Ferns have managed to outlast giant insects, ice ages and dinosaurs to find a new niche as a favourite houseplant. True ferns are developmentally older than seed-bearing plants and do not produce seeds. Instead, ferns rely on spores to ensure their survival.
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Brown or reddish spots appear on the underside of mature fern fronds. These spots are made up of sporangium, the spore-producing structures of the fern. Once the spores open, they fall to moist ground and develop into the fern's male and female reproductive structures. A new fern grows from the fertilised embryo.
Spores usually darken and mature in summer. Cut the frond and place it in a paper bag until the frond is dry, then shake the spores into a soilless, sterile peat planting mix. Ensure the mix is constantly moist; cover the planting container with cling film if needed. Keep it at room temperature, and transplant new fronds when they are 1 inch tall. This process usually takes many weeks.
Although nurseries often label this plant a fern, the asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus) is not a true fern, despite its fernlike, feathery leaves. It produces small pink or white flowers that develop into bright red, seed-bearing berries. You may plant the seeds, but most gardeners prefer dividing older plants.
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