Best time to gather Giant Chaine Fern spores?

fogbelt_steve(9)August 31, 2011

I'm going to try again (two previous tries without success) to grow Giant Chain Ferns from spores. I'm not sure what time of the year would be the best time to pick the fronds.

I've found excellent instructions at the link below (but no mention of best time).

I live on the Northern California Coast (zone 9) and have several large plants in my yard. Thanks for your help!

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing Ferns from Spores

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stephenpope2000uk(Brighton, UK)

Don't worry about the 'best time'. All that matters is that you choose a SUITABLY RIPE fertile frond - they appear right the way through the season, and are especially plentiful round about now.

Lots and lots of information on the net on how to harvest spore and recognize fertile fronds at exactly the right stage for sampling. Green sporangia are not ready yet; brown and already opened sporangia cases are too late; intact greeny-brown sporangia are the ones to look for. Dehisced spore dust will stay viable if stored in the refrigerator, so don't feel you HAVE to start propagating right away.

But whatever time of year you decide to begin propagating, bear in mind that you need a bright and fairly warm spot - in winter, that inevitably means an indoor windowsill or a propagator box under growlights. Do you know why you failed before? That's worth understanding first before you go any further.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 6:19PM
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fogbelt_steve(9)

Thanks for your comments, Stephen. In my previous attempts, I think I had too much moisture in my container and also was not keeping everything as clean as I should have. I placed the tray near a window (not direct sunlight) and did not use lights.

I have since found another excellent article on growing ferns (link below). It covers every little detail and I am going to try and follow the instructions as close as I can.

Here is a link that might be useful: Propagation: Growing Ferns From Spores

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 3:03AM
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stephenpope2000uk(Brighton, UK)

Yes, that Judith Jones article is very comprehensive - she's a reliable and authoritative source on (non-tropical) fern matters. Sterilize your compost, carefully separate your pinch of spore from the chaff by using a sheet of paper, and keep the propagation pot in a wet sealed poly bag. That's all you need to do for such an easy species as your chosen Woodwardia. A warmish bright windowsill should just about be adequate, but winter light levels are best supplemented by a fluorescent growlight.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 7:02AM
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