Plant of the Month for April 2015

Cystopteris fragilis
Cystopteris fragilis

Description and General Information:

Fragile fern is one of the few species of plants that is found worldwide.  Within North America, it is found throughout except for the southeastern States.  It is a relatively small, tufted species with brittle, deciduous fronds arising from a thickish rhizome.  The stipe is smooth and slender, up to 10 centimetres long. Fronds may reach to 40 centimetres long and 6 centimetres wide on robust plants but are more often closer to 20 centimetres and narrower.   It most commonly grows as a lithophytic species, tucked in the cracks of crevices of cliffs and talus slopes.  It is found as commonly on acidic rock as basic.

Cultivation:

Fragile fern requires a shady, cool location and even moisture.  If too dry, plants will go dormant.  Best to plant on the north side of a rock, especially in a narrow crack if possible.  Plants are shallow-rooted and prefer an organic-based media that is not too wet or dry. Soil pH is not an issue.

Blooming Period:

Not applicable

Propagation:

Spores, division

Seeds:

Spores may be dusted on surface of an organic mix.  Keep at room temperature and cover container to maintain 100% humidity.  Spores sown in autumn will be small plants by late spring.

Division:

Plants may be dug and divided just as the new fronds emerge in spring.  Take care as new fronds are very fragile.

Cuttings:

NA

 

Plant Details Page: