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

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Monday - October 05, 2009

From: Bay Point, CA
Region: California
Topic: Ferns
Title: Fertilizer for Maidenhair Fern in Bay Point CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is it possible to feed a Maidenhair Fern the same plant food as a African Violet? I use Schultz African Violet Plus.

ANSWER:

Since our specialty is plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown, we don't know much about African violets, which are native to (of course) Africa.  Adiantum capillus-veneris (common maidenhair) is native to California and, in fact, is shown as growing in the vicinity of Contra Costa County by this USDA Plant Profile. Ordinarily, we don't consider it necessary to do much fertilizing of plants native to the area, because they are already accustomed to growing in the climate and soil. However, if you are growing them as container plants, they should probably have a yearly application of a 10-20-10 garden food; that is, 10% nitrogen, 20% phosphorus and 10% potassium. We did check on what was recommended for African violets, and they apparently prefer a 20-20-20 plant food, much more frequently applied. All you have to do is read the label of any commercial fertilizer preparation you pick up, and it will tell you what the proportions are. We doubt that the African violet fertilizer you are using now would hurt the maidenhair fern, but don't overdo it!

 

From the Image Gallery


Southern maidenhair fern
Adiantum capillus-veneris

Southern maidenhair fern
Adiantum capillus-veneris

Southern maidenhair fern
Adiantum capillus-veneris

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