Information About Bracken Ferns

Information About Bracken Ferns

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Bracken Fern Information: Care Of Bracken Fern Plants

By Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden

Bracken ferns are quite common in North America and native to many areas of the United States - in fact, the large fern is one of the most prevalent ferns growing on the continent. Learn more about it in this article.

Gardening 101: Western Sword Ferns

Western sword fern is the sort of classic fern you are most likely to spot on a shady wooded trail, showing off its root muscles as it clings to rocky slopes or displaying its pack mentality as it nestles in a plant posse under stately redwoods. But keep in mind that it also is a highly versatile and useful perennial fern for a home garden.

Please keep reading to learn about this friendly fern.

Above: Photograph by Jami Dwyer via Wikimedia.

Native to North America (from Alaska to California), Western sword fern gets its name from its elongated blade-like fronds. The robust, handsome leaves can grow several feet long and the plant can have as many as a hundred leaves (you don’t need to feel guilty cutting a few to add to floral arrangements). Long ago on the California coast, Native American Miwoks used the long, sturdy fronds to thatch structures.

Above: As a houseplant, western sword fern will appreciate indirect light, evenly moist soil, and humidity (mist the fronds for added moisture). Photograph by Mimi Giboin.

Definitely take a look at the undersides of the fronds as you will notice rows of curious brown sporangia, where each spot contains many spores which the fern uses as another way to reproduce besides through rhizomes.

Above: Fiddleheads of western sword fern begin to unfurl. Photograph by Yan S via Flickr.

When planting a sword fern, provide humus rich, well-draining fertile soil. Water deeply and regularly for the first growing season to ensure an extensive root system. Once established in the garden, sword ferns can grow to a sturdy three by three feet and be carefree. They become fairly drought resistant, very deer resistant, and add an evergreen textural interest to most garden spaces—but especially to a woodland, tropical, or zen garden.

Above: A Western Sword Fern in a 3.5-inch container is $6.99 from Succulents2You via Etsy.

Watch the video: Bracken Fern


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