The silver lace fern is a popular houseplant that has striking fronds. It requires special care to grow well but makes a rewarding hanging container plant where the fronds cascade elegantly. This guide tells you all about the silver lace fern Pteris Quadriaurita.
Our experts included the best soil conditions, water, and how to propagate silver lace ferns to expand your garden or share with friends. This is a fascinating species of plant that is great as a first plant.
What is a Silver Lace Fern?
The silver lace fern is a species of fern that originates in Southeast Asia. The fern gets its name from the silvery color that predominates each frond’s centers and extends into the delicate outer fronds. A striking dark green amplifies the vividness of the silver, making for a stunning variety.
Silver lace ferns are fast-growing plants with special care requirements, but once you know the right way to care for them, they make very rewarding and unique houseplants.
How to Care for Silver Lace Fern Plants
Ferns are somewhat unique plants with different care requirements from many common plants. The silver lace fern has specific needs that are essential to healthy growth. When a silver lace fern is well cared for, it can live for many years and get quite large.
They can grow three feet tall and just as wide. When grown in hanging baskets, you can trim the fronds to control the size of the plant.
Ferns belong to a group of plants that reproduce through spores rather than seeds. That means you won’t be able to start a silver lace fern from seeds. Instead, you’ll either purchase a growing plant or use a common method to propagate a new silver lace fern.
We’ll explain how easy it is.
Use a sharp, sterile knife and remove at least 2-inches of a healthy rhizome. Immediately put the cutting in moist soil. Taking a rhizome with at least one stem will improve the fern’s growth rate, and this is a great way to give silver lace ferns to your friends.
You can also take rhizome cuttings to control the growth of the plant. You can reuse the original pot for several years in this manner, provided the soil is adequately suited to the silver lace fern, and it receives the correct fertilizers.
– Soil and Fertilizer Requirements
Unlike most plants, ferns grow best in peat-rich soil. This creates a light, well-draining soil for silver lace fern, but it doesn’t retain much water. Rhizomes will grow slower and less successfully in soil that compacts easily and will rot in soil that doesn’t drain well.
You can purchase commercially-made potting soil for ferns or make your own. To make your potting soil for ferns, mix one-third part peat or sphagnum moss, one-third part potting soil, and one-third part an equal mix of sand, gravel, and charcoal.
– What Type of Fertilizer Works
Fast-draining soil for silver lace fern doesn’t hold nutrients well. You’ll want to regularly provide silver lace fern fertilizer to enhance your plant’s growth and overall health.
Ferns are particularly sensitive to burning from strong fertilizers, so choose an 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 and dilute the dose with twice as much water. You should also water your silver lace fern well immediately after fertilizing to reduce the chances of burning.
How Often Should It Get Fertilized
You should give monthly fertilizer to mature plants throughout the growing season and every five to eight weeks during fall and winter when growth is slower. Plants under eight weeks old should not be given fertilizer as it will do more harm than good. If a mature plant shows slow or little growth, you should check if the plant isn’t root-bound.
– Water Requirements
The environment ferns prefer the most is moist, but not wet or soggy. The plant can’t tolerate droughts, and even irregular watering silver lace fern plants can lead to problems.
It’s a good idea to water a growing silver lace fern every few days when the top half-inch of soil begins to feel dry. The root structure of the silver lace fern needs water to pass slowly to maximize plant health. The roots grow primarily on the soil’s surface layer, so soaking in water may not provide enough water.
– Humidity is Necessary
The silver lace fern needs to have a moderate temperature and reasonably high humidity.
The plants will thrive in places with more than 50 percent humidity, which isn’t always possible in your home, particularly in summer when the AC is on. You can increase humidity for the plant by misting the fronds daily.
You can spray both the top and bottom of the fronds. Another method of improving humidity is to place the pot on a tray of gravel, pebbles, or pumice stones with water just below the top of the stones. This keeps the pot out of the water, and evaporating moisture improves the humidity.
– Light Requirements
Like many fern species, the silver lace fern is a dappled shade-loving plant. Placing your silver lace fern in direct sunlight will cause various problems that can cause the fronds to dry out, wilt, and even die.
Moderately bright, indirect light is all that is required for this plant to grow well, one of the reasons it does so well indoors. The average room temperature in the United States is ideal for this plant which thrives between 60 and 75 degrees.
Can You Grow Silver Lace Ferns in the Garden?
The plant will tolerate warm temperatures provided humidity and water are plentiful but will not survive in temperatures below 50 degrees. Silver lace ferns are great in hanging baskets. They are relatively easy to transport to north-facing patios to get the most out of indirect lighting.
There are a few problems that growers encounter with the silver lace fern. Fortunately, the most common issues are quickly resolved once you know the signs to watch out for. We will cover how to identify a few problems and give you tips on caring for your fern.
- Drooping, wilting fronds: A sign that the fern is under-watered is when the fronds droop. If the fronds are yellowing as they droop, that indicates the soil isn’t draining well enough, and the fern is overwatered. If the soil is wet consistently between waterings, you’ll need to repot the plant. You’ll likely find root rot, which will make rhizomes mushy. Cut these parts out and discard them, then replant the remaining rhizomes and roots in clean soil.
- Dry, crispy feeling fronds: This is a sign of inadequate humidity. It’s important to remember to mist the leaves or provide additional humidity quickly. If left unchecked, low humidity will quickly kill a silver lace fern plant.
- Spots on the fronds and stems: Blight is an uncommon problem for many ferns but can appear yellowish or brown spots on fronds and stems, which grow larger and darker over time. If you have an infected fern, it can’t be saved and should be destroyed.
- Root Binding: It’s common for a fern to become root-bound. The symptoms may happen very rapidly, with fronds yellowing and the plant seeming as though it is dead. Other times, the plant will slow in growth, grow out of the pot, or even break the pot. Transplant to a slightly larger pot each spring to prevent root-bound ferns.
- Crinkled, dead, or brown tips: Over-fertilization can cause the fronds to become deformed and frequently result in scorched, burned edges. If your plant is showing signs of over-fertilization, you should flush the soil with water. It may be necessary to repot the plant in clean soil to prevent the plant from dying.
- Mealybugs: one of the most common pests for fern growers is the mealybug. These soft-bodied insects suck sap from the fronds and can damage or destroy a healthy plant quickly. You can often rinse mealy bugs off your plant in the shower, but make sure the leaves can dry well to prevent blight. A mild mixture of isopropyl alcohol and water will kill mealy bugs.
- Mites: Spider mites can infest the silver lace fern. You’ll often see white, fuzzy webs in the nodes of the fern, especially in the center. Spider mites can usually be rinsed off in the shower, but a spray of 5 percent isopropyl alcohol and water mixture will effectively kill them as well.
- The silver lace fern is a beautiful variety from Asia that makes an excellent houseplant.
- Soil for silver lace fern is different from most houseplants and requires regular silver lace fern fertilizer and watering.
- Humidity is a key to the health of silver lace ferns, but they don’t like direct light or temperatures below 50 degrees.
- You can buy premade potting soil for ferns or make your own.
- Propagating silver lace ferns is done through rhizome separation and is a great way to share the plant with friends.
- Common problems with silver lace ferns are typically caused by improper watering, low humidity, improper feeding, but rarely due to insects.
The silver lace fern is a striking and unique plant that starts conversations. The bold color combination is both elegant and tropical. Many people place silver lace fern plants on wire stands as decor in their homes or hang them in baskets to add texture and intrigue to bright, indirectly lit parts of the home.
Growing silver lace ferns is slightly different from growing most plants, but that makes it more special. You’ll come to love your silver lace fern and enjoy the special care requirements of this tropical houseplant.
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