During the 1980’s when I was teaching Home Economics in grade school, I used to display specimens of various ornamental and herbal plants at the premises of the H.E. building during school-evaluation to impress the Province’s educators/supervisors. One of those plants was a wonderful specimen of Staghorn Fern (Platycerium). It became a conversation piece at my H.E. garden; my colleagues even asked for offsets of it. (That plant eventually died after many years.)
Sopronia, my orchid dealer, brought me a pair of young Platycerium last October 2011; she got it from a plant farm in Davao. Both male and female young Staghorn ferns were mounted on barks of black tree ferns. My grandsons thought they look like weird crepes or inverted capes. Generally,they got nice compliments from my friends and visitors.
I always thought Foxtail fern (Asparagus densiflorus ‘Meyersii’) is a pretentious plant, beautiful but not that friendly. This is also given descriptive names such as Ponytail, Bottle Brush, and Emerald fern. This evergreen shrub has stems that look very much like tails of foxes. I’ve witnessed some dog-people touching it, trying to pat the plant only to find out that the “tails” are cactus-like. Yet, despite the plant’s low friendliness rating, many gardeners would agree that the Foxtail’s dense foliage, round feather shape and deep emerald color make this shrub very attractive.
I’ve had several potted Foxtails this during the 1980’s. Oftentimes, I’ve included some of its stems in bouquets and floral arrangements. Well I guessed that practice stressed out my Foxtail because it eventually died. After a long period without it, my friend Boging (a plant dealer) brought me a new shrub of Foxtail to add to my fern group last August 3.
This plant requires attention when in a new environment or when repotted. Like people, it also needs time to adjust to its new home. In addition, I’ve noticed that Foxtail Ferns would express their approval or disapproval on the TLC (tender, loving, care) I’m giving them. The color of their leaves would “communicate” how they feel — green informs that it is happy; yellow warns that it needs more water; and brown cries out for help because it’s drowning.
This plant could grow up to 2 feet when grown outdoors. However, I refrained from planting it as ground cover because it’s quite invasive with an attitude like that of a ribbon grass. Instead, I placed its pot on my winding plant stand at a shady area; the more sunlight it gets, the faster it grows. With regards to soil medium, I’ve mixed equal parts of loam, sand, and rice hulls. I haven’t put fertilizer on it yet because it’s still adjusting here in my garden.
From my trip to Hermie’s private garden in Segapod, Lanao del Norte, I brought home some addition to my fern collection.
One of the interesting ferns I’ve got is the ‘Crocodyllus’( Microsorum musifolium). Its leaves look like the hide of a crocodile, thus, earning the title as the ‘Crocodile Fern’. This fern thrives well in areas where there is bright indirect sunlight and shaded places.
I’ve also got a cultivar of the Philippine Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus). The one in the photo above is recently re-potted in a shell. This aquatic fern is endemic here in the Philippines and is usually used as ornamental plants in large aquariums. I’ve learned that this hardy plant easy to care for since it thrives well both on land and water.
The ‘Osaka Fern’ (Asplenium antiquum) is perhaps the most expensive fern I’ve ever have. The ‘Osaka’ has similar glossy leaves to that of the regular Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus) except that this Japanese plant has undulated leaves–wavy edges that is. I’ve put this one in a shady area near my gate.
The variegated leaves of Pteris ensifomis cv. Evergemiensis certainly add a dainty charm to my fern group. It is also known as the ‘Silver Lace Fern’ because of the silvery lace-like bands running at the center of the narrow green leaves.This one is also at the shaded area near the house gate.
I first saw this ‘Zipper Fern’ (Asplenium nidus cv. ‘Plicatum’) at Mrs. Lopez’s garden in Camp Philipps, Bukidnon. This variety is referred to as ‘Plicatum’ because its leaves have folds or ‘plaits’ and it earned the name ‘Zipper because the folds are close to each other. It looks similar to the ‘Lasagna fern’ too and has needs like the regular Bird’s Nest Fern.
This fern is known as the ‘India Feather’ due to its feathery-looking dark green leaves; the edge of the leaves has a series of curves. It is a hybrid of Bolbitis x sinousa. I still don’t know how this plant tick or fit in my fern group.
This is my young mutant Asplenium nidus. Presently, this Bird’s Nest fern has a single forked leaf. It’s probably called ‘Silver Split’ due to the grayish green color, the scattered dark green mottling throughout the leaves, and the forked tip of the leaves especially when the fern is fully grown.
Alambrillo (Adiantum capillus-veneris Linn.) is a fern commonly known as the Maidenhair fern. Ages ago when hair spa is unheard of,the local hilot (medicine man of the village) would concoct a lotion for falling hair or baldness using this fern.