Blechnum gibbum 'Silver Lady'.
(Some sources state that the species was reclassified as Oceaniopteris gibba in 2016; however, this isn't an accepted name according to Kew Science).
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We'd recommend locating your Silver lady Fern in a location that promotes good levels of indirect light and humidity. The ideal site would be within two metres of a north or east-facing window, along with the light being able to penetrate the compost to alleviate the risk of soil mould. Prolonged exposure of the sun's rays will result in severe dehydration and bleaching, and for information regarding the rejuvenation of crispy specimens, scroll down to the "Common Issues' section now!
Allow the soil's top third to dry out in between irrigations, reducing this slightly further in the autumn and winter. Do not, under any circumstances, promote periods of droughts due to the species' reduced ability to endure dehydration. Symptoms of under-watering include crispy or greying of leaves, little to no growth and brown patches forming on the fronds. Since the foliage has a bluish-grey tinge, under-watering symptoms are typically masked until it's too late. Over-watering symptoms include yellowed fronds, rotten rhizomes and a general decline in health. These issues are commonly the product of too little heat or light, waterlogging or an overly-large pot used during the repotting process.
Moderate to high humidity should be at the forefront of a Silver Lady Fern. Introducing a pebble tray will not only keep the leaf-tips from browning over, but it'll also slow the risk of drying soil and potential dehydration. A gentle monthly hose-down in the shower will also benefit the specimen, as it'll hydrate the leaves and reduce dust particles resting on its foliage.
Feed every four waters during the growing period and every six in the autumn and winter, using a 'Houseplant' labelled fertiliser. Never apply a 'Ready to Use’ product into the soil without a pre-water first, as it may burn the roots and lead to yellowed leaves.
When any fern is severely dehydrated, most of its fronds will yellow/brown and crisp-up - leaving you with a naked plant. Although it may spell the end of juvenile plantlets, there may still be light at the end of the tunnel for more established specimens. Keep the soil continually moist, providing a good level of indirect light and temperatures above 15°C (59°F). After a few weeks, new life will form in the nodal junctions in the plant's centre, signalling the start of its recovery process. For the prevention of dry air, be sure to introduce a humidity tray for higher levels of atmospheric moisture around the foliage. Not only will this ease the specimen back into healthy functioning life, but it'll also reduce the rate of transpiration (water-loss in the leaves), and therefore downplay the risk of dehydration and further decline.
An under-humid room will not favour them in the slightest. Humid air and an absence of dry soil are what keeps this genus happy, so dry air will lead to browning leaf tips and weakened growth. Either mist weekly or introduce a humidity tray to keep life manageable. Avoid situating any fern within four metres of an operating radiator, as the dry air will spread up the process of browning leaf-tips.
Due to the genus' sensitivity to chemicals, Leaf Shine shouldn't be used to improve the appearance of the foliage, and instead should be cleaned using warm soapy water. Failure to do so may cause yellowed, mottled spots that cannot be undone.
Yellowing leaves are the result of either over-watering or excess moisture settling on the foliage, typically promoted by dark locations. Instead of pouring water directly onto the foliage, irrigate carefully at the soil line by lifting the greenery at the side to prevent wetting the leaves unnecessarily. Do not to over-water your fern if it's situated in a dark location as the combination of both overly moist soil and improper light will allow Rhizoctonia to develop beneath the soil line. For further information about this disease, click on this link. In some instances, yellowing leaves may be caused by under-watering. If this is the case, and the fern has endured persistent droughts, increase irrigations and avoid direct sunlight at all costs. The time in which it takes the specimen to bounce back solely relies on the cultivation and the quality of its current environment.
Never allow temperatures to dip below 10ºC (50ºF) as irreversible damage will occur in the likes of yellow foliage and weakened health. When this happens, remove the severely affected areas and immediately improve growing conditions - never cut through softened yellow growth, and only around brown, crispy squares. As rehabilitation can take several months because of its slow-growing nature, be sure to provide a stable location with better growing conditions to speed this process.
Mould developing on the soil means two things - too little light and over-watering. Despite the harmlessness of the mould, it'll prove unsightly to most gardeners and is therefore removed once known. To remove, replace the top two inches of the soil for a fresh batch of 'Houseplant' compost. Either increase the amount of light received slightly (no direct sunlight) or decreased the frequency of waters slightly. If yellowing older fronds accompany the mould, you may also have a case of root rot.
Jacques-Julien Houtou de La Billardière first described the species in the late 18th century, classifying it under the genus of Blechnum, first penned by Carl Linnaeus. 'Blechnum' comes from the Greek word, blēchnon, whereas the specific epithet of 'gibbum' or 'gibba' refers to the hunched arch of mature fronds in the wild. In 2016, Gasper & Salino reclassified the species into Oceaniopteris, which is a group of ferns predominantly grown around the Pacific islands of easter Australia. Kew Science subsequently declined the move, and the species was reverted back to Blechnum shortly after.
12° - 26℃ (54° - 78℉)
H1b (Hardiness Zone 12) - Can be grown outdoors during the summer in a sheltered location with temperatures above 12℃ (54℉), but is fine to remain indoors, too. If you decide to bring this plant outdoors, don't allow it to endure more than an hour of direct sunlight a day as it may result in sun-scorch. Regularly keep an eye out for pests, especially when re-introducing it back indoors.
Up to 0.8m in height and 1m in width. The ultimate height will take between 5 - 8 years to achieve, with several new fronds being developed each season.
Remove yellowed or dying leaves and plant debris to encourage better growth and improve the all-round appearance. Pruning must be done with clean scissors or shears to reduce the chance of bacterial and fungal diseases - remember to make clean incisions as too much damage can shock the plant
Via Spores & Division.
Spores (Moderate) - You may have noticed little brown spots under the leaves - those are reproductive spores that can be propagated in the same way as seeds, once matured. These zygotes will develop on the under-leaves of each frond; you'll know when they're ready to be propagated, as they'll brown over and begin to crisp.
Once the spores have developed their first frond, place them into their own pot to grow. Safely remove the transparent bag and follow the care requirements listed at the top of the article.
Division (Easy) - The best time to divide is during the repotting period. Gently tease away some of the soil, separating a basal offset from the mother plant's base which has a good root system and amount of fronds. Place the separated plantlet in a moist, 'Houseplant' labelled potting mix and avoid direct sunlight with prolonged droughts. Although this method is quite easy, be mindful of transplant shock and do not perform this method if the plant is displaying signs of stress. Always moisten the soil 24hrs before repotting or division to avoid shocking the root systems.
True ferns will not flower and instead must be propagated by either spores, rhizomes, plantlets or stems, depending on the species.
Repot every three years in the spring, using a 'Houseplant' labelled compost and the next sized pot with adequate drainage. Hydrate the plant 24hrs before tinkering with the roots to prevent the risk of transplant shock. For those that are situated in a darker location, add a thin layer of small grit in the pot's base to improve drainage and downplay over-watering. Click here for a detailed step-by-step guide on transplantation, or via this link to learn about repotting with root rot.
Keep an eye out for mealybugs, aphids, spider mites, scale, blackfly, vine weevils & root mealybugs that'll locate themselves in the cubbyholes and undersides of the leaves, with the exception of the latter two in the soil. Common diseases associated with Silver Lady Ferns are root rot, leaf-spot disease, botrytis, rust, powdery mildew & southern blight - click here to learn more about these issues.
Not known to be poisonous by consumption of pets and humans. If high quantities are eaten, it may result in vomiting, nausea and a loss of appetite.
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