Real World Gardener Hen and Chicken Fern is Plant of the Week

February 22nd, 2015

 REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" />


Real World Gardener is funded by the Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF).

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition. The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website



with Karen Smith from

Do you have enough ferns in your garden filling out the shady damp places?

Fernery, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. photo M Cannon

It’s amazing how some ferns spring up out of nowhere it places where you’d think it was impossible to grow ferns.

I have maiden hair ferns sprouting out of the bottom of a sandstone retaining wall and surviving without any care at all.

Hen and chicken fern, is another one that’s easy to grow and has an really interesting way of growing.

Asplenium bulbiferum, or Hen and Chicken fern,   is native to Australia and New Zealand.

 In nature, native ferns usually are usually found growing in the damp, dim places that frogs would like to call home.


They will grow well outdoors in any shady area, as long as they have enough moisture and are protected from drying winds.

Use them as ground covers or accents in shady areas or along a north-facing wall or fence.



It's called a 'hen and chicken' fern because it grows small bulbils on the top of its fronds.  Once these bulbils grow to about 5 cm (or are carrying three of four miniature fronds, they can be easily detached between the finger and thumb and then planted in small pots.), these offspring will fall off of the main plant (or they can be removed carefully and planted) and provided that the soil they land in is kept moist, they’ll develop a small root system and then start to grow on into a new ferns.  In 3 to 6 months they will have developed a good sturdy root system and will be ready to pot on to the next size. Much easier than propagating using the spore method.


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