The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

British Columbia, Canada Ca

i'm a very new, inexperienced gardener in canada, and i have built a rather nice moss shade garden which has hostas and ferns. the ferns are lovely, though very fragile, i have learned. but the ferns have grown a tall rather woody centre. i just can't find out whether this is a new growth or what it can be. this what happens? i wish there were a book called Ferns for Dummies, for i'm certain this is something everybody knows but me...



If you can give us the names of the ferns and or photos, members who grow them may well be able to help you.

6 Aug, 2011


How tall do you mean? Ferns do grow from a hard woody base or rhizome as they mature but it doesn't normally get very tall.

6 Aug, 2011


i did add a photograph but heaven knows where it is.....i'll try to connect it to this query.
thanx again

6 Aug, 2011


oh! there it is! what a nice surprize. it wasn't as difficult as i thought.
i'm afraid i don't know the name of the fern. it was given to me as a baby this spring by a neighbour. it's quite large and, i've noticed, quite fragile.

6 Aug, 2011


I can't see a woody growth of the sort I meant, so do you mean the twiggy looking frond at the back? This could just be new fronds growing or depending on the kind of fern it might be fertile fronds - some ferns produce different looking ones for spore production. The best way of finding out for certain is probably to wait and see - half the pleasure of gardening is anticipation. If you can't wait, perhaps you could ask your neighbour if this is typical?

6 Aug, 2011


i took a better picture - showing the woody growth in the centre of my fern, but once again, i don't know where it went. sigh.
steragram, that was nice info; i do have patience and will have to wait and see (and be much better informed next year...) but i was anxious in case i might be doing something wrong.
it might be the fertile neighbour was as mystified as i am. his, last year, grew these woody, dark-looking centre fronds and they just stayed there in the middle of the fern until winter froze them. it's a very young fern... perhaps next year it will be more lush. i was hoping these would be additional fronds, but they don't do anything. it's difficult. i try to study ferns but i can't find practical advice - just botanical info, which is interesting, but no help!!!

7 Aug, 2011


Patience and observation! In a couple of years you should have the answers yourself. If you look closely at the back of the leaflets on the centre fronds, with a magnifying glass if you have one, you may be able to see small brown or green dots which would be the spores. If you can, that's the answer. If you can't, then wait and see - try again later. If the parent fern did this as well its obviously the thing it does so not to worry. If you "Google Cultivation of ferns book" you'll find several titles that might help your studies!

7 Aug, 2011


If it's the photos in "Mungomum's Photos", those are the fertile fronds--they bear the spores for the plant. Some species of ferns do this, and some have some spore cases on every frond. Fertile fronds tend to be stiffer and more vertical than the sterile fronds, and in many species do not open to make food for the plant, being strictly for reproduction.

7 Aug, 2011


thanks, guys! imagine, fertile fronds! the things i learn!
i will take yr advice immediately, steragram, and get a book on the cultivation of ferns. i shd have done that first, i guess, instead of googling abstruse and scientific fern sites. I do like them, and they have done well with their companion hostas.
again, thanks,

8 Aug, 2011


Good for you Mungomum. Best of luck with that then, and in a year or two you'll be answering other peoples questions on ferns! I suspected the fertile fronds because there is a small wild British fern that does something very similar(the hard fern, Blechnum spicant, which you might find in your new book when you get it)

10 Aug, 2011

How do I say thanks?

Answer question


Not found an answer?