Pellea – miniature fern

One of the most charming pellei ferns invites plant lovers to admire the leaves of a miniature size and almost perfect round shape. At least that’s how they seem from afar. Shiny, as if carefully polished, magnificent leaf lobes form frond not quite typical of ferns. And the plant itself, due to its compact size, seems no less charming. And although it is not so easy to grow pellets, it cannot be attributed to the most capricious ferns. Pellea is a miniature beauty that can rightfully be called inimitable.

Round-leaved pellet (Pellaea rotundifolia). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com floradania

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Pellea – a push-button miracle with great charisma

The unique miniature pellet fern is very good both as a pot plant and in ampels. Its patterned leaves and elegant frond turn every plant into a luxurious accent. Pelleys got their name because of the dark-colored leaf stalks – from the Latin “pellos” (dark). But in our country this species is better known as a button fern, and in Europe – as a button fern.

This fern represents the family Pteris (Pteridaceae) and lives in subtropical and tropical zones of almost the entire northern hemisphere, but also occurs in New Zealand and southern Africa. The modest size of the fern in nature makes it almost invisible. But he has no equal in laceness and the ability to form a carpet under large plants.

The appearance of this fern is inimitably beautiful and easily recognizable even in the wild. But living in dry and mountainous regions endowed the pellet with several specific requirements for irrigation.

Pelley (Pellaea) – a genus of not very actively growing, but still releasing up to ten new wai of super-decorative, undersized herbaceous ferns per season. Plant height is often limited to 15 cm, although adult pellets can reach 40 cm. Growth and development of this fern occurs continuously. The release of leaves does not stop even in winter, although the most active phase of the growing season is traditionally in spring and summer.

In accordance with the constant growing season, there is also a constant dying off of old leaves, which affects the decorativeness of the plant. The rhizome of the pellea is round and compact. A distinctive feature of plants is the presence of narrow ribs, which are actually two-colored scales on creeping roots.

The fronds of this fern are not quite common. Triple-, double-pinnate or simple cirrus leaves are almost the same in size, smooth and whole-edged, sit very densely on the rachis and form an almost perfectly symmetrical, tiled pattern. Sporangia on the leaves are located at the ends of free veins and along the edges, as if covered with the folded edge of the leaves.

Popular types of pellets

In the genus Pelley (Pellaea) there are about 80 species of ferns, most of which have recently been retrained. As a houseplant, 6 types of pellets are grown.

Round-leaved pellet (Pellaea rotundifolia)
Round-leaved pellet (Pellaea rotundifolia). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Jody Marx

The absolute favorite of florists and the most decorative of all members of the genus is the charming miniature perennial Round pellets (Pellaea rotundifolia). This is a New Zealand plant with a creeping scaly rhizome, once-pinnate leaves up to 30 cm long and up to 4 cm wide.

The scales on the cuttings give the plant its brightness due to its brownish-red hue. But the main decoration of this pellet is rounded or elliptical leaves (up to 20 pairs on each frond) with a solid edge, a dark color and a dazzling gloss of a dark green surface.

Pellea dark purple (Pellaea atropurpurea) Is also a very popular and decorative type. It differs from the round-leaved pellet with its purple stalks and reddish-brown leaves, which make the fern one of the most dramatic crimson accents in any interior. Her leaves are double-pinnate, with pubescent petioles. This plant is not only indoor, but also garden. Moreover, its frost resistance allows you to admire the wintering leaves even in the middle lane.

Pellea green (green Pellsea) – stands out by the vayami collected in a basal rosette with atypically long petioles. Once-feathery leaves are capable of growing up to half a meter in length, quite wide, up to 20 cm, with oval leaf lobes. It is the largest pellet with the longest leaf lobes, which are not at all monotonous.

Pelleus ovoid (Pellaea ovata) Is a Central American species with very graceful fronds of light, bright leaves with heart-shaped lobes. This pellet is so unpretentious that it perfectly tolerates the heat even in winter. But the merits of this fern have not yet been fully appreciated, and it is very difficult to find it.

Pellea nude (Pellaea glabella) Is a North American species up to 35 cm high with almost linear, double-pinnate or single leaves with bare brown petioles. It is considered one of the best ferns for decorating alpine slides, but it is also used in room form.

Pellea is beautifully dark (Pellaea calomelanos) Is an African species of ferns with double or triple pinnate leaves up to 60 cm long and up to 30 cm wide, collected in a lush basal rosette. The fronds sit on long red petioles, and the shape of the leaf lobes is very unusual, triangular, asymmetrical.

Pelleia dark purple (Pellaea atropurpurea)
Pelleia dark purple (Pellaea atropurpurea). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com PB Pelser
Beautiful dark pellea (Pellaea calomelanos)
The pellea is beautifully dark (Pellaea calomelanos). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com P Ballings
Pellea nude (Pellaea glabella)
Pellea naked (Pellaea glabella). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com PB Pelser

Caring for pellei at home

Pelleia is not a typical fern. It loves medium-cool wintering and stable humidity, but is less hygrophilous than its popular relatives. The excellent tolerance of the dry air of apartments makes this plant one of the most promising medium-sized species, and careful care cannot be called too difficult.

The magnificent sparkle of the rounded pellet leaves literally transforms the interiors, the plant looks very elegant all year round. And you can safely choose it, even if you do not have much experience in growing indoor plants.

Lighting for pellets

Despite the fact that pellets are classified as ferns, these are light-loving indoor crops that need to be provided with an appropriate location in the interior. All species, except for dark purple and naked pellets, need protection from direct sunlight (garden pellets and in rooms are not afraid of direct sun). But the lighting should be diffused and as bright as possible.

On the southern windowsills, pelleys are shaded only with translucent, and not ordinary screens. Pellea develops best in locations similar to northern windowsills. On the west and east windows, it also needs to be scattered by the sun’s rays or exposed in the second or third row.

A pellet cannot be called a shade-loving plant, but it can be made shade-tolerant, subject to gradual adaptation from a young age. The plant in such a location grows more slowly, and the leaves partially change color, but in general this fern retains its decorative effect both in partial shade and in the shade.

To “translate” the pellet into less light, you need to gradually change its location, stretching the process of moving to a permanent place for 2-3 stages lasting 1-2 weeks (first move the plant 50 cm, then a little further, etc.) …

During the period of relative dormancy, from October to February, it is better for the pellet to adjust the lighting to compensate for its seasonal reductions. The fern is displayed in a brighter place (so that the average light intensity remains similar to the summer period).

Ovate pellea (Pellaea ovata)
Pelleus ovoid (Pellaea ovata). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Otto Ganss

Comfortable temperature

All pellets, except for ovoid, prefer moderate temperatures and even like coolness. These ferns feel more comfortable during the spring and summer with temperatures around 20 degrees. Heat (above 23 degrees) directly affects the attractiveness of the leaves and requires appropriate correction of care in terms of air humidification. Therefore, it is better to choose the coolest places in the house for pellets. But you should not allow the temperature to drop to 17-18 degrees.

The wintering mode for pellets is even easier to choose. During the period of relative dormancy, this plant is provided with an environment from 14 to 16 degrees Celsius. Hotter conditions can lead to partial or complete leaf-shedding (which can be easily avoided by adding heat-compensating leaf spraying to the maintenance program). Lower temperatures are destructive for pellets.

When controlling temperatures in winter, it must be borne in mind that the temperature of the substrate is much more important for the pellet, not the air. It is she who should in no case fall below 14 degrees: hypothermia of the root system can literally destroy the pellet.

Among the types of indoor pellets, it is no coincidence that there are many plants from the categories of garden ferns. This culture loves fresh air, is not afraid of drafts and just needs frequent ventilation. Due to the fact that the pellea prefers coolness even in summer, it is rarely taken out into the fresh air, with the exception of the shaded and cool northern balconies and terraces.

Watering and air humidity

Unlike most indoor ferns, pellet can hardly be called a moisture-loving plant. This beauty needs moderate watering, she does not like waterlogging or complete drying of the substrate in pots. Moreover, if after a drought it is able to recover quite quickly, then after the overflow it will be much more difficult to cope with the problems. 3-4 cm of the top layer of the substrate should dry between treatments. The usual frequency of treatments in spring and summer is 2 times a week.

If the air temperature is higher than the recommended one, then the plant is watered a little more often, but the intensity of watering is reduced. The water from the pallet must be drained immediately. In autumn and winter, the pellet is rarely watered and, in general, the moisture of the earthen coma is reduced, allowing the substrate to dry out between procedures and in the middle of the pot. Overflowing at this time of year, especially when kept cool, can be detrimental. But drought, even in winter, is undesirable. When watering at any time of the year, the plant needs careful handling: you cannot pour water on the leaves.

The water for the pellet should not be so much settled as at room temperature. Watering with settled, soft water is undesirable for pellets: this culture loves alkaline soils and some growers water it with water literally from the tap. But it is better not to resort to such extremes.

The biggest – and most pleasant – surprise was prepared by the pellet according to the requirements for air humidity. Pellea retains its luxurious foliage, its decorative effect does not suffer at all at 50% humidity. In general, room conditions are great for her and there is no need to take any special measures to moisturize the fern.

But if the air temperature deviates from the recommended values, then both in winter and in summer it is necessary to increase the air humidity by spraying the foliage. In winter, these procedures are carried out every other day, in summer – every day. But even such a measure is needed only when the indicators rise above 18 degrees in winter and 24 degrees in summer.

But the quality of water for spraying pellets will have to pay much more attention. For this culture, leaf moistening can only be carried out with soft, well-settled water with a temperature several degrees higher than room temperature. Use only small sprayers for spraying.

If there is no need to spray the plants, and dust accumulates on the greenery, then do not rush to wash the pellet using the shower method. It is better to wipe the dirt from the leaves with a soft brush, lightly brushing the greens with it. Wet “cleaning” the pellet is not good. She doesn’t like getting wet.

Pelle feeding

Like most ornamental deciduous plants, pellets need feeding only during the period of the most active growth from spring to autumn. Despite the fact that the development of the plant does not stop, fertilizers are not applied for the fern in autumn and winter. For pellets, feeding is carried out not with a standard frequency, but a little less often – about 1 time in 3 weeks. From October to February, fertilizers are not applied even if the plant loses its decorative effect.

It is best suited for this crop complex or complete fertilizers, specially designed for ornamental deciduous crops. Pure nitrogen fertilizers cannot be used for it, since pellets need not so much nitrogen as a special balance of microelements.

Pellet pruning

Due to the active development of this fern, the release of more than a dozen new wai leaves per season leads to the fact that the old leaves constantly dry out. The plant does not shed them on its own, and without regular pruning of dry wai, the bushes lose their decorative effect. As a matter of fact, it is precisely to the removal of dried, old and ugly leaves that all pruning on this fern comes down to. There is no need to rejuvenate and form a pellet.

Transplant and substrate

It is quite simple to pick up a soil mixture for this fern. True, you will have to forget about special substrates for ferns and acidic soils: pellets grow in nature on limestone rocks and, unlike their relatives, love soil with a slightly alkaline, in extreme cases – neutral reaction.

For this culture, both a conventional ready-made substrate for decorative deciduous plants, and a soil for ferns improved with an admixture of limestone and dolomite, or a universal substrate are suitable. If you are preparing the soil yourself, then mix in equal parts humus, peat, leafy soil, sand and add crushed limestone.

The pellet is transplanted only as needed, when the roots have completely absorbed the available substrate. Traditionally, this fern, regardless of age, is transplanted with a frequency of once every 1 years.

Unlike most indoor crops, the pellet does not need to be transplanted only at the end of February or March: a transplant is quite suitable for it at any time in spring and summer. During this procedure, a high drainage is laid, which acts as an important measure against waterlogging of the substrate. They do not destroy the earth lump, just removing the free soil and the top layer of the soil, trying to avoid contact with the roots.

After transplanting the pellets, special care will be required: for 3-5 days the plant is exposed in the so-called intermediate conditions, in partial shade, and at higher temperatures, light soil moisture is maintained with gentle watering until growth resumes and adaptation.

Capacities for plant transplantation must be selected very carefully: only shallow, wide pots, corresponding to the horizontal type of growth of creeping roots, are suitable for pellets. At the same time, the plant is not planted in large containers, the volume is increased by only a few cm, and if possible, they simply change the free and contaminated soil from above, planting the adult pellet back into the old pot.

Round-leaved pellet (Pellaea rotundifolia)
Round-leaved pellet (Pellaea rotundifolia). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com 99roots

Pelleys diseases and pests

For this fern, the greatest threat is represented by rot arising from waterlogging of the soil, and scale insects or aphids, which easily spread through beautiful foliage in the vicinity of infected plants. But on the other hand, this fern usually does not suffer from the pests most active in dry air – spider mites. It is impossible to deal with the problem of washing the leaves on the pellet; it is better to immediately resort to insecticides to destroy pests.

Common growing problems:

  • softening of shoots, sluggish foxes or foliage falling when the soil is waterlogged;
  • shrinking, drying, shedding of foliage in heat;
  • paleness and lethargy of the leaves with excessive lighting;
  • loss of color, drying of leaf tips, release of small leaves in the shade;
  • the appearance of yellow and brown spots on the leaves with sunburn.

Reproduction of pellets

A new generation of these ferns can be obtained using spores or a much simpler method – splitting the bushes.

It is possible to carry out the separation of large pellets literally at every transplant. The separation is best done by hand, so that in each part there are three or more growth points. All cuts and injuries must be treated with crushed coal. After separation, part of the roots is inevitably injured, and pellets, as a rule, need a long adaptation period. During this time, the plant needs to be cared for very carefully.

Spores in this fern are formed on the lower surface of the leaves in sporangia slightly covered with a turned-back edge. In early spring, you can collect pellet spores by cutting off a leaf and scraping them onto paper, and then sow them in shallow containers or nurseries with drainage laid on the bottom in a disinfected substrate in early spring.

The soil is watered abundantly and only after moistening is scattered over the surface of the soil. From above, the pellet crops are covered with foil or glass. They will germinate only under the condition of lower heating and an air temperature of about 21 degrees, in a dark place. Within 1-3 months before the emergence of shoots, you need to ventilate the container daily and regularly moisten the substrate, preventing it from completely drying out or damp. As soon as the first plants appear, the container with the seedlings must be transferred to bright lighting and immediately remove the film or glass from it.

As they grow up, young pellets are thinned out, leaving only the strongest shoots at a distance of 2 – 3 cm from each other. When the plants get stronger, they begin to develop rapidly, they are transplanted into separate small pots of 2-3 pcs.

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Pellea - miniature fern
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Anna Evans

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