of the rosette leaves can vary greatly depending on the species; the plates can be solid, pinnately dissected, with partially wavy edges, as well as elongated xiphoid or triangular. Spores traditionally form at the bottom of the leaf. The rhizome is covered with soft small scales, short vertical or creeping in appearance. As it grows, the bush spreads out in breadth due to the constant growth of leaves from the center of the rosette.
This fern reacts extremely painfully to touching the leaves, therefore, when caring for asplenium, it is recommended to touch it as little as possible.
Popular types of asplenium with photos
When choosing a variety for growing in open soil, it is worth paying attention to species that naturally grow in temperate latitudes. They will take their rightful place on an alpine slide, in a rockery, in a rocky garden, because they like to settle in shady forests on mountain slopes and on rocks. If you plan to grow Asplenium as a houseplant, then tropical species will be the best choice.
It is an epiphytic species that settles on living trees, plants or snags. In culture, the cultivation of such species requires a special approach and is not recommended for beginners. Caring for such species bears great similarity to the cultivation of representatives of the Bromeliad family. The leaves of this type of kostinets are whole, leathery, dark green, up to 75 cm in length, forming a wide-opening rosette. In the wild, it serves to accumulate water and various organic matter, which is used as food.
A widespread herb for open ground, deciduous form with triangular elongated feathery leaves up to half a meter long in a light green shade. Brood buds are formed on them over time, giving rise to numerous children. At high air humidity, they can take root on their own, falling on the soil substrate after separating from the mother bush. The native land of the species is New Zealand.
Asplenium South Asian
The place of natural growth is Polynesia. Epiphytic variety with wide and very long leaves, reaching 1.5 m in length in good conditions. The leaf rosette is narrow and dense, funnel-shaped. Whole, often unevenly cut leaves are inverse lanceolate, tapering sharply towards the bottom and widening towards the middle and above. The base of the rosette is very narrow, the rhizome is powerful, straight, short with a large number of adventitious branches.
Asplenium is live-bearing
Terrestrial variety with long (over half a meter) dissected arcuate leaves. Just like the lekovycenoid species, they give children capable of independent rooting. Homeland – the island of Madagascar.
It is widely distributed in all climatic zones, therefore it can be grown on a personal plot. Frost resistance is high, does not require shelter in winter. Undemanding to the characteristics of the soil, caring for the hairy asplenium can be considered easy. This is a low fern up to 15-20 cm. Leaves are linear, feathery, drooping, retaining their color in winter. The rhizome is straight and short.
The leaves of this variety are considered medicinal, have an expectorant, mild sedative and laxative effect. Can be used as a substitute for tea.
Epiphyte with a developed creeping root system and wide dark green glossy leathery leaves with wavy edges. In length, they can reach 90 cm. A dark brown, almost black large vein with smaller ones extending from it runs along the center of the leaf plate, which looks very impressive.
Asplenium antica (osaka)
A very rare variety that can only be found in hobbyist collectors (due in part to its high cost). A distinctive feature of the species is the almost upright standing leaves, reaching a meter in length. They have a very beautiful shape with corrugated edges, a deep green deep color and a shiny surface.
A heat-loving species that can be grown outdoors only in hot climates, no colder than the Black Sea coast. In more northern regions, requires shelter or is grown at home.
Variety, widespread in the temperate zone, but preferring mountainous areas and stony calcareous soils. The rhizome is short, oblique. From it, on shortened petioles, feathery leaves, shortened in comparison with other varieties, grow no more than 20 cm long. All segments of the leaf shoot lie in the same plane. Petioles, like leaves, are colored green. It can be grown in the garden and in rock gardens, the place for planting must be chosen shady and damp.
When grown in the open field and at home, care is based on the same rules of agricultural technology.
The plant does not tolerate too hot conditions, but in general, the optimal indicator depends on humidity. The drier the air, the lower the temperature. On average, daytime readings should be within + 20 … + 23C, and nighttime readings should be 5 degrees lower. In winter, when kept at home, the same indicators may remain, but the fern will feel better in the temperature range of + 15 … + 19C. The lower threshold is + 12C, at which the plant may already die, especially in a humid environment.
Placing the pot on a lighted windowsill or placing it in a fully open area in the garden is not recommended. In extreme cases, it can be an east or north window, and on the site there is an openwork shadow.
Regular watering is required at intervals of up to 3 times a week. In the open ground, it is possible to get away from watering only with regular precipitation. Use water that is separated and soft, at room temperature, it should not be too cold when watering on the site. The soil should be permanently moistened without waterlogging, excess moisture can provoke decay of the rhizome. In winter, homemade kostenets are watered less often, no more than once a week, but at the same time it should not stand in the immediate vicinity of central heating radiators.
For indoor asplenium, a higher than average air humidity is recommended, but the room must be ventilated. You can practice spraying, but to ensure constant humidity, it is better to place a tray filled with wet expanded clay, peat or sphagnum under the fern pot.
The main requirements are looseness and moisture, the reaction is slightly acidic, and good drainage. The composition may be dominated by peat, it is also permissible, along with peat, an equal content of sand and earth (leaf and turf). Crushed charcoal and sphagnum marsh moss will perfectly improve the soil characteristics.
Ferns do not like narrow pots, for their cultivation, you should choose a sufficiently wide container.
It is recommended to fertilize the plant during the active growing season at intervals of 2-4 weeks. In winter, feeding is unnecessary and even harmful. If liquid mineral complexes are used, their concentration should be halved from that recommended by the manufacturer.
In the first 2-3 years, the plant develops quickly enough and requires an annual transplant, which, regardless of the conditions of detention, must be done in the spring. In the future, the signal to change the container will be filling the pot with roots. In the open field, culture transplantation is not required.
Indoor asplenium is easy to propagate by dividing when transplanting a bush, when the size of the rosette is sufficient for this, and the bush itself is strong enough. Varieties such as bulbous or viviparous are easily propagated by children, which will only have to be dug up after rooting and transplanted into a separate container (or immediately put on a moistened substrate in another container). In theory, reproduction by spores is also possible, but in fact this is a very laborious and lengthy process that is used only by professionals and breeders.
For faster and better rooting of children, it is recommended to cover them with a plastic container.
Despite the fact that asplenium is called a flower, it is almost impossible to see its flowering, since ferns do not bloom in principle.
Possible growing problems
From insect pests, the appearance of spider mites and scale insects is possible. To deal with it follows the traditional methods.
Many problems can be attributed to inaccuracies in care.
- Brown spots or streaks appear at the bottom of the leaf blade. This moment confuses many newcomers, in fact, in this way the formation of disputes begins during the sporulation period. If this does not happen, you also do not need to worry, spores mature only on sufficiently mature specimens.
- The tips of the leaves begin to dry – a sign of excessive moisture or, conversely, drying out of the substrate.
- If they curl, but do not dry, then the problem may be too low temperature content or constant draft, which Asplenium does not like.
- Blanching of leaves or traces of burns – excessive lighting, an excess of bright light. At the same time, it is necessary to transfer the plant to another place gradually, not immediately from a bright place to a dark one, so as not to aggravate the problem with stress and a too short adaptation period.
- Sluggish leaves – the reason is excess moisture in the soil, constant overflow, as a result of which, most likely, putrefactive processes in the root system have already begun. Watering should be stopped and the plant observed. If improvement does not occur or the problem progresses, an urgent transplant with a thorough revision of the roots is required.