NEPHROLEPIS CORDIFOLIA DUFFII
Nephrolepis cordifolia ‘Duffii’ is a particularly complex-leaved cultivar of the species which revels in the common name of Fishbone Fern. Ideal for hanging baskets, N. c. ‘Duffii’ has extraordinary leaves, the fronds being up to 40cm (16in) long, but only 1cm (1/2in) wide, with tiny forked and crested leaflets at the tips. The foliage is the fresh green of the genus, and this species is the easiest to grow of all Nephrolepis, as it thrives in poor light. Provide a minimum temperature of 10°C (50°F); for optimum growth, the best range is 15-26°C (60-80°F). Thiswill suffer if placed in a draught: provide adequate, but draught-free ventilation.
This fern prefers low levels of light, but is equally happy in a bright, but indirectly-lit, position.
Use lime-free water and allow theto dry out between waterings: water well and regularly. The plant prefers a moist compost if the growing temperatures are high: otherwise, allow the compost to dry out occasionally.
A high level of humidity is needed: mist the foliage daily and place a tray of gravel or moisture-retentive pellets under the pot, making sure that the base of the pot is clear of the water.
Feed monthly, during the growing season, with a houseplant fertilizer.
This fern does not like overcrowded roots; once they emerge from the base of the pot, repot into the next pot-size up, using a low-nutrient potting medium. Alternatively, divide the roots and repot into smaller pots.
Remove any fading fronds regularly: a pair of narrow, pointed scissors is ideal for this. If the fronds are dying because of a cultural problem, be sure to correct this as well as tidying the plant.
Dry and crisp leaf edges result from low levels of humidity: cut off the dying material and remedy the growing conditions. Do not cut into the living leaf.
Fungal diseases are encouraged by over-watering or excessively ‘muggy’ air: keep the plant well ventilated.