En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - June 05, 2005

From: Los Angeles, CA
Region: California
Topic: Ferns
Title: Propagation of ferns
Answered by: Joe Marcus


I have several varieties of well-established ferns and would like to know how I might propagate these ferns. I have tried just snipping one stem to root it but I was unsuccessful.


Ferns typically cannot be propagated by stem cuttings. For most home fern gardeners, the best method of propagation is by plant division. That is, you should remove a large fern from the soil and divide it into two or more plants by severing the rhizomes with a sharp knife or pruning shears. Once separated plant the newly divided ferns into good potting soil, water, and keep out of direct sunlight until they are well established. Ferns may also be propagated by spores, but that is a more difficult process and typically requires very exacting growing conditions.

More Ferns Questions

Identity of a fern-like plant in Nashville TN.
July 30, 2009 - There is a fern like plant that is growing in partial sun in my front yard. It closes and opens with the sun. Its leaves are lacy and long; so far no flowers. I have pictures but not for this format...
view the full question and answer

Source for ground pine plants from Ligonier PA
December 21, 2012 - Where can I purchase "ground pine plants? I want to use them for erosion control.
view the full question and answer

Texas native plants for cemetery site
February 09, 2005 - I am trying to landscape my mothers gravesite located in far East Texas (just outside of Nacogdoches) and I am looking for some evergreen bushes or any other decorative plants for that area. I am thi...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover under Spruces from West Chester PA
December 06, 2012 - Trying to get a native groundcover (or any grass/wildflower/fern) planting established under a small stand of spruces. Established stand (30+ years old), so lots of needles on ground. Just about tot...
view the full question and answer

Container plants for Arlington TX
February 10, 2012 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I just moved to Arlington, TX. I am trying to create a container garden on my apartment balcony. What flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruit combinations can I put together that wil...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center