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Cirthomium Is A Rarity Fern

, Admin

There aren't many ferns among indoor plants, and their popular species can literally be counted on the fingers of one hand. But few ferns have such impressive beauty and character as one of the rarest species of these ancient plants - Phanerophlebia, or Cirthomium. This fern is so rare that it is considered almost the least adapted species for indoor culture. Such a reputation is all the more unfair as the elegant and majestic Cyrtomium is absolutely undemanding to temperatures, lighting and even care.

Cirthomium is a rarity fern
Cyrtomium sickle-shaped (Cyrtomium falcatum), or Phanerophlebia sickle-shaped. © florafinder


  • The "pure" beauty of Phanerophlebium cyrtomium
  • Cyrtomium home care
  • Diseases and pests of Cyrtomium
  • Propagation of Cyrtomium

The "pure" beauty of Phanerophlebium cyrtomium

Perception, why phanerophlebias never became a popular and widespread species is difficult to understand. Just one look at the beauty of this fern's vai, not to mention the study of its modest requirements for conditions, is enough to love this plant forever.

Decorative, richly colored, gorgeous and not so bulky, phanerophlebia and alone can create the feeling of a forest oasis, without losing its classic austerity. Although today the plant has been relegated to the genus Cirthomiums, the name-synonym "Phanerophlebia" is still more common than the official botanical name.

And no wonder: after all, Cyrtomiums are ferns more associated with growing in open soil, whereas only one species of the former Phanerophlebia is used in indoor culture.

Cyrtomiums are highly ornamental ferns that represent the Scirpidaceae family. This plant is found in nature only in the tropics, where its beauty is as if created by Mother Nature to bring islands of tranquility and visual orderliness to the motley collection of plants.

In room culture, the old phanerophlebias were represented by several species, but apart from the exclusive collections of collectors one could always speak of the dominance of only one species, cyrtomium sickle, or, as it is still called, phanerophlebia sickle (Cyrtomium falcatum) . Folk names vividly testify to the fern's main virtues: it is fondly called "sacred fern," "holly" and "hollyleaf."

Fanerophlebia cyrtomium is a powerful fern, but not gigantic. Young plants develop slowly, adults build up a few vai per year. Thin soruses and petioles give the plant grace and further accentuate the large leaf fragments. The showy bracts on stout petioles covered with brown scales almost at the base look elegant and almost ornamental.

The maximum length of the leaves is up to 1 m, and that together with the base petiole, but in room culture cirtomyum usually limits itself to half a meter of leaf length. The peristyled leaves are dappled with sickle-shaped lobes, with a finely serrated margin and a strongly pointed tip, which appear expressive and large, emphasizing ornamentality and symmetry of the structure. Leathery, with a very rich dark green color, the leaves captivate by their glossy luster and with good care seem almost artificial - so flawless they look.

Home care for cirtomyum

Cyrtomyums are rightly ranked among the most unpretentious indoor ferns. You can safely start with them to get acquainted with these ancient plants: they are so adaptive that they will not cause difficulties even to inexperienced florists. Perfectly adapting to the most different illumination, temperatures and rooms, Cyrtomiums pleasantly surprise with their tolerance to care failures and simplicity of reproduction. It does not like cirtomyum only one thing - direct sunlight. But even in bright light, and in the penumbra, and in the shade, it will look luxurious with good care. The optimal location for phanerophlebia is considered the northern windowsills, but the options are not limited to them alone. Cirthomium phanerophlebia can also grow in rooms without windows, if it is provided with at least minimal artificial extra light.

Please also read this. Capricious and colorful Sparaxis

This fern opens up new possibilities in interior design, since you can set only aesthetic goals, forgetting about the strict limitation on lighting.

Cirthomium is a rarity fern
Cyrtomium sickle-shaped (Cyrtomium falcatum). © JMK

Comfortable temperature regime

The only requirements that Phanerophlebia has for air temperature is stability. This fern does not like sudden changes in conditions, but it can adapt to any temperature - both to normal living, hot and cold rooms. Minimum allowable temperature - 13 degrees.

Cyrtomiums should be protected from drafts, proximity of heaters and air conditioners.

Pouring cyrtomiums and humidity

Fanerophlebes even in comparison with their indoor relatives are distinguished by increased moisture-loving. But unlike most other indoor ferns, their requirements do not relate to the humidity of the air, but only the humidity of the substrate.

Cyrtomiums water frequently and abundantly. Even a slight drying of the soil will affect the attractiveness of the leaves. Stagnant water, waterlogging should not be allowed, but dry out between waterings should only the uppermost layer of soil. Stable humidity of the ground - the main guarantee of ornamental ferns regardless of the time of year. Winter watering shall be reduced, focusing only on changes in rate of soil drying.

Moisture of air for Phanerophlebia is desirable to keep high. The higher the air temperature, the more intensive the spraying needs to be. But unlike many other indoor ferns, this species is not afraid of a drier environment, average, does not require the installation of humidifiers and can be content with only spraying. Cyrtomium feels great in the kitchen and bathroom, in rooms with high or fluctuating humidity. In such a place it does not even need to be sprayed.

Feedings for cirthomium

Fanerophlebium will need fertilizers only during the active development stage.

This fern is very fond of organic fertilizers, and if you have the opportunity, you can alternate traditional feeding with complex mineral fertilizers with the introduction of organic.

Feeding is carried out with a frequency of once a month or as standard, halved in concentration doses.

Cirthomium is a rarity fern
Cyrtomium sickle-shaped (Cyrtomium falcatum). © charlie-cook

Transplanting Cyrtomium and substrate

Fanerophlebia is not afraid of transplants and adapts well in new soil. Repotting the fern can be done annually, but it is better to change the container only when necessary, when the roots show from the drainage holes. For adult plants, transplanting may not be carried out, being limited to changing the top layer of soil.

In contrast to lighting or temperature, ferns are very demanding to the soil. Only a special soil mixture for ferns or similar substrates with a high content of top peat will suit them. By adding peat to a universal substrate, you can get a fairly comfortable environment in terms of reaction and texture for this fern. If there is no other option, cirtomyum can also be grown in pure peat. The optimal soil reaction is 5.0-6.0.

The main secret of transplanting Cyrtomium is careful inspection of the roots and removal of damaged sections. Because of the high soil moisture, phanerophlebias often suffer from rotting, and the risk of partial damage to small roots is high. "Cleaning" the rhizome before changing the container can prevent these problems and keep the fern in a healthy condition. The roots must be handled carefully, they are very easily injured and broken. When transplanting you need to make sure that the root neck is not submerged in the soil.

Diseases and pests of Cyrtomiums

Fanerophlebias are most often affected by scutes, other pests are found on these ferns very rarely.

Prevalent problems in growing Cyrtomiums:

  • drying and wilting of leaves in too dry air with improper watering;
  • stopping growth with poor nutrition;
  • appearing brown spots, yellowing of lower leaves with overwatering;
  • yellowing of leaves and drying of vai tips in very dry air or with other care failures.
Cirthomium is a rarity fern
Spores on the woads of Cyrtomium sickle-shaped. © Recregarden

Propagation of Cyrtomyum

Unlike some room ferns that are sensitive to transplants and division, Phanerophlebia provides many more propagation options.

The easiest way to increase a Cyrtomyum collection is to divide plants when transplanting.

You can also get this fern from spores. Cyrtomium often self-sows both in its own pot and in the containers of neighboring plants. The spores, after drying, germinate readily in a light peat mixture when sown superficially and in high humidity under film or glass and with bottom heating.