Houseplants forum: What are these dots on my fern's leaves?

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Los Angeles
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krystenr1
Jul 25, 2017 3:57 PM CST
Just brought this one home from the store and noticed some of the leaves have these dots on them. Is the beginning of the leaves dying? I know maidenhair ferns are very, very fickle, but I'm trying one last time to see if I can keep one alive. I'm using a pebble tray and have it in a nice sunny spot (indirect) with both north and east-facing windows surrounding it. My bathroom doesn't get enough light for that to be a viable place for it, so I'm hoping the pebble tray can provide enough humidity in addition to regular listing of the leaves.


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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Jul 25, 2017 6:51 PM CST
Those black dots at the leaf tips are spores. Fern species don't produce flowers, so they reproduce by making spores that are functionally analogous to seeds on flowering plants. It is possible to propagate more ferns from the spores, but it is tricky so I won't go into how to do it here.

Your Maidenhair is a beauty. Lots of bright indirect sun is good and never let the soil get very dry. High humidity helps, so do your best with that Humidity is not usually a problem until the heat comes in in the colder months. Maidenhair Ferns thrive in terrariums.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Los Angeles
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krystenr1
Aug 8, 2017 8:54 AM CST
I had a plant sitter let her get a little dry and now she's looking very floppy and most of her leaves are leaning to one side, weighting her on that side. Now that I'm home, should I just go back to regular care and hope she bounces back or should I intervene somehow?
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Hamwild
Aug 9, 2017 11:54 AM CST
I don't think Maidenhair ferns like to get even a little dry. Super fussy ferns. Sad
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Aug 9, 2017 5:45 PM CST
Most ferns don't tolerate dryness and Maidenhairs are notoriously fussy in that regard. If wilted leaves don't perk up again after watering, then they likely never will. I don't understand why they are leaning to one side. Do you have a photo?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Los Angeles
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krystenr1
Aug 10, 2017 9:08 PM CST

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Aug 11, 2017 12:57 PM CST
From the photos, the growth looks pretty even. It will never grow perfectly even all around. If it concerns you, face the "weaker" side toward the light source. New growth will grow toward the light.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Los Angeles
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krystenr1
Aug 11, 2017 6:15 PM CST
WillC said:From the photos, the growth looks pretty even. It will never grow perfectly even all around. If it concerns you, face the "weaker" side toward the light source. New growth will grow toward the light.


It also appears that many stems have snapped. What does this mean for the plant?
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Aug 12, 2017 7:46 AM CST
The fond stems are flexible to a point, but after they crease or snap, that stem will gradually die back. It will not have an effect on any of the other fronds stems. This is a pretty fragile plant that does not like being handled. Not only are the stems brittle, but the leaflets bruise easily when handled. Ironically, this plant has such a soft delicate appearance that it seems to call out to us to caress it. Best to fondle it only with your eyes! Thumbs up Of course, this fragility is another reason not to repot it unless absolutely necessary.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Los Angeles
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krystenr1
Aug 12, 2017 5:56 PM CST
WillC said:The fond stems are flexible to a point, but after they crease or snap, that stem will gradually die back. It will not have an effect on any of the other fronds stems. This is a pretty fragile plant that does not like being handled. Not only are the stems brittle, but the leaflets bruise easily when handled. Ironically, this plant has such a soft delicate appearance that it seems to call out to us to caress it. Best to fondle it only with your eyes! Thumbs up Of course, this fragility is another reason not to repot it unless absolutely necessary.


Would you then suggest that I prune off all of the snapped leaves here? And if so, is there any hope for propagating from the trimmed stems/leaves?




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[Last edited by krystenr1 - Aug 12, 2017 6:40 PM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Aug 13, 2017 10:01 AM CST
Whether or not you prune off the affected stem is a question of whether you think that will make it look better overall. Either way, it won't affect the health of the plant - just its appearance, Eventually the creased stems will cause its leaflets to yellow and die. Certainly, you will want to cut them off when that happens.

Ferns can only be propagated by spores or root divisions, not stem cuttings.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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