Learn about the identification, growth and application of ferns
In this course you learn to propagate (spores, division, tissue culture), different groupings (e.g. epiphytes, ground ferns, tree ferns) of both common & uncommon species. Learn about the growing techniques (baskets, indoor/outdoor containers, terrariums) and cultural methods (soils, watering, pest & disease control) of various fern species.
This is a course for amateurs and professionals; plant collectors and breeders, nurserymen, botanists, landscapers, gardeners and horticulturists.
Emphasis is placed on the horticulturally valuable species. The content of each of the eight lessons is as outlined below:
- Introduction - Review of the system of plant identification, general characteristics of the ferns (especially the fronds), main groups of ferns (filmy, tree, terrestrial, epiphytic and water ferns), information contacts (i.e. nurseries, seed, clubs, etc.), pronunciation of plant names.
- Culture - How best to grow ferns and what conditions do they need. Planting, mulching, watering, pest & disease and their control, feeding, pruning, protection from wind, salt air, etc., compost making.
- Propagation - Methods of propagating ferns - spores, division, tissue culture. Propagation of selected varieties.
- The Most Commonly Grown Varieties - Maidenhairs, tree ferns, stags, elks, common ground ferns. How to grow and propagate these ferns.
- Other Important Groups - Asplenium, Blechnum, Nephrolepis, Pteris and other groups. Group characteristics, cultural details, propagation methods.
- Other Varieties - Hares foot fern, Bracken, Fans, Corals and Combs.
- Making the Best Use of these Plants - In containers, hanging baskets, terrariums, in the ground, as indoor plants, growing and showing, growing for profit (to sell the plants or what they produce).
- Special Assignment - Detailed culture and identification of one genera.
- Distinguish between different types of ferns in cultivation, including twenty different genera and fifty different varieties.
- Determine critical cultural practices required to successfully grow ferns in different specified situations.
- Determine the cultural requirements of specific fern varieties.
- Apply various specialised techniques to the culture of ferns.
Prepare a planting plan for an area using ferns.
WHAT WILL YOU COVER?
During this course, you will do the following:
- Label the morphological parts of a typical fern, including:
- bipinnatifid fronds
- Distinguish species of each type, between aquatic, epiphytic and terrestrial ferns.
- Distinguish, using illustrations, between different fern families, including;
a resource information guide on ferns, including scope of
operation and contact information (ie: address, phone, fax), for:
- ten nurseries
- five clubs/societies
- ten product suppliers
- other organisations
- Prepare a collection of fifty ferns, not collected elsewhere, including:
- a photo, drawing or pressed specimen *plant names (scientific and common)
- cultural details
- Develop guidelines for growing ferns either indoors, in containers under shade, or in the ground.
- Label a sequence of four drawings which illustrate the propagation of ferns by spore.
- List five different fern genera that can be propagated by division.
- Propagate four fern species, using two different methods, including spores and division.
- Explain the planting requirements of ferns.
- List the preferred characteristics of a soil which is to grow ferns in the your locality.
- Prepare a potting media mix suitable for growing ferns in.
- Develop guidelines for watering a typical fernery in your locality for a twelve month period.
- Write a summary of nutrition requirements of ferns, including fertiliser recommendations.
- Explain five different common health problems of ferns.
- List guidelines for pruning ferns in your locality.
- Write a set of guidelines for the culture of a selected fern genus, including details on:
- distinguishing between different species
- cultural requirements
- Prepare a table which compares twenty-five different commonly grown fern genera, and includes:
- plant description
- preferred habitat
- growing requirements
- List methods used to propagate fifteen different ferns, including four different propagation methods.
an essay comparing four species of ferns in the one genera, with
reference to physical appearance, growth habit and cultural
- Describe endemic growing conditions of five different native ferns sited in natural areas.
a schedule of cultural tasks to be undertaken over a twelve month
period which are highly specific to one nominated species of fern.
a procedure for maintenance over a twelve month period, of a
Nephrolepis grown in hanging baskets, including comments on:
- pest control
- potting up
ten fern species, from at least five different genera, which are
particularly suited to growing in hanging baskets in your locality.
- Compare the suitability of different types of hanging baskets for growing ferns, including:
- water wells
- lined wire baskets
- Explain how to make a terrarium for growing five different types of ferns.
- List twenty fern species which grow in very wet conditions, including aquatic plants and bog plants.
- Distinguish between the cultural requirements of ferns grown indoors and outdoors.
the cultural techniques which are unique to growing ferns as an
epiphyte. Gow a fern using a specialised technique (eg. in a
terrarium or hanging basket), monitoring it over 3 months (ie.
recording cultural practices, changes in health, and performance).
- Write guidelines for preparation of a potted fern for competition in a garden show.
the use of ferns in a garden, which incorporates both ferns and
flowering plants, using a supplied checklist of design criteria.
the use of ferns in a garden or interior plantscape, which is
either all or predominantly ferns, using a supplied checklist of
a fern garden bed of 30 square meters, which incorporates at least
ten different fern varieties, and satisfies both aesthetic and
cultural requirements of a specified site, which you survey.
How Can You Propagate Ferns?
Propagating ferns can be one of the most enjoyable and addictive activities you may ever embark upon. Ferns can be propagated either by spores or by vegetative techniques, depending on the variety.
Generally, spore propagation is the simplest method and the most economical way of producing a large number of new plants quickly. A few varieties will only propagate by vegetative means. In other instances, vegetative propagation is preferred to spore propagation for one of a number of reasons.
Spores are generally produced as a result of two plants cross-breeding with each other, although many plants may self-fertilise. Plants grown as a result of cross-breeding may display a mixture of characteristics from the two parents. That is, they do not necessarily turn out like the plant which the spore originally came from, or in the case of self- fertilisation, different combinations of chromosomes from the same parent produce different characteristics in the offspring; although differences are generally not as great as those produced by cross-breeding.
Almost all ferns can be propagated form spores found on the underside of the fertile fronds. Spores are produced in large quantities and appear to the naked eye like a brown dust.
With vegetative propagation, a piece of existing plant is treated in some way to cause the development of roots and top growth, thus producing a new plant. As there is only one parent, the new plants will have all of the same characteristics of the parent plant.
There are ferns can be propagated vegetatively by division, from bulbils, tissue culture, layering or cuttings. You need to use the appropriate method for the type of fern and situation. This course will help you to understand that: but of course, much more than that!
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