Containers forum: Growing golden polypody ferns in containers; soil makeup

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dannymcgin
May 26, 2014 8:53 AM CST
I have four very large beautiful golden polypody ferns (a three to four inch long rhizome is attached to each) that I want to grow in a large container. I took them from a dying cabbage palm yesterday and I have the rhizomes soaking in a few inches of water. I read that these ferns can be grown in containers, but I am not sure about what the makeup of the soil should be. Attached are images that I took from the internet. Has anyone out there planted these in containers? What is the preferred soil makeup and watering and feeding frequency?
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Name: Christine
Saugerties, NY zone 5a
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Christine
May 29, 2014 6:49 AM CST
I'm growing ferns in containers and havent had any issues. I dont have the one you mentioned, I'm not sure if that would make a difference.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
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valleylynn
May 29, 2014 8:07 PM CST

Moderator

@rattlebox and 4susiesjoy, calling the two of you to see if you can help @dannymcgin come up with the correct way to grow this lovely fern.

dannymcgin Welcome! to ATP. So glad you found your way here. Smiling
Name: Ron
Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Region: Florida Hummingbirder Butterflies Bromeliad Tropicals Foliage Fan
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rattlebox
May 29, 2014 9:45 PM CST
dannymcgin, welcome to ATP!

Please remove the rhizomes from the water if you have not already done so. Let them dry for a day or two before planting.

This is not a difficult fern. As you already know, they grow among the palm frond hips of Cabbage Palms. But they also grow readily in (on) the ground, as long as they don't bake in the sun and receive regular moisture during the summer.

Give them a free-draining soil mix and bright shade. They can handle some sun, but don't overdo it, especially while they are getting established. The composition of the soil is not critical, so long as it drains freely and will retain some moisture.

I would trim the large leaves off, and just press the rhizomes onto the surface of the soil. As they develop roots, they will also send up new fronds. If you want to keep the fronds they came with, give them some support until the rhizomes take root.

Don't bury the rhizome. These are not underground structures and may rot if buried. Besides, the satiny orange-gold fibers on the rhizomes are one of its biggest attractions!

I never feed mine, but if you wish, once they are established they may respond well to occasional light feedings.

Keep in mind these will never form a dense fountain of fronds as do many other ferns. Rather, they send up an occasional frond along the length of the rhizome as it grows. But individual leaves can be large enough that, who cares? It doesn't take very many to make a nice display.

Good luck with them. And once they get established, feel free to experiment a bit. They are pretty sturdy plants, having no problem surviving our spring droughts, the hot, dry winds of which suck the moisture out of everything! They just drop their leaves and go dormant until moisture returns.
[He] decided that if a few quiet beers wouldn't allow him to see things in a different light, then a few more probably would. - Terry Pratchett
[Last edited by rattlebox - May 29, 2014 9:49 PM (+)]
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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
May 30, 2014 7:02 AM CST

Moderator

Thank you Ron. What a unique fern. I don't think we have them here in Oregon.
I bet it is beautiful to see them growing up the palms.

dannymcgin
Jun 7, 2014 11:34 AM CST
Ron . . . thanks your your input. I did take the rhizomes out of the water 'cause I had a bad feeling about soaking them. Currently they are, however, buried a couple of inches below moist potting mix in the vase shown on the uploaded image.

What if I brushed aside the mulch, simply laid them on top of the potting mix, and cover them slightly with a half inch or so of dry cypress mulch (in order to keep the stems and leaves in place)?

With this message, I am going to upload a photo of the (buried) rhizomes, stems and leaves in the vase on my covered back deck.

I am trying hard to keep them in the vase that you see them in.

DannyMac

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dannymcgin
Jun 7, 2014 11:38 AM CST
I wrote to Ron --- I meant @rattlebox. aRattlebox, will you look at my reply and provide me with the benefit of your thoughts?

THANKS AGAIN

DannyMac


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dannymcgin
Jun 7, 2014 11:40 AM CST
valleylynn:

Thanks for calling on @rattlebox and 4susiesjoy. I really have stumbled across a gold mine!

SannyMac
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jun 7, 2014 5:57 PM CST

Moderator

You are so welcome dannymcgin. There are many wonderful and helpful people here at ATP. It is a plant lovers Goldmine. Big Grin
Name: Ron
Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Region: Florida Hummingbirder Butterflies Bromeliad Tropicals Foliage Fan
Plant and/or Seed Trader Xeriscape Seed Starter The WITWIT Badge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier
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rattlebox
Jun 7, 2014 8:30 PM CST
DannyMac, that's a nice pot! I don't blame you for wanting to keep the ferns in there.

Yes, I would probably "un-bury" them from the potting soil, and I'm sure a little mulch over the top would be OK. Where they grow on the ground, the rhizomes do tend to get covered with leaf litter and windblown debris [in other words: natural mulch]. They may be fine the way you have them with the rhizomes eventually growing up out of the soil, but if there aren't replacements readily available, why take the chance?.

If the mulch alone isn't sufficient to support the frond, a little creative use of inexpensive wooden skewers and maybe a little black thread could make for inconspicuous supports. You could also use plastic drinking straws or even small sticks.

On the other hand, if replacements are available if you need them, then go ahead and leave things the way they are. I really expect the ferns will do just fine, especially if you don't over water and the soil is relatively loose. Don't mulch too heavily, as you want the soil (and the rhizomes) to be able to "breathe".

Hope this helps, and good luck! Feel free to ask if you have additional questions. And don't forget to let us know how things go!
[He] decided that if a few quiet beers wouldn't allow him to see things in a different light, then a few more probably would. - Terry Pratchett
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jun 7, 2014 8:33 PM CST

Moderator

I agree

dannymcgin
Jun 7, 2014 11:11 PM CST
Thank you very much!!

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