Rib Fern, Blechnum spicant - Profile, care and propagation

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Shady to shady locations are available in every garden. Trees and shrubs often obscure large areas where normal garden plants are no longer comfortable. Even dark garden corners without sunlight are difficult to plant permanently. These areas do not look very inviting. At the latest then beats the big hour of the ferns. These 'living fossils' love the shade and partial shade. Here is their habitat, here they feel good.
To the Rippenfarngew├Ąchsen belongs the rib fern, bot. 'Blechnum spicant'. It is unique because it is the only Blechnum species found in central Europe. Soil-poor coniferous forests, shores, pond edges and boggy areas are its natural remit. In Central Europe, the 'Blechnum spicant' is native to the low mountain ranges. It reaches a height of about twenty to forty centimeters. Its leaves are almost leathery. They are shiny and dark green. On lime-poor to acid soils with loose humus soil, which is fresh to moist, 'Blechnum spicant' feels particularly well. The shadows of coniferous trees and large rhodendrons are his preferred area.
Characteristics of the rib fern 'Blechnum spicant'
  • German name: Rippenfarn
  • Botanical name: Blechnum spicant
  • Family: Blechnaceae
  • Origin: native plant
  • Leaf: pinnate, glossy, lanceolate
  • Leaf color: dark green
  • Leaf decoration: yes
  • Soil: high humus requirement, permeable, low in lime
  • Fruit: spores
  • Fruit decoration: yes
  • Foliage: wintergreen
  • Foliage color: dark green
  • Plant requirements: 4 to 7 plants per square meter
  • Planting distance: 30 to 40 centimeters
  • Habitat: Partial shade to shade
  • Use: woody or woody edge
  • Winter hardy: yes
  • Growth: arched, spreading
  • Growth form: ground covering, horstbildend
  • Growth height: 20 - 40 centimeters
  • Root: Flat root, which very strongly roots the topsoil
To the genus 'Blechnum' (rib fern) include many and very different ferns. There are slow and upright growing species that form a trunk over time and then resemble tree ferns. Other species are small and grow creeping.
  • Blechnum brasiliense with its rosettes of lancelike and heavy fronds of 95 centimeters long and 25 centimeters wide fronds. They grow out of a black-brown rhizome.
  • Blechnum Crispum, slightly weaker in growth than the big brother Blechnum brasiliense, has small and wavy fronds. They are often reddish in the young plant.
  • Blechnum gibbum, it is one of the most popular rib ferns. During growth, it forms a uniform rosette of up to 95 centimeters long and 25 centimeters wide fronds. They arise from a black, scaly trunk of up to one meter in height.
  • Blechnum moorei is only a small fern. His fronds are barely larger than 30 inches.
  • Blechnum occidentale is a master in the formation of underground creeping rhizomes. Its bright green and slightly upturned fronds reach a length of up to 50 centimeters and a width of 15 centimeters. It is striking that the middle rib of the fronds is distinctly paler than the rest of the fern.
The ferns grow and thrive particularly well in partially shaded to shady locations. Moorish humus soil, permeable and calcareous, fulfills its site requirements. If its habitat offers some protection from the wind, 'Blechnum spicant' thrives better than in a free position.
For one square meter 4 to 7 plants are sufficient. In row planting, the distance between the individual plants should be 30 to 40 centimeters. The rosette of the fern should protrude a little above the earth surface after planting. This way, the fronds can develop faster.
The Rib Fern feels particularly well in addition to royal lily, thimble and rhododendron. Together they set very decorative accents...
Care & Fertilization
The ribwort 'Blechnum spicant' is easy to care for and undemanding. No pruning is required, the new fronds in the spring quickly displace the old leaves.
In very dry periods, the ribwort needs regular water. Dryness does not tolerate the plant and it does not grow so abundantly.
An optimal location does not require fertilization. Decisive is a fertile and humus soil. It is sufficient to work in the spring compost and organic fertilizer, such as horn shavings, in the soil.
Older and vigorous plants tolerate a division of the rhizome. The best times for a division are in the spring or fall. In a division, the sections are to show some fronds. After planting these sections, these fronds quickly close again to a rosette, which then forms new leaves quickly.
Also by sowing the rib fern can multiply. The spurs bearing fronds stop and the wind carries them in all directions.If at some locations the small ferns are not desired later, the removal of the young plants is sufficient. Maybe there is a new suitable location for each of these 'original plants'.
winter care
'Blechnum spicant' is perennial and frost hardy. A special winter protection is not necessary.
Diseases & pests
The rib fern is one of the most robust plants. He remains largely spared by diseases and pests. Only location and care mistakes can harm him sustainably.
'Blechnum spicant' as a houseplant
Even when cultivated as a houseplant the ribwort is easy to care for. Nevertheless, experience and average knowledge in the care of a fern are recommended.
Also in the house, the fern requires a partially shaded location and only a little morning sun. He does not tolerate a full midday sun.
to water
While growing up, the rib ferns need plenty of water. The bale should always stay moist. Because the fern does not tolerate waterlogging, there must be no irrigation water in the coasters. If the temperatures in the room sink to below 13┬░ Celsius, the water is only poured moderately. Now the upper layer of soil in the pot between the Wassergaben can also dry easily. At low temperatures no spraying with water is required.
The room temperature for the cultivation of a rib fern should be a maximum of 24┬░ Celsius. From spring to autumn, the main growth period is enough. Now the fern needs the highest possible humidity. It is now helpful to place the fern on pebbles in water-filled bowls. He hovers over the water, so to speak.
During the rest period, a temperature around 15┬░ Celsius is ideal. Temperatures below 10┬░ Celsius are not recommended.
Tip: The lower the room temperature, the drier the substrate may be.
Propagation in room culture
Propagation from spores is difficult in a room culture.
Easier is an increase over the division of the rhizome. It is shared with a sharp knife. The cuts continue to grow quickly in a suitable pot.
The Rib Fern copes with normal unit soil when planting containers. Also in a mixture, which consists of equal parts of compost earth and Lauberde, the plant feels well.
The ribwort is only repotted when its roots appear on the surface of the earth.
Fertilizers & nutrients
The ribwort 'Blechnum spicant' gets a dose of liquid fertilizer only once or twice in the main growing season (spring to fall). The concentration should be only half the amount stated on the package. After fertilizer application, pay attention to even moisture in the soil for a few days to avoid fertilizer damage to the roots.
Frequently asked question
The ribwort in my flower window was attacked by small ovules. What can I do?
Unfortunately, small-leaved caterpillars in the room sometimes infest ferns. Now you can dispose of the fern only in the residual waste, in order to avoid spreading the infection to other ferns. Never give in the compost.

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