Fern Germination: Mature fern plants usually produce huge numbers of spores. They found under the fronds. You need lots of patience and some luck to produce fern plants from spores. It is a lengthy process and fungi and algae may overwhelm germinating spores.Research
We are experimenting with a mixture of Kitty Litter and sand as the medium for germinating spores. This method has grown (pun definitely intended) from our experiments with seed germination. See Kitty Litter.
Mature fern fronds (those with spore cases on the underside) are collected and pressed between sheets of newspaper. The spores are released in a week or so. They are very fine and are like dust.
We make up a mix of one part Kitty Litter to five parts of river sand. The mix is placed in a rectangular plastic container (we use takeaway food containers). The container is filled to within one centimetre of the top with the mix. Holes are punched in the base of the container for drainage. Boiling water is poured over the mixture and this hopefully kills any fungal or algal spores. After cooling, sprinkle the spores over the surface. The container is placed in a similar container without holes to retain moisture. A lid is placed on the containers and they are placed where there is good light but not in direct sunlight (inside not outside).
Germinating spores will form a green film on the surface of the mix. This is the first stage in fern germination. The next stage is when fronds grow from the green film. This process may take weeks or a couple of months. Once the fronds appear then it is time to pot on the young ferns.
We are in the initial stage of fern germination. Dicksonia antarctica is the species we are using. The green film developed about two weeks after sowing the spores. We are now impatiently waiting for fronds to appear. We are also going to attempt to germinate two Cyathea fern species. We will supply progress reports in the Garden Diary.