How To Care For A Tropical Mother Fern Indoors

(Image credit: PatrikStedrak)

Asplenium bulbiferum, Mother Fern or Mother Spleenwort, is a fern native to New Zealand that is commonly sold as an indoor houseplant. Of the Spleenwort family of ferns based on the belief that the plant treats medical ailments pertaining to the spleen, A. bulbiferum is a lovely fern variety. The following contains information on Mother Fern indoor care and propagation. 

Mother Fern Houseplant

In its native New Zealand, Mother Fern is eaten by the Maori, wherein young fronds are collected and eaten raw or cooked like a vegetable.

Mother Fern houseplant has brilliantly green, finely serrated fronds which emerge from a solitary crown. The resulting foliage develops into a lush, feathery evergreen arch perfect for containers and hanging baskets. 

Mother Fern Propagation

Producing neither flowers nor fruit, Mother Fern reproduces instead vegetatively; offsets grow and then fall from the mother plant to grow into new plants; however, most plants sold as Mother Fern houseplants are the sterile hybrid A. xlucrosum

Mother Fern Indoor Care

Indoors, Mother Fern prefers bright but indirect light and well-draining, moist, acidic soil comprised of equal parts loam, leaf mulch, sand, and charcoal

Mother Fern should be watered moderately during the growing season and sparingly over the winter months. During the growing season, apply a balanced liquid fertilizer at half strength monthly.

Mother Fern Care Outdoors

In areas where Mother Fern can be grown outside, select a shaded, sheltered are for growth, under an awning, in northern exposure, or in shaded and woodland gardens. Grow Mother Fern in humus-rich, moist, and well-draining soil. 

Both indoors and out, Mother Fern is generally pest free although it may be prone to mealybug and scale. Remove dead or damaged fronds. 

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.