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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.

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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.

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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!

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Sunday - June 05, 2005

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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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.
 

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