Microsorums are special ferns

Despite the status of ancient plants, ferns still know how to amaze with their originality. Among them there are not only plants with classic fronds, but also with not quite ordinary greens. Lush and delicate, fashionable and extravagant microsorum – an example of just such original ferns. Wide wavy leaves of an unusual shape form a dense, almost tangled plexus, and a bright gloss only emphasizes the non-standard greenery with a “crocodile” pattern. This rare yet fast-growing fern is one of the best candidates for landscaping kitchens and bathrooms, living rooms and cozy work areas. Growing microorums is not such a difficult business, and it grows quite quickly.

Microsorum diversifolium
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Microsorum – a fern with a friendly disposition

Curly, lush, unusual – this is how any microorum is perceived in any collection. These are special ferns with a very “docile” character, which delight the more the older they get, constantly actively grow and develop, transforming from modest bushes and slender clumps into lush and curly beauties. And at the same time they always remain a plant and neutral in terms of style, and versatile as far as possible use, and surprisingly original. For the unique reticular vein of the microsorum, we call it “crocodiles”: the surface of the fern leaves is really similar in pattern to the skin of these reptiles. Microsorums are represented by the Polypodiaceae family and have come to our interiors from Australia, Oceania and Southeast Asia.

Microorums (Microsorum) – medium-sized ferns with a creeping rhizome, usually limited in height to 25-50 cm.The roots are able to crawl out to the surface of the soil. The length of leaves in indoor culture never exceeds 60 cm, although in nature this fern forms meter fronds. The foliage of microorums is petiolate or sessile, forming pretty curtains. The leaves are either simple, narrowly elliptic, or pinnately dissected into large, wide lobes (usually the number of lobes is limited to 3-5 segments). Young juvenile frond plants are more reminiscent of sorrel than ferns. The characteristic section on frond appears only with age: the fern becomes more delicate and more beautiful every year.

The network of veins is mesh, reminiscent (as already mentioned) of crocodile skin. All leaves of the microorum have a wavy surface, not an even surface, an uneven wavy edge. They curl slightly, bend, twist, giving the plant its curly appearance. Sori (brown-red dots on the leaves) are located either in rows along the central vein, or unevenly along the underside of the leaves. Sporangia not covered (from the Greek spóra – sowing, seed and angéion – vessel, receptacle) – unicellular (in fungi and many lower plants) or multicellular (in higher plants) reproductive organ in which spores form).

Popular types of microorums

There are about fifty species of ferns in the genus of microorums. In room culture, they are represented by only three of the most compact and decorative types:

  1. Microsorum point (ridleyi) Is a fern with a short creeping rhizome and very tough narrow elliptical leaves sitting on short petioles. Forms compact and spring sorrel-like clumps up to 30 cm high.
  2. Microsorum banana-leaved (Microsorum musifolium) Is a rarer species, capable of producing meter-long shoots with age. Its leaves are very unusual, leathery. Thanks to the mesh veins, it resembles the skin of a crocodile more than other species, although the general shape of the leaf is really similar to bananas.
  3. Microsorum variegated (Microsorum diversifolium) is a plant with bright oval-shaped wavy leaves that divide into 3-5 segments, which emit a very pleasant aroma when touched.

Microsorum punctatumMicrosorum punctatum.
Microsorum diversifoliumMicrosorum diversifolium
Banana microsorum (Microsorum musifolium)Banana microsorum (Microsorum musifolium). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Jerry

Today, the aquatic species of fern is often associated with the name of microorums – pterygoid microorum (Microsorum pteropus). This is a very fashionable species among aquarists today and is actively promoted as one of the most original ferns for growing in paludariums and aquariums. It is rooted in sandy soil and is used as an excellent decoration for the middle and back of aquariums.

It was once considered a visiting card of the family microorum centipede (Microsorum scolopendria), but today a plant with a different structure and growth form has been reclassified as Phymatodes scolopendria, and, given the much greater similarity with nephrolepsis than with microsorums itself, this is not surprising.

Microsorum diversifoliumMicrosorum diversifolium

Growing microorums

Growing microorums is possible even for beginners in floriculture. Despite their love for high humidity, these ferns are unpretentious and hardy plants. They can forgive small mistakes in grooming, they themselves signal an uncomfortable environment and recover well. These are thermophilic and actively growing ferns, which do not cause any difficulties in care.

Lighting for microorums

The only drawback of microsorums, or rather the parameter by which they are inferior to classic indoor ferns, is their photophilousness. Microsorums need bright lighting, but protected from direct sunlight. Eastern and Western window sills are called ideal for these ferns. In winter, it is advisable to adjust the lighting by increasing it to create a more stable environment. The fern responds well to supplementary lighting.

Now on sale there are some varieties of microorums that feel good in light partial shade and are accustomed to shading. It is better to specify the lighting parameters that are comfortable for the plant when purchasing.

Comfortable temperature

Microsorums are among the most thermophilic indoor plants. They are not afraid of the heat, but they suffer from the slightest hypothermia. It is better to limit the air temperature to a minimum of 20 degrees Celsius. A comfortable temperature range, in which the plant will not lose its decorative effect, is from 21 to 28 degrees Celsius. The most important factor in maintaining a warm environment for microorums is protecting the roots from hypothermia. For microorums, it is not so much the air temperature that is important as the temperature of the substrate; it is better to stir the plant on supports, avoiding contact with a cold window sill or other surfaces that can lead to cooling of the soil in the pot.

The love for warmth and stability is manifested in microorums and in the fact that plants cannot be taken out in the open air in summer. This fern is grown only in indoor culture. When ventilating the room, ferns should be protected from drafts.

Banana microsorum (Microsorum musifolium)Banana microsorum (Microsorum musifolium)

Watering and air humidity

Like all other ferns, microorum is a moisture-loving plant. It will not tolerate dampness, stagnant water, but abundant regular watering after only the top layer of the soil dries out is the best strategy. This fern is forgiving of short-term, but not long-term droughts. In winter, the moisture content of the soil is slightly lowered, waiting 1-2 days after the top layer of the substrate dries.

Only soft water can be used for watering microsores. If possible, it is better to water the plant with rain or boiled water.

Microsorums feel great both as an ordinary potted plant, and in humid florariums with paludariums. The only difference in caring for plants is the need to take care of increasing air humidity when growing in living rooms. Microsorums just love spraying, and if you have the opportunity to carry out procedures 2-3 times a day, you can limit yourself to only them. But it is much better to stabilize air humidity by installing plants on pallets in moist moss or pebbles, placing other artisanal or industrial humidifiers.

Top dressing for microorum

This fern prefers organic fertilizers, if they are not in your arsenal of products – then complex universal fertilizers or special fertilizers for ferns. Top dressing is applied only during active growth, from mid-spring and all summer, with a standard frequent 1 procedure in 2-3 weeks.

MicrosorumMicrosorum

Transplant and substrate

The change of containers for microorum is carried out only when the previous pot becomes too cramped for the fern, the roots literally begin to crawl out of the container. Usually this fern is transplanted no more than once every 1-2 years. The optimal time is the beginning of active growth in February or March.

For microorums, not classic pots are used, but bowls – very wide and as low as possible. Microsorums look great in hanging pots, flowerpots with legs, decorative stands.

It is easy to find the soil for growing microorums. A ready-made fern medium or any breathable and loose soil mix will work equally well. If you mix the substrate yourself, then give preference to a mixture of equal parts of sand, leafy soil and peat, or a mixture of equal parts of turf and leafy soil with half the amount of sand and peat. Additives of pine bark, charcoal, sphagnum are only welcomed in the substrate. The optimal pH response is 5,5 to 7,0.

When transplanting a microorum, an average drainage is laid with a height of at least 2-3 cm. When planting a fern, it is important to ensure that the plant is not buried in comparison with the previous container. You need to handle the plant very carefully, without removing the substrate, avoiding even the slightest contact with the roots. After transplanting, microorum is kept for 3-4 days or a week in a semi-shady location, with high air humidity (you can even install a greenhouse or a hood).

Diseases and pests

Microsorums are resistant plants that can only be damaged in very dry air. In the vicinity of infected crops, microorums are threatened by scale insects, in the absence of spraying – spider mites. It is better to fight pests using combined methods, using mechanical removal of insects with an increase in air humidity and treatment with insecticides when the problem is neglected. Quite often, thrips, mealybugs, whiteflies “spread” to the plant.

Common problems in growing microorums:

  • drying of the tips of the leaves at low soil moisture;
  • yellowing of leaves in a sunny place;
  • stopping growth in direct sunlight;
  • drying of leaves at low air humidity;
  • pale color, loss of turgor with improper feeding;
  • stunted growth or stunted growth and loss of attractiveness of the leaves with a lack of light.

Microsorum punctatumMicrosorum punctatum

Reproduction of microorums

The most popular method is to split the rhizome. It is possible to divide microsorums with each transplant, carefully cutting off young plants, letting the slices dry out and treating them with crushed coal. The rules for planting split ferns are the same as when transplanting a plant.

Getting fern out of spores is much more difficult. This method is used very rarely; for germination, bottom heating, drying of spores, germination on peat in conditions of very high air humidity and low illumination are needed.

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Anna Evans

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