Nephrolepis – air filter – care

It is widely believed that nephrolepis plays the role of a kind of living “air filter”. In particular, this plant is believed to be capable of absorbing and neutralizing vapors of substances harmful to human health, such as xylene, toluene and formaldehyde. It neutralizes this plant and substances that enter a closed room along with the air exhaled by people.

Nephrolepis cordifolia. Farmer Forest & Kim Starr

In addition, nephrolepis is believed to reduce the concentration of airborne microbes in the air. As a result, it is much easier to breathe in the room where nephrolepis is located. The indigenous population of Guyana uses the leaves of nephrolepis double-serrate to heal wounds and cuts.

Nephrolepis is considered one of the most beautiful ferns. It is better to place it in a room alone. In close contact of nephrolepis with other plants or pieces of furniture, fragile fern leaves may be damaged.


Description of nephrolepis

Nephrolepis (Nephrolepis) Is a genus of ferns of the Lomariopsis family, but in some classifications it is included in the Davalliev family. The name of the genus is derived from the Greek words nephros (νεφρός) – “kidney” and lepis (λεπίς) – “scales”, in the form of a veil.

The genus Nephrolepsis includes about 30 species, some of which grow in open places and therefore tolerate sunlight well. Nephrolepis grows in tropical areas in America, Africa, Southeast Asia and Australia. Outside the tropics, nephrolepis are found in Japan and New Zealand.

The shortened stems of the plant give rise to thin horizontal shoots on which new rosettes of leaves develop. Leaves are pinnate, maintaining apical growth for several years and reaching a length of 3 m or more. Sori in nephrolepis are located at the ends of the veins. They are either rounded or elongated along the edge, like in nephrolepis acuminata. The veil is round or oblong, fixed at one point or attached along the base. Sporangia on legs, uneven ages within the same sorus. The spores are small, with a more or less clearly distinguishable feather bed.

In addition to the usual reproduction with the help of spores, nephrolepis easily reproduce vegetatively. On their rhizomes, ground leafless, rooting shoots covered with scales are formed, similar to strawberry mustache. It is a very effective breeding agent. Within one year, one plant can form over a hundred new ones. Some species of this genus reproduce with the help of tubers, which are formed in abundance on underground shoots – stolons.

Nephrolepis mechevidnyNephrolepis mechevidny. Farmer Mokkie

Features of nephrolepis

Temperature: Nephrolepis belongs to the thermophilic ferns, for it a temperature of about 20-22 ° C in summer is desirable, in winter not lower than 13-15 ° C. Does not tolerate drafts.

Lighting: The place for nephrolepis should be light enough, but with shade from direct sunlight, light partial shade is acceptable. Nephrolepis can grow in fairly dark places, but the bush will be liquid and ugly.

Watering: Watering only with settled water that does not contain lime. Watering is plentiful in spring and summer, moderate in winter, but the soil should be moist all the time. The root collar protrudes from the pot over time, which makes watering difficult, in which case watering from the pallet is recommended.

Fertilizer: Top dressing with liquid fertilizer for indoor ornamental deciduous plants from May to August every two weeks. Or weekly diluted fertilizer.

Air humidity: Nephrolepis, despite its endurance, does not tolerate dry air, and therefore requires frequent spraying. The ideal humidity is about 50-55%. The plant should be placed away from radiators and batteries.

Transfer: Transplant is carried out in the spring, only when the roots fill the entire pot. The soil should have a slightly acidic reaction. Soil – 1 part light turf, 1 part leaf, 1 part peat, 1 part humus and 1 part sand.

Reproduction: Reproduction mainly by division or layering.

Nephrolepis exaltedNephrolepis sublime. Farmer Kor! An

Nephrolepis care

Nephrolepis prefers diffused light, without direct sunlight.

The optimal place for placement is windows with a west or east orientation. On windows with a south orientation, nephrolepis is placed away from the window or diffused light is created with a translucent cloth or paper (gauze, tulle, tracing paper).

On warm summer days, you can take it out into the open air (balcony, garden), but it should be protected from sunlight, rain and drafts. If you do not have the opportunity to place the plant outdoors in the summer, then you should regularly ventilate the room.

In winter, nephrolepsis is provided with good lighting. Additional lighting can be created by using fluorescent lamps, placing them above the plant at a distance of 50-60 cm, for at least 8 hours a day. In the autumn-winter period, it is also necessary to ventilate the room, but drafts should be avoided.

For the successful growth and well-being of nephrolepis in the spring-summer period, the optimum temperature is about 20 ° C, at temperatures above 24 ° C, there must be high humidity, since it does not tolerate high temperatures.

In autumn-winter, the optimum temperature is within 14-15 ° C, maybe 3 ° C lower, but in this case, watering is reduced and watered carefully and in a small amount. Excessively warm air damages the plant, so it is advisable not to place it near central heating batteries. Drafts should be avoided.

In the spring-summer period, nephrolepis is watered abundantly after the top layer of the substrate dries up. In winter, watering is moderate, after a day or two, after the top layer of the substrate dries up. It is impossible to over-moisten the substrate, the soil should always be slightly moist. Nephrolepis is not as sensitive to accidental dryness of the earthy coma as other ferns, but it is still advisable to avoid it. Young fronds can dry out from this.

Like all ferns, nephrolepis prefers high humidity. Spraying is useful for him throughout the year. Spray with well-settled or filtered water. For nephrolepis, it is necessary to choose a place with the maximum air humidity. With dry indoor air, spraying is necessary at least once, and ideally twice a day. To increase moisture, the plant can be placed on a pallet with damp moss, expanded clay or pebbles. In this case, the bottom of the pot should not touch the water.

Periodically, nephrolepis can be washed under the shower. This procedure cleans the plant from dust, additionally moistening its frond; during washing, close the pot with a bag so that water does not get into the substrate.

Nephrolepis is fed during the growth period every week with diluted fertilizer (1 / 4-1 / 5 of the norm) for decorative leafy plants. They do not feed in autumn and winter – feeding during this period can lead to a serious disease of the plant.

A young fern is transplanted once a year in the spring, and adult plants – after 1-2 years. It is advisable to replant the fern in plastic pots, which better retain soil moisture than clay pots. In this case, the pots should be wide and low, since the root system of the fern grows in breadth.

When the pot becomes obviously small to the plant, its color fades, and young leaves grow poorly, frond dry out. When grown in a pot with a diameter of 12 cm, the length of nephrolepis leaves usually reaches 45-50 cm. There are also larger specimens, with leaves up to 75 cm long. The plant grows strongly throughout the year.

The substrate (pH 5-6,5) should be light and consist of equal parts of high peat, coniferous and greenhouse soil with the addition of bone meal (5 grams per 1 kg of mixture). It can also be grown on clean peat 20 cm thick, as well as in a mixture of 4 parts of deciduous soil, one part each of peat and sand. It is useful to add charcoal to the ground – this is a good bactericidal agent.

Good drainage is required – nephrolepis loves moist soil, but it is extremely painful to tolerate stagnant water and soil acidification. During transplanting, do not cover the neck of the fern with earth – leave the top of the rhizome on the surface of the earth. Water the plant abundantly immediately after transplanting and monitor the moisture content of the substrate for a week so that the lower leaves do not dry out.

Nephrolepis mechevidnyNephrolepis mechevidny. Farmer Mokkie

Reproduction of nephrolepis

Nephrolepis is propagated by spores (rarely), by rooting of pubescent leafless shoots, by dividing the rhizome (bush), some species by stolons (tubers).

When a plant propagates from the spores formed on the lower surface of the leaves, they are sown in early spring, preferably in a nursery, heated from below, where a temperature of 21 ° C is maintained.

Cut off a leaf from the plant and scrape the spores onto paper. Fill the nursery with a layer of drainage and decontaminated soil for sowing seeds. Water the soil well and scatter spores as evenly as possible. Cover the nursery with glass and place in a dark, warm place. Remove the glass briefly every day to ventilate, but do not let the ground dry out. The nursery should be kept in the dark until the plants appear (this will happen in 4-12 weeks).

Then transfer it to a lighted place and remove the glass. When the plants grow, thin them out, leaving the strongest at a distance of 2,5 cm from each other. Young specimens that develop well after thinning can be transplanted into pots with peat soil – 2-3 plants together.

In nephrolepis, in addition to leaves, terrestrial pubescent leafless shoots are formed, which are easily rooted. Several shoots (lashes) are pressed to the surface of the ground of another pot with hairpins or pieces of wire. Water the cuttings so that the potted substrate is constantly moist. When the cuttings grow, and they have new fronds, they are carefully separated from the mother plant.

When transplanting adult nephrolepis in February-March, you can carefully divide the rhizome, but only so that each divided part has a growing point. If there is only one growth point or they are few in number, then it is impossible to divide the plant, this can lead to death. Young plants do not start growing immediately after division. Each divided part is planted in a separate pot, covered with a transparent plastic bag, placed in a bright, warm place (without direct sunlight) and regularly watered and sprayed, periodically ventilated.

Nephrolepis cordifolia is successfully propagated by tubers (stolons). The largest of them reach a length of 2-2,5 m. Young tubers are white or silvery due to the numerous scales covering their surface. When separated, the tubers can germinate immediately without any dormancy period. Usually one plant grows from one tuber. It always has normal leaves, just like the leaves of the parent plant.

Nephrolepis cardiovascularNephrolepis cordifolia. Farmer Poco a poco

Possible difficulties in growing nephrolepis

Very low air humidity in the room, which leads to the drying of the tips of the wai and their falling off, as well as contributes to the infection with spider mites.

Direct sunlight causes plant burns.

Do not use preparations to make the leaves shine.

Do not fertilize the plant in the autumn-winter period, this leads to nephrolepis disease.

For the fern to grow successfully, light substrates must be used. In heavy plants, the plant does not develop well and may die – the earth sours and roots do not grow.

Types of nephrolepis

Nephrolepis exaltata (Nephrolepis exaltata)

Homeland – the tropics of Southeast Asia. A terrestrial or epiphytic herb with a short vertical rhizome bearing a rosette of large, up to 70 cm long, once-feathery leaves at the top. Leaves are lanceolate in outline, light green, short-petiolate. Segments (“feathers”) lanceolate, dl. 5 cm and more, indistinctly serrate-crenate along the margin. With aging, the leaves turn yellow and fall off.

On the underside of the segments, closer to the edge, there are rounded sori – in two rows on both sides of the midvein. On the rhizome, ground leafless, scaly rooting shoots (lashes) are formed, giving rise to new plants. Sori rounded, arranged in two rows on either side of the midvein, closer to the edge.

There are many garden forms in culture, differing in the degree of segmentation of the segments.

  • Bostoniensis – This variety quickly gained popularity on both sides of the Atlantic, so that today there are already dozens of Boston fern varieties, such as Rooseveltii (large, with wavy leaves), Maassii (compact, with wavy leaves) and Scottii (compact, with curled the edges of the leaves).

There are varieties with double-pinnate leaves, in which each leaf, in turn, is pinnately dissected. There are forms with three and four pinnately dissected leaves, so that the whole plant looks lacy. These are Fluffy Ruffles (double-plumose leaves), whitmanh (triple-plumose leaves) and smithii (quadruple-plumose leaves).

Nephrolepis exaltedNephrolepis sublime. Farmer Jerzy Opiola

Nephrolepis cordifolia

Homeland – tropical and subtropical forests of both hemispheres. It differs from the previous species in tuberous swellings formed on underground shoots (stolons), as well as leaves directed almost vertically upward (in N. sublime, the leaves are curved) and with a denser arrangement of segments, often intertwining overlapping each other. In culture since 1841

Nephrolepis xiphoid (Nephrolepis biserrata)

Homeland – Central America, Florida, tropical Atlantic islands. The leaves are large, more than a meter long, sometimes up to 2,5 meters. There are no tubers. This species is more suitable for greenhouse cultivation than for rooms.

Nephrolepis looks good as an ampelous plant and can be placed both in a regular pot and in a hanging basket. Well suited for growing in hallways and stairwells, as well as in bathrooms if there is a window. Do not use chemicals to make the leaves shine.

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Anna Evans

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