Plant of the day: Hen and Chicken fern

Hen and Chicken Fern

I have always loved this plant. It is one of the first indoor plants that I grew when I was in my early 20’s and it was then that I first found that I actually had green thumbs – and fingers! This Hen and Chicken fern along with the wispy, romantic maiden hair fern have been my two ‘fern’ favourites!

Romantic maidenhair fern!
Maidenhair fern

Asplenium bulbiferum.  
This fern is native only to NZ. It is called pikopiko, mouku or mauku in Maori. 

and apparently you can eat the yet to unfurl new frond (pikopiko) – I haven’t done this but if needs be would definitely give it a try – a pesto perhaps?

Often used as an indoor house plant; it can be grown outside in a warm area. A ground cover plant that would look fabulous growing next to a maiden hair fern under any NZ natives (plants that is!).   It got the name H & C from the  spectacular looking  plantlets that are produced on top of the plant’s fronds; dependent on the wind to move the plantlets to start new lives on the forest floor.

Closely, closely, Hen and Chicken fern
Close up of the plantlet ready to propagate

My H & C is inside away from the direct sunlight but in a warm place. Keep moist and well fed. I use ‘worm juice’ which is extracted from our worm garden!

To propagate I remove some plantlets and drop them into some good potting mix/seed raising mix and some of our homegrown fertiliser!

Plantlet in soil
Hen and Chicken fern plantlets in soil

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