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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Learn more about Australian Native Ferns - study in the comfort of your own home

"Become a Fern Expert and carve out a career working with ferns"

Learn which ferns occur naturally in Australia, how to identify them, where to obtain accurate information on them, how to propagate them, growing and using ferns in baskets, terrariums, and landscapes.

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"Become a Fern Expert and carve out a career working with ferns"

Learn which ferns occur naturally in Australia along with:

  • how to identify ferns,
  • where to obtain relevant accurate information,
  • how to propagate ferns, and
  • growing and using ferns in baskets, terrariums, and landscapes.

Australia is home to a wide variety of ferns; and many Australian Ferns have become popular garden, or indoor plants in places beyond their natural habitat. Certain Australian tree ferns for instance, are extremely popular garden plants in other countries. Some others (eg. Australian Maiden hair Ferns) are widely grown as indoor plants.

Any type of plant culture deals can be somewhat unpredictable, and requires both knowledge and experience to be successful. The best way to treat any fern is always going to be different from place to place, time to time and according to what you are trying to get from the plant. Taking a course like this helps you not only gather factual information; but also develops a "feel" for the way you should adapt to different plant cultivars and different growing conditions.

Course Structure

There are eight lessons including a special project in this course.  This course is designed as a detailed look at identification and culture of Australian Native Ferns. 

Emphasis is placed on the horticulturally valuable species.  The content of each of the eight lessons is as outlined below:-

1.         Introduction  -Review of the system of plant identification, general characteristics of the ferns, main groups, information contacts (ie: nurseries, seed, clubs, etc.)

2.         Culture - Planting, mulching, watering, pest & disease, feeding, pruning, protection from wind, salt air, etc.

3.         Propagation  -Methods of propagating ferns. Propagation of selected varieties.

4.         The Most Commonly Grown Varieties - Maidenhairs, tree ferns, stags, elks, common ground ferns.

5.         Other Important Groups - Blechnum, Nephrolepis, Pteris, etc.

6.         Other Varieties - Hares foot ferns, Bracken, Fans.

7.         Making the Best Use of Native Ferns - In containers, in the ground, as indoor plants, growing and showing, growing for profit (to sell the plants or what they produce).

8.         Special Assignment - A major project on one genera of ferns.


Course Duration:  100 hours 

Start Date: You can start the course at any time to suit you.

Scope of Ferns Covered by this Course

Ferns have been around for millions of years -they are prehistoric plants.  

Australian ferns include a few which occur outside of Australia, some that are tropical, and others which are native to temperate regions.

Ferns do not have flowers or fruits; but they do have stems, roots and leaves. The stem (rhizome) is often below the ground and insignificant. From the stem grows numerous leaves (fronds) and wiry roots.

The main families of ferns considered in this course are:

  • SCHIZAEACEAE -Comb Ferns, a primitive family, rarely cultivated.
  • GLEICHENIACEAE -Coral Ferns & Fan Ferns
  • CYATHEACEAE -Treeferns (genus Cyathea)
  • DICKSONIACEAE -Treeferns (Genus Dicksonia)
  • DENNSTAEDTIACEAE -Bracken & other Ground ferns
  • ADINANTACEAE -Maidenhairs
  • POLYPODIACEAE -Kangaroo ferns, Elks, Stags etc.
  • DAVALLIACEAE -Hares Foot Ferns
  • ASPLENIACEAE -Spleenworts
  • ASPIDIACEAE -Shield Ferns
  • BLECHNACEAE -Rasp ferns & Water Ferns






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Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

John Mason (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Nurseryman, Landscaper, Garden Writer, Parks Manager and Consultant. Over 45 years experience; working in Australia and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 100 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.

Check out our eBooks

Trees and ShrubsUseful for students, tradespeople already working in the field, or the home gardener who needs a quick reference when choosing plants for a garden.
Tropical PlantsThis luscious, illustrated ebook covers hundreds of different plant genera, and many more cultivars. You will learn how to grow plants commonly cultivated in the tropics and subtropics. It contains everything you need to know about growing tropical plants, managing them and working with them (they can be a little temperamental). Many of the plants can also grow in milder climates as indoor plants or in protected places. Previously published in print form by Kangaroo Press (Simon and Schuster).
Trees and Shrubs for Warm PlacesA stunning book with around 300 colour photos! A comprehensive reference to thousands of tropical plant varieties (mostly different information to the Tropical Plants book) . An classic reference for nurserymen, landscapers, interior plantscapers, horticulturists and any tropical plant enthusiasts. 209 pages
Tropical LandscapingTropical Landscaping is a style that may be used more in tropical places, but can still be created in cooler climates. This book provides practical advice and inspiration over 8 chapters: “Garden Design”, “Components of a Tropical Garden”, “Building the Garden”, “Outdoor Living Areas”, “Pools, Ponds and Water Features”, “Lawns”. “Plants (to use), and “Caring for Plants”. 103 pages 69 colour photos