General Discussion:

foxtail fern

Messages posted to thread:

Dorothy08-Jun-03 10:51 AM EST 5a   
Susan08-Jun-03 11:36 AM EST 6a   
Rose Lady06-Aug-03 05:41 AM EST 7   
Susan06-Aug-03 05:20 PM EST 6a   
Dorothy10-Aug-03 02:20 PM EST   
Susan11-Aug-03 02:11 PM EST 6a   

Subject: foxtail fern
From: Dorothy (
Zone: 5a
Date: 08-Jun-03 10:51 AM EST

I have a very large foxtail fern that I have repotted as time has gone by. As in other ferns this plant develops white bulbous attachments under the surface of the soil. However, this takes up a lot of space in the pots. Does the plant feed from these, or is it safe to cut away some of them. At this time my plant seems to have stopped producing many new shoots, and so I think may be getting pot bound again, but I would like to keep this plant huge as it is a source of conversation,so dont want to cut it up, but if I need to keep upsizing the pot I wont have much of a room left. Hope one of you out there can help

Subject: RE: foxtail fern
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 08-Jun-03 11:36 AM EST

It is a type of asparagus fern - they are actually not true ferns at all but are actually members of the lily family - hence the white bulbous roots. They are rapid growers and the roots can split the pots as they get crowded. Your best bet when you repot is to divide the fern so you can keep it in the same size pot and multuply it at the same time! They will also produce viable seed and can be grown from seed....

Subject: RE: foxtail fern
From: Rose Lady (
Zone: 7
Date: 06-Aug-03 05:41 AM EST

When do the foxtail ferns produce the berry/seeds? When and how do you get them to germinate?

Subject: RE: foxtail fern
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 06-Aug-03 05:20 PM EST

Foxtail ferns usually bloom in early-mid summer. The small, white flowers are followed by round berries of seeds that turn red when they're ripe - usually by November or so. If you plant the seeds (break open the berries) in seed starting mix and keep them moist at room temperature, they should germinate in a month or so. Transplant into pots/potting soil when the seedlings are 3-4" tall.

Subject: RE: foxtail fern
From: Dorothy (
Date: 10-Aug-03 02:20 PM EST

Thanks for the info but I don't really want to split this one, if I take it out of the pot and cut away some of these while bulbous roots would the plant be able to sustain itself or does it need these to feed? I feel there is not much soil space left and could add soil if I got rid of some of these bulbous roots.

Subject: RE: foxtail fern
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 11-Aug-03 02:11 PM EST

Those white fleshy things are the equivalent to bulbs (remember that these are members of the lily family....)so removing them is likely to cause damage to some of the top growth - although likely not fatally so. Why not just take the plant out of the pot, split it in two, throw away half if you don't want a second pot of fern and then repot the rest with new soil and let it keep growing?

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