Pteris with thin and colorful foliage will serve as a decoration for any room, they can be recommended for landscaping not only living rooms but also offices. These ferns will look especially advantageous on low stands, shelves, or tables, this is a good plant for creating green walls and various flower arrangements. But Pteris leaves are quite fragile, do not place them in places where children play and there are animals.

Description of Pteris


Pteris – is a cosmopolitan genus of ferns in the family Pteridaceae, growing on all continents except Antarctica. Usually, they are inhabitants of mature forests, less often they can be found in secondary forests, in clearings, along rocky streams, and sometimes on rocks and trees. Most Pteris grows in tropical or subtropical climates, but some species have mastered temperate regions.

The name of the genus comes from the Greek Pteris, which means “wing”, it is given due to the shape of the leaf blade.

This is one of the most diverse genera of ferns, there are about 200 species in it, often very different in morphology and habitat conditions. It is probably polyphyletic (the species collected in it come from different ancestors). Modern research at the genetic level will help to streamline the taxonomy of ferns.

A common feature for all species united in the genus Pteris is the bordering arrangement of sporangia in one line along the marginal vein, covered from above by the folded edge of the leaf blade.

These are herbaceous perennial plants. From an erect or creeping short rhizome covered with scales, flat fronds (leaves) collected in a rosette extend upward. Petioles are erect, thin, approximately equal to the leaf blade. Young leaves are rolled into a spiral, which gradually unwinds as it grows. The leaf blade is from pinnate to four-pinnately cut, with pairs of leaflets (segments) located on both sides of the rachis (central part), with the basal leaflets being the shortest and often forked branched. Subsequent pairs are longer, and then become shorter again, and the leaf blade ends in a thin and long unpaired segment. The leaflets of spore-bearing leaves are narrower, with a curled edge, while the leaflets of vegetative leaves are usually linear-lanceolate, with a sharp top.

The primary root is quickly replaced by many small, branched adventitious roots that grow along the entire length of the rhizome.

Home care


They prefer bright light, diffused in summer. Avoid direct sunlight on the plant, which will cause color loss and leaf burns. In winter, give the fern the brightest spot. It is advisable at this time to organize artificial illumination for it with fluorescent or LED lamps, or at least ordinary household ones, placing them directly above the plant, avoiding the contact of the leaves with the lamp. The length of daylight hours is 10-14 hours.


The temperature is optimal within + 18 … + 24 o C with a decrease of several degrees at night. The minimum allowable is +13 o C. Pteris do not need a mandatory winter rest, but if there is a lack of light, it is advisable to lower the temperature to + 16 … + 18 o C. When placing on the windowsills, check the temperature near the bottom of the pot with a thermometer, do not allow the roots to cool.


The air humidity must be high. In dry air, especially during the heating season, regularly spray (2-6 times a day) the crown from a fine spray or use other methods to increase air humidity (household humidifiers, fountains, pebble trays). At temperatures below +18 o C, stop spraying so as not to provoke fungal diseases.


Pteris prefer constantly moderately moist soil, but can tolerate short drying out. Water them regularly from above with settled water at room temperature, as soon as the topmost layer of soil dries up. Be sure to drain the excess water from the pallet, from waterlogging the fern roots will begin to rot. When the temperature drops to +15 o C for more than 2 days, limit the frequency and abundance of watering, let the soil dry out from above by about 1 cm.

Use a universal complex fertilizer with microelements, apply it in ¼ dosages from April to September.

Soil and transplant

For pteris, ready-made universal peat soil with the addition of about 1/4 of the volume of perlite is suitable. The growth rate of pteris in good conditions is quite high, therefore, the transplant is carried out often, as the roots fill the volume of the pot, once every 1-2 years, by careful transfer with the addition of fresh soil to the bottom and sides of the coma. Choose a small pot, 2 cm larger in diameter than the previous, standard shape.


Overgrown specimens, when the diameter of the pot is 25 cm, can be divided into several parts during transplantation. Each division should have at least 1-2 rhizomes with leaves. After splitting the ferns, incubate the ferns for about a month in a greenhouse with high air humidity. Pteris also reproduce with the help of spores that form in the sporangia on the underside of the leaves, but this method is more laborious and time consuming compared to division. Often young self-sown ferns can be found in nearby pots, they can be carefully planted.


Pruning is reduced to the removal of dead or unkempt leaves with a sharp knife or pruning shears as close to the rhizome as possible, this will help maintain a healthy plant shape and new growth.


Possible damage by mealybug (cotton-like white clusters in the sinuses), scabbard (small plaques that look like droplets of wax), aphids (small insects gathered in large groups, more often on the upper parts of the plant). If a pest is found, treat the plant with Aktara.

Possible problems when growing pteris

  • Yellowing and death of leaves, the appearance of brown dry edges occurs from overdrying of the soil, too low humidity, high temperatures.
  • Pale leaves appear with an excess of light, burns form on the leaves in direct sun.
  • Loss of turgor by leaves can occur when the coma cools or from excessive watering, leading to decay of the roots.

Types of Pteris

In the pteris culture since the middle of the 18th century, about 30 ornamental species are grown in the open field of the subtropical and tropical zones, where they are sometimes naturalized. And in cooler climates, these are popular indoor and greenhouse plants. There are many variegated forms among them. Many species of pteris have the ability to take high concentrations of arsenic and antimony from the soil and accumulate in themselves. It can be used in the purification of drinking water from these harmful impurities.

Pteris Cretan (Pteris cretica)  grows in Greece, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Caucasus. Perennial terrestrial plant 30-60 cm in height. Creeping rhizome, covered with brown bristles. Sterile (vegetative) leaves 30-40 cm long, fertile (fertile) leaves up to 60 cm or more. Petioles 15-30 cm long, erect, rigid, flexible, glabrous, yellow or light brown. Leaf blades are pinnate, 15-30 cm long and 10-20 cm wide, ovoid or oval in outline, leathery. Segments of vegetative leaves are located oppositely on the rachis, up to 7 pairs, 7-15 (20) cm in length and up to 2 cm in width, linear-lanceolate, dentate along the edge, extended to the apex, acute, almost sessile, while the lower pair is often forked into two or three linear segments. Fertile leaves have narrower, whole-edged segments. This species lacks wings along the rachis.

In culture since 1820. It is widely cultivated worldwide as a container and pot plant, and in the subtropical regions of the southern zone, it is grown outdoors. Has many decorative forms:

Pteris Cretan Albolineata
Pteris Cretan Albolineata

Pteris Cretan Mayii
Pteris Cretan Mayii

  • Parkeri is a cultivar with wide green leaves that forms dense thickets. Reaches 80 cm.
  • Childsii  – with wide, incised leaves and small crested tips.
  • Distinction – the variety is smaller than the main species, with deeply lobed leaves branched at the tips.
  • Rivertoniana is a very decorative and easy-growing fern with lacy leaves. An unusual variety with long, pointed, irregularly cut leaves in 4-5 pairs, often with small ridges at the tips.
  • Wimsettii is a more advanced form of Rivertoniana. Compact, with deeply and irregularly cut leaves, the tips of which are often comb-like. It can reach 60 cm.
  • Rowerii is a very attractive and hardy compact fern with frilly, deep green leaves. Grows up to 40 cm.
  • Wilsonii – with lobed leaves, often with fan-shaped crests at the tips of the leaflets.
  • Gautheri – wide leaves are characteristic of it.
  • Ouvardii has narrow, linear leaves.
  • Albolineata is a variety with a narrow, creamy white stripe in the middle of each leaf. Grows up to 40 cm.
  • Mayii   – in addition to a light stripe in the center, it has highly branched leaf tips. Compact, up to 40 cm, and very decorative variety.
  • Alexandreae is a variety with white variegation, the tips of the leaves are cut and twisted.

Pteris Cretan Roweri
Pteris Cretan Roweri

Pteris Cretan Wimsettii
Pteris Cretan Wimsettii

Pteris Cretan Wimsettii
Pteris Cretan Wimsettii

Pteris trembling Pteris tremula) is native to eastern Australia and New Zealand, where it grows in the tropical forests or protected areas. This is a large terrestrial fern with an erect rhizome covered with narrow brown scales. Fries up to 2 m long, triple pinnate or more complex, pale green, lacy. Possesses a fast growth rate and in warm climates easily naturalizes, often becoming a weed plant.

Pteris longifolia (Pteris longifolia) – grows in the tropical forests of Central and South America. Creeping rhizomes are covered with brown scales. Leaves with short petioles, can reach a length of 80 cm, with a width of about 10-20 cm.The leaf blades are pinnate, consist of 10-30 pairs of narrow segments (each of which is 5-10 cm long and about 1 cm wide), diverging from the rachis almost at right angles.

Pteris tape (Pteris vittata) is   native to Asia, southern Europe, tropical Africa and Australia. It can often be found in cities, where it settles in cracked buildings and concrete structures. Naturalized in California, Texas, and the Southeastern United States. Possesses a high degree of absorption of arsenic from the soil.

The rhizome is short, creeping or raised, about 8 mm in diameter, covered with brown bristles. Leaves closely spaced, curved, herbaceous to slightly leathery. Petioles 20 (5-50) cm long, brown, glabrous, with age at the base covered with scales. The leaf blade is oblong-lanceolate in outline, up to 1 m long and 40 cm wide, pinnate, with 20-40 linear segments tapering at the apices, located opposite each other on the rachis, and one terminal at the end. The middle segments are the longest, up to 15 cm, and no more than 1 cm wide. Outwardly, it is very similar to long-leaved pteris, but the segments of its leaf depart from the rachis at a sharper angle.

Pteris xiphoid (Pteris ensiflormis) is native to the Asia-Pacific region. A fern with narrow triangular, double-pinnate, dark green leaves, often with grayish-white stripes. Fertile fronds 30-45 cm long, with 4-5 pairs of lateral parts extending from the rachis, each with several dentate basal segments. Sterile leaves are shorter, with narrower, non-overlapping lobes. In culture, there are mainly two varieties:

  • Evergemiensis – reaches 30-40 cm in height and about 60-80 cm in width. A very attractive domed fern with spectacular variegated double-pinnate leaves, which consist of narrow segments with silvery-white stripes in the middle and dark green, slightly wavy at the edges. Commonly known as Silver Lace.
  • Victoriae – slightly different from Evergemiensis in that its sterile leaves are smaller and less decorative, and the variegated stripe is located only along the central axis.

Pteris mnogonadrezanny (Pteris multifida)  come from Korea, China, Japan, Vietnam, widely naturalized elsewhere. Fern with short creeping rhizomes, densely covered with dark reddish-brown scales. Leaves up to 60 cm in height and about 25 cm in width. Petioles are sometimes scaly at the base and glabrous above, dark brown to straw. On the rachis there are from 3 to 7 pairs of very narrow and long segments, the lower ones are dissected, the upper ones are simple, connected by a winged rachis, sometimes with a serrated edge. It looks like a spider, hence its name Spider fern.

Pteris umbrella Pteris umbrosa
Pteris umbrella Pteris umbrosa

Pteris shady Pteris umbrosa ) grows in the jungles of Eastern Australia. In shady places, it can form large colonies. Small populations found near Sydney, possibly through naturalization. The rhizome is short-creeping, covered with small dark brown scales. Leaves grow vertically upward, reaching 1–2 m, from pinnately dissected to incompletely double pinnately dissected, dark green. Petioles beige to red-brown, more than 30 cm long. Rachis is brown. Segments are narrow-lanceolate, smooth, 10-30 cm long, sometimes finely serrated along the edges of sterile leaves.


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