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 Tree ferns from spores 
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Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:46 pm
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Location: Maastricht Netherlands
Post Tree ferns from spores
After a successful experiment in 2000/2001, I started again with the tree fern cultivation, in collaboration with Ro and Remko, forum friends, also crazy of tree ferns.
November 2009, Ro worked at a large tree fern nursery and was able to get fresh fern spores, Remko did his best ordering many interesting subtropical and tropical spores . So we came to a great variety of ferns and we could exchange and share information, so could each in his own way make a start, and try different methods.
So I sow in November 2009 and have chosen the spores boxes placed in a glass container so the boxes stand in a thin layer of water, the whole heated to + -22 º C. , after 4 weeks the first results,

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I use chinese noodle boxes and add in + -1.5 cm fernsoil [good boiled], not sown too thick, not to mention a few vent holes at the top of the boxes! I continue spraying every week on the same day all the boxes, and let the excess water drain,

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The fresh spores grew the fastest, older a little, some spores did nothing only fungi

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again a few weeks later April 2010, the first fern plants came up, there were already a number of species , I stopped at 20 species, because I already knew it soon would come to occupy a lot of space,

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It was too hot in the house, and I used the small winter greenhouse as growroom,

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And the first plants grew out of the smal boxes and it was time for them to plant in small growth cultivators,

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I am looking for the best big + - 24 later 40 that fit in the cultivator ,

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This is it for now.

Gr. Ed.

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2016 min. -07.0ºC --- max. 35.4ºC
2017 min. -08.1ºC --- max. 34.7ºC


Last edited by Eduard O on Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:37 pm
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Post Re: Raising tree ferns from spores
Whoa looks like a long hard process Ed way beyond my horticultural abilities.

So many packed in there and to separate successfully !

Palm germination is so much easier for me .

Very interesting thread though !

Troy

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Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:03 am
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Post Re: Raising tree ferns from spores
Incredible pictures Eduard - thanks for posting. You make it look so easy! I've never tried growing ferns from spores but these photos make me want to try it.


Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:11 am
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Post Re: Raising tree ferns from spores
Fantastic Eduard.

From tree fern forests to tree fern lawns. Curious, what do you do with them all - Ebay? Your set up reminds me of the way I used to grow Sarracenia species from seed when I lived in Florida. I used to get quite a bit of fern sporlings in those days as well, but I never grew any intentionally.

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Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:58 pm
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Post Re: Raising tree ferns from spores
WOW what a set up~~ same question where or what do you do with all your spares or is there a low survival rate when bring them on to a larger size?


Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:06 pm
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Post Re: Raising tree ferns from spores
Nice work, Eduard! It must be hugely satisfying to get such "lawns" of tree ferns from spore.

Troydonovan wrote:
Whoa looks like a long hard process Ed way beyond my horticultural abilities.

So many packed in there and to separate successfully !

Don't be discouraged, growing from spore is actually not that hard. It can take a while, but it's not difficult, and it doesn't need to take up a lot of space or require special equipment.
This is the simplest recipe I've used so far: fill two 5cm pots with potting mix. Put the pots on a clean dining plate, cover with 3-4 layers of kitchen papers, boil 1.5-2 litres of water and gently pour all of the boiling water through the pots. (I am lazy and use a water boiler/kettle, boiling the water several times over a period of five minutes.) As soon as cool enough to touch, put the pots in a zip-loc bag. The next day, when the soil has cooled, open the bag, and for each pot, dab a cotton swab in the spore sample, and tap on the swab a few centimeters above the pot. Close the bag and place at room temperature under lights or on a north-facing windowsill. After 1-3 month's time you will have two pots full of gametophytes (the sexual life stage of ferns), in need of transplanting and spraying (most ferns need liquid water for fertilization).
You may actually find that you already have a few tiny sporophytes at the sides of the pots where they meet the bag, where there is the most condensation. Prepare a second zip-loc bag with two pots, and pour boiling water into a spray bottle. The next day, use a (sterilized) tweezer to transplant small patches of gametophytes into the new pots, thinly so that you cover maybe a third of the surface. Spray the surface of all pots and close the bags again. In one to a few week's time there will likely be sporophytes (ferns) appearing, their thin lighter green leaves easily visible. When they have a couple of tiny fronds, or even before that, they can be transplanted into similarly prepared pots in a third zip-loc bag, the sporophytes separated from each other by perhaps 2-3 centimeters. Opening this third bag every now and then to let in some fresh air may be beneficial. After a while they can be transplanted into cells in a propagator and slowly acclimatized. Separating the sporophytes looks impossible at first, but has been surprisingly easy in my experience.
There is surprisingly much leeway in this whole process. Slime mold appearing on the soil surface isn't necessarily a disaster. Transplanting too early or too late often isn't a problem - the gametophytes and sporophytes are happy to wait for months. I sowed Lygodium japonicum spore in september. Gametophytes appeared quickly and grew to full size in maybe eight weeks, but nothing happened until a few weeks ago when I sprayed the soil and transplanted some gametophytes. Sporophytes have been practically jumping up since. I think I have ten, all from one sowing on a single peat plug.

Apogamous (in practice it means that sporophytes grow without fertilization taking place) fern species may not require any fuss at all. I had a plant in a zip-loc bag under a sporing Adiantum hispidulum. The plant died, but I noticed gametophytes on the soil so I decided to keep the bag, just putting it on a north-facing windowsill and mostly forgetting about it. 2-3 months later there were several tiny Adiantum hispidulum sporophytes visible on the soil surface. Likewise, the apogamous Pellaea viridis volunteers readily in high humidity.


Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:49 pm
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Post Re: Raising tree ferns from spores
Nice work Eduard.

From my own experience, without a truly industrial, nursery type of environment for growing-on the tender sporophytes you can easily end up with just a small handful of plants at the end of the process (although I've still not decided what the 'end' of the process actually is!).

You can have hundreds if not thousands of sporophytes which, stage-by-stage get thinned out, survival of the fittest, only the strongest and fastest specimens make the next stage, particularly when you get to the 'plug' stage as you really do need a lot of propagator space then. For hobby growers just looking for 3 or 4 plants for ourselves it's uncanny how often you can only end up with 1 or 2 survivors even though you started-off with hundreds and did your best to maintain as many as possible!

That's the way it works for tree ferns in the wild too. Billions of spores from a single plant in its lifetime but maybe only a few make it to adulthood.

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Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:53 am
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Post Re: Raising tree ferns from spores
Hi, Thanks everyone for the comments, from the dense trays I get several hundred young tree ferns, I grow a number that I think to need for one year.
I'm going to exotic plant fairs, and usually I get most often lost, But the market becomes saturated here, and it becomes difficult to get rid of them now, I can’t destroy anything and yes of each species if they go well, I like at least 50 plants per year .
Dicksonias I can keep up to 7 years in small boxes, cyatheas with much difficulty 3year! Whether you should keep them in small pots that will also work, issue is the place here, which is not sufficient
've had bad experiences with send abroad, but if someone really wants we can try in April / May.
Not all species went well, most tropical species gave problems, also you need to use boiled water spraying otherwise the whole tree fern cultivation go moldy by bacteria in the rainwater!
Back to see the continuation of the growth of the tree ferns,

The first plants that were ready to be potted, here C.spinulosa, followed by, C.medullaris and C.cooperi / revolvulum,
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The other species all went quickly into the small cultivators

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My greatest enemy is the fungus gnats, this dead at this stage quarter of all young plants! One day a beautiful medullaris, the day after been attacked by the larvae of fungus gnats!

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Here is everything in the small conservatory, and I try to get them through the winter, the house is too dry by heating,

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Conditions were also not optimal,

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All pictures are until December 2010, to be continued.

Gr. Ed.

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2016 min. -07.0ºC --- max. 35.4ºC
2017 min. -08.1ºC --- max. 34.7ºC


Last edited by Eduard O on Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:13 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:29 pm
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Post Atelier climatology
ed wrote:
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Love the couture designer weather station!


Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:28 pm
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Post Re: Raising tree ferns from spores
Hi Steve thanks, also my choice!
I also have tried another way, I have a few large palms which have a kind of micro climaat on top of the root ball, every year grows throughout the root ball above the pot and I quite pruning and there growing for a few months after potting again small ferns on, so I had a rest of spores of C.brownii on what I've sown in the fresh soil, to my amazement grew far faster than those in the small boxes! After nine months were already 10cm high and no longer had a cultivator and could immediately be potted, or even six weeks into the glass container, then these where ready!

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Gr. Ed.

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2016 min. -07.0ºC --- max. 35.4ºC
2017 min. -08.1ºC --- max. 34.7ºC


Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:23 pm
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Post Squatters rights
ed wrote:
I also have tried another way...

It's such a wind-up when the unwanted self-seeded tree ferns seem to grow better than the ones treated to our luxurious propagator boxes...!

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Cyathea aramaganensis (I think) doing its own thing in somebody else's pot...in fact it's sharing with the much more interesting Dicksonia berteriana (below)...

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This last one (below) was originally a Cyathea dealbata tub - the somewhat prostrate trunk is clearly visible on the right...

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...but it's now thick with self-seeded aramaganensis again.


Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:16 pm
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Post Re: Raising tree ferns from spores
Hello Eduard,

You don`t love tree ferns... they love you :wink:

Good job!!


Mau.


Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:45 pm
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Post Re: Raising tree ferns from spores
The last is a beautiful picture Steve, with that red shine hairs on the fern :wink:

Mau, I will ask them :mrgreen: thanks.
Gr. Ed.

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2016 min. -07.0ºC --- max. 35.4ºC
2017 min. -08.1ºC --- max. 34.7ºC


Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:52 am
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Post Re: Raising tree ferns from spores
I can only sit back, read and applaud your efforts. Amazing .........

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Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:06 am
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Post Re: Raising tree ferns from spores
Nice Eduard!!

As I said at that time; This is a nice way to get some interesting species into cultivation!
I'll try to keep collecting nice species if I go on trips abroad from above 2000 m altitude ;)

Kind regards,
Remko.

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Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:51 am
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