The Q&A Archives: Holly Fern

Question: What triggers my holly ferns to make spores? The spores make such a dusty mess, though they do sometimes make new plants. Some of my holly ferns I have had for years, and they are not particularly dusty. Others, some newer plants, are a mess. Can I discourage spore formation?

Answer: You must be keeping your ferns very happy! Healthy, vigorous plants will make more spores than less vigorous plants, so it makes sense that your older plants produce fewer spores. To be honest, ferns will make spores regardless, so there isn't much you can do about it. Perhaps you can set paper or some other protective covering beneath the plants to help make clean up easier.

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