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?

Share

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

Wednesday - April 10, 2013

From: Lancaster, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Container Gardens, Ferns
Title: Yellowing fern houseplants from Lancaster PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

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! Hmmmm??? Do you have any answers?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is not too smart about house plants, because they tend to be non-natives that can withstand the stresses of living indoors. There are some ferns native to North America, which is where our interests lie, but not many. First, we suggest you read our How-to Article on Container Gardening with Native Plants. Even these are generally meant to be grown outside in the climate, soils and rainfall usual to which the plants are native. So, let us point you at some websites that can better address your situation:

University of Vermont Extension: Growing Ferns Successfully Indoors

Guide to Houseplants: Types of Ferns to Grow Indoors

University of Rhode Island Indoor Ferns

Turns out there are actually 66 ferns native to Pennsylvania, so we chose some for you to look at, in the interest of preserving our advocacy for native plants. You will note from the pictures that they are all shown growing in their natural state outside, so we don't know how any of them would do as indoor plants.

Asplenium resiliens (Blackstem spleenwort)

Athyrium filix-femina (Common ladyfern)

Chaptalia tomentosa (Woolly sunbonnets)

Diplazium pycnocarpon (Glade fern)

Dryopteris cristata (Crested woodfern)

Dryopteris marginalis (Marginal woodfern)

Osmunda cinnamomea (Cinnamon fern)

Pellaea atropurpurea (Purple cliffbrake)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)

Pteridium aquilinum (Western bracken fern)

Pteridium aquilinum var. pseudocaudatum (Bracken fern)

Woodwardia areolata (Netted chainfern)

 

From the Image Gallery


Cinnamon fern
Osmunda cinnamomea

Common lady fern
Athyrium filix-femina

Woolly lipfern
Cheilanthes tomentosa

Glade fern
Diplazium pycnocarpon

Crested woodfern
Dryopteris cristata

Marginal woodfern
Dryopteris marginalis

Cinnamon fern
Osmunda cinnamomea

Purple cliffbrake
Pellaea atropurpurea

Christmas fern
Polystichum acrostichoides

Western bracken fern
Pteridium aquilinum

Bracken fern
Pteridium aquilinum var. pseudocaudatum

Netted chainfern
Woodwardia areolata

More Container Gardens Questions

Native plants for container gardening in Houston
April 26, 2008 - Hi, we live a townhouse community in Houston, TX and have a decent sized backyard. I plan on devoting part of that to plant some potted flowers which are less than 6 ft tall (we can't plant anything ...
view the full question and answer

Indoor plants for El Paso TX
January 05, 2013 - I want to know what kind of plants will survive indoors in El Paso. It is so dry here, is there anything leafy or flowery that will thrive indoors in this climate?
view the full question and answer

Do plants grow faster in natural or artificial light?
March 13, 2009 - Do you think plants will grow faster in natural light or artificial light or a combination of both? And why do you think that. and need your answer for my biology project please and thank you for your...
view the full question and answer

Plants for big pots by pool in Austin
August 14, 2012 - Could you please suggest some plants to put in big pots out by my pool? They will get lots of heat and sun. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Native plants for container gardens in Central Texas
March 11, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I moved to TX last year, for now living in an apartment with a good-size but shady deck; my garden in VA was full of VA native plants. What TX natives, if any, can I grow in ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center