En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Fertilizer for Maidenhair Fern in Bay Point CA
October 05, 2009 - Is it possible to feed a Maidenhair Fern the same plant food as a African Violet? I use Schultz African Violet Plus.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on thousand year old interrupted fern
April 03, 2005 - We recently built a new home in the mountains of western Virginia. I am told by the local Botanist that there is a patch of "thousand year old interrupted fern" that runs through, among other pla...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing fern houseplants from Lancaster PA
April 10, 2013 - I have fern houseplants about 9 to 12 months old and they are turning yellow. I don't overwater and they get good light. They are growing well but I don't understand the yellowing and falling off! ...
view the full question and answer

Hanging plants for Austin, TX
May 18, 2014 - I'm looking for a hanging potted flower suggestion for Austin. Most locations are shaded under a large tree, but some locations may have several hours of afternoon sun. I'd love to see some hummin...
view the full question and answer

Stopping erosion on bank of a Florida retention pond
July 21, 2015 - I live on a retention pond, which has had all vegetation killed by the lake doctor. As a result the bank has eroded so there is a drop off directly to the water rather than a sloping bank. What plan...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center