Such a fern as pteris (Pteris) is directly related to the pteris family. There are approximately 250 species of such plants. Under natural conditions, they are found in the subtropical and tropical regions of Tasmania, USA, New Zealand, as well as Japan.
Such a plant has elegant leaves that have different sizes and contours. There are ferns with green foliage, as well as motley. For cultivation at home, all several types of pteris are used, and most of them are quite undemanding in care. However, it should be noted that such a plant needs high humidity. Therefore, experienced flower growers recommend placing it nearby with other plants that love moisture.
If this spectacular fern is properly watered, then it is quite simple to grow it indoors.
How to water
For irrigation it is necessary to use exclusively defended water. In the warm season, watering should be plentiful, and in the cold - in moderation, but you should not forget that the substrate should always be slightly moistened. Make sure that there is no stagnation of water in the soil, as this can lead to the formation of rot on the roots. Excess fluid should leave the pot quickly.
Types of indoor pteris
Cretan pteris (lat. Pteris cretica) in nature grows on hillsides, in the subtropical zone or in areas of the so-called temperate zone: in the Caucasus, the Crimean peninsula, in Japan. The leaves of this fern are fifteen to thirty centimeters long and ten to twenty centimeters wide. In appearance, they are pinnately dissected, with two to four pairs of leaves of light green color and without hairs. Petiole of the Cretan pteris is straight, slightly bent backward, has twenty to thirty centimeters in length and a light brown hue. This variety of pteris is perfect for cool and moderately warm rooms.
Homeland multi-incision pteris (lat. Pteris multifida) or sometimes called divided, is the People's Republic of China. The leaves of this pteris species are oval, double pinnate, about thirty-forty centimeters long and twenty-five centimeters wide. At the very base, they are lanceolate-linear and have a tight green hue. Petiole of multislaw pteris twenty-twenty-five centimeters long, has a fine structure and cinnamon color. This species is highly decorative.
And finally xiphoid pteris (lat. Pteris ensiformis). His homeland is the countries of Asia, Australia, as well as Polynesia. The length of the leaves of this variety of fern is twenty to thirty centimeters. In the upper part, the leaves are pinnate, have two to four pairs of leaves with a narrow linear structure, with extended sporangia, which are located at the edges. This type of fern, as well as multi-cut pteris, is a highly decorative species. Two varieties are popular: Evergemiensis and Victoriae. Evergemiensis is very interesting, it has an unusual texture and leaves with white edges. In a variety called Victoriae, the leaves are sterile and have ten to twelve centimeters of petiole in length, the leaf plate itself is pinnately dissected, with stripes in white.
Often, pteris is divided into groups, the hallmark of which is the shape of the leaf of a plant, for example:
- variegata - ferns with leaves with a light gray stalk along the petiole
- cristata - tops of leaves usually dentate
- tenuifolia - variety with narrow leaves dissected at the end
The natural habitat is in the area around the Mediterranean Sea. A place, green varieties of Cretan pteris prefer cold, semi-shaded places, in winter the temperature is 12 ° C. If the temperature drops below, the fern can withstand a temperature of 5 ° C for several hours. Colored varieties require more light and a higher temperature in the winter of 16-18 ° C. Regardless of the color of the leaves, pteris should not be exposed to direct sunlight.
After bringing the pteris to home, the condition of the roots is checked immediately. With careful irrigation and fertilizer, pteris can ensure normal development by waiting with a transplant until spring. Since manufacturers are interested in having more plants fit per square meter in the greenhouse, they are replanted only as a last resort, so pteris is sold with very overgrown roots. It is recommended to prepare the substrate with your own hands. The basis of the substrate for pteris is acid peat. Since peat is strongly knocked down during the growing process and accumulates excess water, expanded clay, vermiculite or crushed bark is added. To increase the acidity of peat and improve the substrate, add compost soil (at least two years old due to weed seeds). The ratio of the components should be 5: 1: 1. When the substrate is prepared independently, it is necessary to add fertilizer, preferably with a prolonged action. Based on the purchase of soil, give preference to soil for ferns or azaleas - acidic soils with a pH of 4.5-5.0. When buying a standard flower soil, add acid peat with a pH of 6-6.5 and vermiculite.
Like most ferns, Cretan pteris responds well to organic fertilizer. You can buy dry or granular manure and add a handful to a pot with a diameter of about 20 cm. During the summer, the substrate is maintained in a slightly wet state. Since peat has the ability to bind water, do not overfill. Also do not overdry the substrate. If the soil is very dry, do not pour water from above, water will pass near the pot. The dried plant, along with the pot, is placed in a container of warm water until the upper part is slightly moist. Then the pot is removed and set to drain. If the leaves do not return to their normal state, they are cut off until new ones appear from the rhizome. Of course, provided that the drought did not destroy the fern. Watering is done with soft and preferably warm water. In winter, watering is done after checking the condition of the earth below the top layer. Since peat keeps water near the bottom for a long time, the upper part is dry, such a substrate, especially in winter, is easier to wet.
If the soil is purchased, about 6 weeks after transplanting, you need to start feeding with fertilizer. With a periodic absence, azalea fertilizer can be used. If the plants are not replanted, fertilizers are applied at the first watering.
Pteris fern does not like direct light rays, so the best option would be diffused light. If the windows in the apartment or house are located in the western or eastern part, then this is an excellent option for placing pteris. But don’t be upset if the windows of the building do not go to the cardinal points, optimal for creating the best lighting conditions for the plant, the south side is also good for this purpose - they put the fern away from the window or artificially create diffused light. This effect can be achieved using a special fabric with a translucent effect of either gauze, tulle or tracing paper.
If it is summer outside, it is possible to take the fern to the balcony or to the garden, while not forgetting the safety precautions and taking care of protection from direct sunlight, various types of precipitation and through gusts of wind. A good option is also to ventilate the room in which the pteris is located, if it is not possible to carry it out into the open air.
In winter, pteris needs sufficient lighting, which is achieved by placing fluorescent lamps at a distance of fifty to sixty centimeters for eight hours a day. In the autumn-winter season, it is also necessary to ventilate the premises, not forgetting the harmfulness of drafts for the plant.
Fern is very fond of moisture and feels the need for high humidity. Therefore, there is a year-round need for spraying pteris. Flora lovers should remember that spraying should be carried out with water that has settled, or with softened water passed through a filter. It will be important to find an appropriate place for pteris with high humidity of air masses. If air dryness is observed inside the building, then pteris should be sprayed at least once or twice a day. To increase the humidity of the air masses, pteris can be placed on a pallet with moistened pebbles, expanded clay or moss, but the bottom should never touch the water. A good option would be to install a humidifier in a room with pteris. It is necessary to wash the fern under the streams of the shower, preventing water from entering the pot with the substrate.
Fans of newfangled preparations for flowers should not forget that it is impossible to use means to give a glossy appearance to pteris leaves.
Pteris is propagated by careful division of rhizomes. Divided into no more than two parts.
Sometimes small plants appear next to pteris, grown from sprinkled spores. It is enough to divide the shoots.
You can sow spores, a long process, pteris suitable for transplanting into a small pot, will be received only after a year. In addition to high humidity, the temperature should be maintained at 20-22 ° C. At this temperature, spores germinate in 2-4 weeks. After the next 4-6 weeks, the first leaves begin to form. Seedlings are dived into a somewhat large container. After several tens of weeks, they are transplanted into pots with a diameter of not more than 8 cm.
In order for the fern to feel good and grow well in the spring and summer, the temperature regime should be 20 ° C. In the event that the temperature regime is over 24 ° C, it is necessary to ensure the highest possible air humidity. Fern does not tolerate high temperature and dry air. In autumn and winter, the temperature will be optimal for the fern, which will range from 14 to 18 ° C. Do not forget that heat is fatal for ferns, therefore, it is necessary to avoid placing pteris close to heating appliances.
Watering, fertilizing, soil
When spring and summer comes, the plant is watered with enough water. The irrigation mode is set, focusing on the soil in a container with pteris: watering is necessary at the moment when the upper part of the substrate dries. In this case, complete drying of the soil should not be allowed, this can lead to the death of the plant.
In winter, pteris should be watered sparingly, a day or two after the upper part of the substrate dries. Water for irrigation should not contain lime and it is desirable to be soft. Waterlogging of the substrate, as well as overdrying is unacceptable, slightly moistened soil will be optimal.
Top dressing with the use of liquid fertilizer is carried out from May to the end of summer, with a frequency of every two weeks. In this case, the required amount of top dressing must be reduced by half, relative to the dose recommended by the manufacturer. In the autumn and winter season, ferns are not fed.
Fern prefers neutral soil, or soil with a slightly acid reaction. There is a ready-made soil for ferns on sale, which can also be used when planting pteris. However, when buying soil, it is necessary to carefully study its composition, it is important. so that the earth is light enough and with neutral ph (from 6.6 to 7.2). It is also possible to prepare the substrate yourself. To do this, you need to take one part of light turf, one part leaf, another part peat, one part sand and one part humus.
Fern transplantation is carried out in the spring and only if the pteris roots fill the entire pot. The latter should be shallow, but at the same time wide. When transplanting pteris, do not use large containers; fern prefers crowding.
A prerequisite is excellent drainage, the layer of which should be at least 2-2.5 cm. In the process of transplanting, all leaves that are dried up, damaged or become brown should be cut very low.
After the fern is transplanted, you need to carefully monitor its condition. If pteris begins to dry, it is necessary to cut off all the shoots and constantly irrigate the root system, and place the container with pteris in water at room temperature for about a day. After this, new leaves should appear.
Pteris can be propagated using spores, as well as dividing the bush. The best period for sowing spores is in March, and the optimum temperature regime for their germination is 13 ° C. It is not necessary to sow spores in an artificial way, the fern reproduces well with the help of self-sowing. Experienced lovers of flora can notice new young shoots of fern in a bowl with an adult pteris.
Another possible way to reproduce pteris is to divide the parent plant during transplantation.
! This method is suitable only by an experienced florist, since it is possible to obtain a new full-fledged plant only with the correct separation of the growth points hidden underground.
Diseases and Pests
Pteris, like many other ferns, is exposed to external factors that affect it and inhibit growth and development.
One of the pests from which pteris most often suffers is the scab, which is a brown colored plaque that affects both sides of the leaf and is located along the veins. To counteract the scale, it is necessary to spray the plant with Actellik, which is diluted in a ratio of 2 milliliters per liter of water. Repeat the process after five to ten days.
Pteris is also susceptible to pests called thrips. They are not easy to see, because individual individuals have a body no more than half a centimeter long. Trips bring plant lovers a lot of trouble, since it tends to hide in hard-to-reach places of the plant, or in the ground at a depth of up to seven centimeters. The method of struggle is the same as in the case of the scale shield - actellik, in the same proportions. In this case, processing must be done several times.
Not so common pests that can significantly harm pteris - aphids and mealybugs.
Possible problems with growing pteris
Pteris leaves are lethargic and lifeless - Most likely the problem is in excessive lighting. Place a container with fern in a less lit place.
Pteris does not grow, leaves turn yellow and curl - Perhaps the air temperature is too high, and the air itself is too dry. Place the plant in a less hot room, periodically spray the fern.
Brown spots on pteris leaves - most likely the problem is the excessively low temperature of air and water for irrigation.
If pteris grows in your house, you are doubly lucky: this is not only one of the most beautiful ferns, but also a medicinal plant known in folk medicine. Pteris is actively used in the treatment of many diseases, such as furunculosis, dysentery, poisoning, urinary tract infections. The healing properties are possessed by Cretan pteris and divided. For treatment, a decoction of all parts of pteris is used. A juice from rhizomes of pteris can help with inflammation of the lymph nodes.
Using pteris as a remedy, be sure to consult your doctor!
Other domestic plants used in traditional medicine can be found in this article.