Despite their status as ancient plants, ferns still know how to surprise with their originality. Among them you will find not only plants with classic wyles, but also with not quite ordinary greenery. Lush and openwork, fashionable and extravagant microsorum is an example of just such original ferns. Wide, wavy leaves of unusual shape form a dense, almost tangled weave, and the bright gloss only emphasizes the unconventional green with a "crocodile" pattern. This still rare but rapidly gaining popularity fern is one of the best candidates for landscaping kitchens and bathrooms, living rooms and cozy work areas. Growing microsorums is not that difficult, and it grows fast enough.
Microsorum - a fern with a friendly disposition
Curly, luxuriant, unusual - this is how any microsorum is perceived in any collection. These are special ferns with a very "malleable" character, which please the older they become, constantly actively grow and develop, changing from modest bushes and slender shrubs into magnificent and curly beauties. And at the same time it always remains a neutral plant in terms of style, and versatile in its use, and surprisingly original. Microsorums are called "crocodiles" here because of their unique reticulate veins: the surface of the fern leaves is indeed similar in pattern to the skin of these reptiles. They belong to the family Polypodiaceae and come into our interiors from Australia, Oceania and South-East Asia.
Microsorums (Microsorum) - small ferns with creeping rhizome, usually limited to 25-50 cm in height. The roots are capable of climbing out to the surface of the ground. The length of the leaves in the room culture never exceeds 60 cm, although in nature this fern forms one-meter long wyes. Leaves of microsporum are petiolate or sessile, forming handsome clumps. Leaves are either simple, narrowly elliptical, or pinnately dissected into large, broad lobes (usually the number of lobes is limited to 3-5 segments). The young juvenile wyes of the plant resemble sorrel more than ferns. The characteristic cross-section on the bracts becomes apparent only with age: the fern becomes more openwork and more beautiful with each year.
The network of veins is reticulate, resembling (as already mentioned) crocodile skin. All microsorum leaves have an irregularly wavy edge rather than a smooth surface. They curl, curl, curl slightly, giving the plant its curly appearance. Sorules (brown-red dots on leaves) are arranged either in rows along the central vein or irregularly along the underside of the leaves. Uncovered sporangia (from Greek spóra - sowing, seed and angéion - vessel, receptacle) is a unicellular (in fungi and many lower plants) or multicellular (in higher plants) reproductive organ in which spores are formed).
Popular species of microsorum
The genus microsorum includes about fifty fern species. In room culture, they are represented by only three of the most compact and ornamental species:
- Microsorum punctatum (Microsorum punctatum) is a fern with a short creeping rhizome and very rigid, narrow-elliptical leaves sitting on short petioles. Forms compact and spring sorrel-like clumps up to 30 cm high.
- Microsorum banana-leaved (Microsorum musifolium) is a rarer species, with age capable of producing shoots one meter long. Its leaves are very unusual, leathery. Due to the reticulate veins, it resembles the skin of a crocodile more than other species, though the general shape of the leaf is really similar to that of bananas.
- Microsorum diversifolium (Microsorum diversifolium) is a plant with bright leaves divided into 3-5 oval-volute segments, which emit a very pleasant aroma when touched.
Today an aquatic fern species, Microsorum winged (Microsorum pteropus), is often associated with the name of microsorums. This is a very fashionable species today among aquarists, which is actively promoted as one of the most original ferns for growing in paludariums and aquariums. It is rooted in sandy soil and is used as a fine decoration for the middle and back of aquariums.
Were once considered a calling card of the genus Microsorum scolopendria (Microsorum scolopendria), but today the plant with a different file structure and growth form is reclassified as Phymatodes scolopendria, and given the far greater similarity to nephrolepsis than to microsorums proper, this is not surprising.
Growing microsorums is possible even for beginners in floriculture. Despite their love of high humidity, these ferns are unpretentious and hardy plants. They can forgive small lapses in care, they themselves signal an uncomfortable environment and recover well. They are heat-loving and actively growing ferns that are not difficult to care for.
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Lighting for microsorums
The only disadvantage of microsorums, or rather the parameter in which they are inferior to classic indoor ferns, is their light loving nature. Microsorums need bright light, but with protection from direct sunlight. Eastern and western window sills are called ideal for these ferns. In the winter, it is advisable to adjust the lighting by increasing it to create a more stable environment. The fern responds well to extra light.
There are now some varieties of microsorums on sale, feeling well in a light penumbra and accustomed to shading. Lighting parameters comfortable for the plant, it's better to clarify when buying.
Comfortable temperature regime
Microsorums belong to the most heat-loving houseplants. They are not afraid of heat, but suffer from the slightest overcooling. It is better to limit the air temperature to a minimum of 20 degrees Celsius. A comfortable temperature range, in which the plant will not lose its decorativeness - from 21 to 28 degrees Celsius. The most important point in maintaining a warm environment for microsorums is to protect the roots from hypothermia. For microsorums it's not so much the air temperature as the substrate temperature that is important, the plant is better placed on stands, not allowing contact with a cold window sill or other surfaces that can lead to cooling of the soil in the pot.
Love for warmth and stability is also shown in microsorums by the fact that plants cannot be taken out into the open air in summer. This fern is only grown in indoor culture. When ventilating the room, ferns must be protected from drafts.
Watering and humidity
Like all other ferns, microsorum is a moisture loving plant. Wetness, stagnant water it will not tolerate, but abundant regular watering after drying out only the top layer of soil is the best strategy. This fern forgives short-term, but not long droughts. In winter the humidity of the soil is slightly reduced, waiting 1-2 days after the drying of the upper layer of substrate. If possible, it's better to water the plant with rainwater or boiled water.
Microsorums are great as an ordinary potted plant and in wet florariums with paludariums. The only difference in the care of the plants is the need to take care of increased humidity when growing in living rooms. Microsorums just love spraying, and if you have a chance to do the procedure 2-3 times a day, you can limit yourself to them. But much better stabilizes the humidity of the air by placing the plant on a tray with wet moss or pebbles, placing other home-made or industrial humidifiers.
Fertilizers for microsorum
This fern prefers organic fertilizers, if they are not in your arsenal of means - then a complex universal fertilizers or special fertilizers for ferns. Fertilizers are applied only during active growth, from mid-spring and all summer, with a standard frequency of 1 procedure per 2-3 weeks.
Placement and substrate
Changing the containers for microsorum only when the previous pot becomes too cramped for the fern, the roots literally start to come out of the container. Usually this fern is transplanted no more than 1 time in 2-3 years. The best time is at the beginning of active growth in February or March.
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For microsorums do not use classical pots, but pots - very wide and as low as possible containers. Microsorums look great in hanging cachepots, pots on legs, decorative stands. Ready-made substrate for ferns or any air permeable and friable soil will do equally well. If you mix the substrate yourself, give preference to a mixture of equal parts sand, leaf soil and peat or a mixture of equal parts turf and leaf soil with half as much sand and peat. In the substrate only welcome additions of pine bark, charcoal, sphagnum. The optimum pH - from 5,5 to 7,0.
When transplanting microsorum lay the average drainage height of at least 2-3 cm. When planting a fern, it is important to make sure that the plant is not buried compared to the previous container. Handle the plant very carefully, without removing the substrate, avoiding even the slightest contact with the roots. After transplanting for 3-4 days or a week, keep the microsorum in a semi-shady location, with increased air humidity (you can even install a greenhouse or hood).
Diseases and pests
Microsorums are resistant plants that can only suffer in very dry air. In the neighborhood with infected crops, microsorums are threatened by scales, in the absence of spraying - spider mite. It is better to fight pests with combined methods, applying mechanical removal of insects with an increase in air humidity and treatment with insecticides if the problem is neglected. Quite often, thrips, mealybugs and whiteflies also "move" to the plant.
Common problems in growing microsorums:
- drying leaf tips with low soil moisture;
- yellowing of leaves in sunny location;
- stopping growth in direct sunlight;
- drying leaves with low humidity;
- pale coloration, loss of turgor with improper nutrition;
- stopping growth or slowed growth and loss of leaf appeal with lack of light.
The most popular method is rhizome division. It is possible to divide microsorums every time they are transplanted by carefully cutting off the young plants, letting them dry and rubbing them with ground charcoal. The rules for planting divided ferns are the same as for transplanting the plant.
Growing ferns from spores is much more difficult. This method is used very rarely, for germination it requires lower heating, drying of the spores, germination on peat in conditions of very high humidity and low light.
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