Propagating Ferns: How to Grow New Plants from Tubers

Propagating Ferns: How to Grow New Plants from Tubers

Are you looking to expand your fern collection? Propagating ferns from tubers is a simple and rewarding way to grow new plants. In this article, we will discuss the step-by-step process of propagating ferns, from selecting the right tubers to caring for your new plants. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting out, this guide will help you successfully propagate ferns and add beauty to your indoor or outdoor garden.

Understanding Fern Tubers

Fern tubers play a crucial role in the propagation of ferns as they contain all the necessary nutrients and energy for the growth of new plants. Understanding these tubers is essential for successful propagation.

What are Fern Tubers?

Fern tubers are underground storage structures that store nutrients and energy for the fern plant. These tubers are similar to bulbs in flowering plants and act as a reserve for the fern to survive adverse conditions such as drought or low temperatures. They are essential for the propagation of ferns as they contain all the necessary resources for the development of new plants.

Benefits of Propagating Ferns from Tubers

There are several benefits to propagating ferns from tubers. Firstly, it is a natural and efficient way to grow new plants as the tubers already contain all the nutrients needed for growth. This method also ensures genetic diversity as the new plants are exact replicas of the parent plant. Additionally, propagating ferns from tubers is a cost-effective way to expand your fern collection as it requires minimal resources.

Best Fern Varieties for Tubers

Not all fern varieties produce tubers, so it is essential to choose the right species for propagation. Some of the best fern varieties for tubers include the Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata), the maidenhair fern (Adiantum spp.), and the rabbit’s foot fern (Davallia fejeensis). These ferns are known for their prolific tuber production and are relatively easy to propagate from tubers.

Preparing for Propagation

When propagating ferns from tubers, it is important to begin by selecting healthy tubers, gathering necessary supplies, and creating the ideal growing environment. By following these steps, you can increase the likelihood of successful plant growth and propagation.

Selecting Healthy Tubers

When choosing tubers for propagation, look for ones that are firm, plump, and free of any signs of disease or damage. Healthy tubers will have a good amount of stored energy that will help support new plant growth. Avoid tubers that are soft, shriveled, or discolored as these may not produce viable plants.

Gathering Necessary Supplies

Before beginning the propagation process, make sure you have all the necessary supplies on hand. This may include potting soil, pots or containers, a spray bottle for misting, and a clear plastic bag or dome to create a humid environment. Having everything ready beforehand will help make the propagation process smoother and more efficient.

Creating the Ideal Growing Environment

Ferns thrive in a humid and shady environment, so it is important to create the ideal conditions for their growth. Place the tubers in a pot with well-draining soil, mist them regularly to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, and provide indirect sunlight. You can also cover the pot with a clear plastic bag or dome to help retain moisture and create a greenhouse-like environment for the tubers to sprout.

By following these steps and taking the time to properly prepare for propagation, you can increase the chances of successfully growing new fern plants from tubers. Remember to be patient and attentive to the needs of your plants as they begin to grow and develop.

Propagating Ferns from Tubers

Ferns are beautiful and versatile plants that can easily be propagated from tubers. There are several methods you can use to grow new fern plants from tubers, including division, cutting, and sowing spores.

Division Method

One of the easiest ways to propagate ferns from tubers is through division. To do this, simply dig up the tuber and carefully separate it into smaller sections, making sure each section has some roots attached. Plant these sections in a well-draining soil mixture and keep them moist until they establish roots and start to grow.

Cutting Method

Another method for propagating ferns from tubers is through cuttings. To do this, take a cutting from the tuber, making sure it has at least one leaf and some roots attached. Plant the cutting in a pot with well-draining soil and keep it moist until it starts to grow.

Sowing Spores Method

Lastly, you can also propagate ferns from tubers by sowing spores. Collect spores from mature fern fronds and sprinkle them onto a pot of moist soil. Keep the soil moist and humid to encourage the spores to germinate and grow into new fern plants.

By following these methods, you can easily propagate ferns from tubers and grow new plants to enjoy in your garden or home.

Caring for Newly Propagated Ferns

After successfully propagating ferns from tubers, it is important to provide proper care to ensure the new plants thrive and grow healthy. Here are some essential tips for caring for newly propagated ferns:

Watering and Moisture Levels

Ferns are known for their love of moisture, so it is crucial to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Water the newly propagated ferns when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch. Make sure the pots have drainage holes to prevent water from pooling at the bottom.

During the hot summer months, you may need to water your ferns more frequently to maintain the right moisture levels. However, be cautious not to overwater as this can lead to root rot. Using a spray bottle to mist the foliage can also help maintain humidity levels.

Light Requirements

Ferns prefer indirect or filtered light, as direct sunlight can scorch their delicate fronds. Place your newly propagated ferns in a location with bright, indirect light, such as near a window with sheer curtains. Avoid placing them in areas with intense sunlight, as this can cause the leaves to become crispy and dry.

If you notice your ferns are not getting enough light, you can supplement with artificial grow lights to ensure they receive the necessary light for healthy growth.

Fertilizing and Repotting

Fertilize your newly propagated ferns once a month during the growing season with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength. This will provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and vibrant foliage. Avoid overfertilizing, as this can lead to fertilizer burn and damage the roots.

As your ferns grow, you may need to repot them into larger containers to accommodate their expanding root systems. Repotting is best done in the spring when the plant is actively growing. Choose a pot that is only slightly larger than the current one to prevent overwatering and root rot.

By following these care tips for newly propagated ferns, you can enjoy lush, thriving plants that will beautify your indoor space.


In conclusion, propagating ferns from tubers is a rewarding and relatively simple process that can provide you with an abundance of new plants to enjoy. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can successfully create a thriving fern garden filled with lush greenery. Remember to be patient and diligent in caring for your new ferns, and soon enough you will have a beautiful and vibrant collection of plants to admire. Happy gardening!