Boston Fern - Knowledgebase Question

Duson, LA
Avatar for lydiabourqu
Question by lydiabourqu
June 24, 1999
This year my boston ferns are developing little red balls on the stems where the leaves should be. I think this is some type of bug. The red ball is hard and encloses the stem in a line one after the other along the entire length of the stem. These ferns are very old and I put them in the greenhouse very winter.

Please help, I really would like to save them, but I am afraid if I do not get rid of this I will not be able to put them in the greenhouse for fear of contamining my other plants.

Thanks for the help.

Answer from NGA
June 24, 1999
The red balls you are seeing are perfectly normal, they are the fern's attempt at reproduction....these are spore capsules. They will fall to the ground and sprout into a tiny scale like growth (prothallum) which will develop male and female parts that will eventually create a new mound of fronds. Under the proper conditions, all ferns will multiply.

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