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Microlepia strigosa is a graceful fern with delicate green lacy fronds, yet tough enough to tolerate drier conditions than most ferns. The soft-textured triangular leaves resemble intricate lacework and slowly spread by rhizomes to form lush billowing clumps. In California, Lace Fern is a popular garden fern.
Lace Fern is a medium-large fern that slowly spreads 3 ft. wide or more by clump-forming rhizomes. This semi-hardy to semi-tender evergreen fern has finely-divided, bright green, gracefully arching fronds that grow close together for a full-foliage look. The new growth is a light apple-green or chartreuse color that matures to a darker green and adds colorful interest in the landscape.
Microlepia strigosa is easy to grow and is an excellent fern for shady areas in the landscape. Its short-creeping, clumping habit makes Lace Fern an excellent choice for borders or foundations. And the lacy foliage provides a fine, soft texture that looks good in a woodland or tropical garden, or on the porch or patio in containers
Its delicate appearance and adaptability to drier conditions, make Lace Fern a popular choice for the California landscape. Microlepia strigosa is a versatile and low maintenance fern that's perfect for adding soft, lush texture in a shady garden.
Microlepia strigosa is also known as the Hay-Scented Fern and can tolerate a range of growing conditions, including coastal climates. Lace Fern is best in fertile, evenly moist, well-drained soil in partial to full shade and grows fast in optimum conditions. More tolerant of some sun, lower humidity, and drier soil than most ferns, plant outdoors in a location that has filtered light, especially during the hottest part of the day. Temperature, light intensity, soil moisture, and humidity, all contribute to the stress or success of your fern.
After planting your Lace Fern, water deeply and regularly for several weeks to reduce plant stress and facilitate root development. After roots have become established, reduce frequency and water as needed to maintain even soil moisture. The amount of water required is dependent on several environmental factors such as wind, temperature, soil type, and light intensity. Lace Fern is more tolerant of irregular watering schedules. Apply a layer of mulch to help retain soil moisture.
Pruning is not necessary, but any dead or damaged fronds can be removed at the base to improve the plant's appearance.
Microlepia strigosa is a semi-hardy to semi-tender fern hardy to 25-30°F suited for USDA growing zones 9-11. Cold temperatures may result in leaf burn. Temperatures near 25°F may result in mortality depending on duration of low temperatures. Semi-hardy ferns grow best where nighttime temperatures are mostly above 40°F and can survive short periods of freezing temperatures if not too severe. Semi-hardy ferns are good choices for inland valleys along warmer coastal regions.
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Q: What is a semi-hardy fern?
A: From the Fern Grower’s Manual, Revised and Expanded Edition, by Barbara Joe Hoshizaki and Robbin C. Moran, Timber Press, 2001, Ferns are classified into four groups: hardy, semi-hardy, semi-tender, or tender. This classification refers to a range of the coolest temperatures a fern can tolerate. While many ferns can endure short periods of lower temperatures, or may fall on the border in between these categories, this classification identifies a general temperature preference for a specific fern. “A semi-hardy fern usually tolerates nighttime temperatures above 40℉ but can survive periods of freezing temperatures if short and not too severe.”
Q: Are the brown spots on the underside of my fern leaf insect eggs?
A: The brown spots on the underside of the fern leaf are spores which is how ferns reproduce, they are not insect eggs. Sporangia is a specialized structure that holds the spores and develops in clusters called sori which may appear as dark dots, lines, or rusty patches and arranged in symmetrical or scattered patterns, or completely cover the lower leaf surface.
Q:What is the rusty dust on my fern leaf?
A: Ferns reproduce by spores. Sporangia is a specialized structure that holds the spores and develops in clusters called sori which may appear as rusty patches, black dots, or lines and arranged in symmetrical or scattered patterns, or completely cover the lower leaf surface. The rusty dust on the fern leaf are spores, part of the fern’s life cycle.
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