The blue star fern(Phlebodium aureum) is one of those plants that deceives you at first glance, because it does not look like a fern but like a distant cousin of seaweed. It is precisely because of its curious shape and pretty green colour with blue undertones that it has become such a popular houseplant. In this blue star fern care guide we will tell you everything you need to know to keep it beautiful. If you've fallen in love with its thick foliage and sinuous leaves and have adopted one of these ferns, this guide is for you, but if you've read it and liked it, you can stop by our shop to order it.
Little star, little star: Facts and secrets about this fern
- The young leaves look long and curly, like seaweed under the sea; but as they grow and mature, instead of drooping and dying, they branch out and take on that starry shape that gives them their name. This is wonderful because it's like having two plants in one.
- It has humidifying properties and helps to purify the environment, eliminating toxins. It's a perfect addition if you have a collection of purifying plants (and if you don't, it's a good excuse to start collecting them, because they are all very pretty).
- It is native to the forests of South America and in the wild is an epiphyte, like the tillandsias. It entangles its rhizomes amicably around trees, without harming or feeding on them. This allows them to reach a greater height and get a little more light.
- It can grow to a maximum height of 90 cm. It tends to get very bushy, so some people prefer to keep them in hanging pots because although they don't tend to grow downwards, they look nice and full.
Blue Star Fern Care
Like all plants, trying to keep to a rigid watering schedule is not always a guarantee of success, as it depends on temperature, humidity levels and other factors. Blue star ferns need plenty of water, so it is advisable to provide them with enough.
The substrate should be moist but never waterlogged, as they are epiphytes they are not used to having continuous moisture at the roots, so they can rot. We recommend you to start watering once a week and pay attention to the substrate, which should never be too dry. By putting your finger in the pot you will start to get to know its water requirement.
Another recommendation: avoid watering them from above, as water tends to accumulate at the top of their stems and rhizomes, causing rotting. It is better to water them from the sides. And while it is true that they love humidity, do not spray their leaves with a spray bottle, as this damages the protective coating and exposes them to decay.
- Lighting and temperature
This plant loves light, but always filtered. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight, as the green leaves will scorch and lose their bluish hue. Although being a native rainforest plant, it is possible to have it in places with limited light, it will adapt very well to shade. Remember that they come from rather warm environments, so they will be incredibly happy if the ambient temperature is between 15 to 30° C.
- Substrate and pot
In their natural state blue star ferns have no substrate, so water and air flow freely, kissing their rhizomes. Unless you have a tree planted in the middle of your living room this will not be an option, so we must offer it a light, airy and loose substrate. This orchid substrate suits them very well.
As for the pot, look for one that has an excellent drainage system, which you can improve by placing some pebbles or similar material at the bottom to improve its effectiveness. Ideally, it should have enough space to develop its stems, rhizomes and leaves.
- Transplanting and fertilising
It is best to transplant when you see that the rhizomes and roots are beginning to show through the substrate and look tight. Ideally you should wait until spring or summer, as this is their growing season and if the rhizomes or stems are damaged (which will happen, don't worry) they will have plenty of time to recover. You can fertilise your fern in this growing season, but at very low doses as their requirements are very simple and excess can harm them.
If you are transplanting, you can propagate the blue star fern by separating some bulbs or rhizomes from the root, which will be balled up. Plant them in a pot and water them well. Some people use a plastic bag, placed tightly over the pot to create a moist environment for a couple of days.
problems with your blue star fern? Let's solve them!
- Brown tips: This is a sure sign of lack of moisture. Check the watering patterns or the ambient humidity. You can put it next to other plants, a support group so that it doesn't get bored and its humidity levels improve.
- Yellow leaves: This can be caused by many things. are you watering too much? too much fertiliser? Maybe your city water is too hard, rich in mineral salts and they have accumulated in the substrate. This can be solved by changing or cleaning the substrate.
- Drooping leaves: this may be caused by low temperatures or because it has suffered a shock during transplanting. If it is the latter, give it some time and try to give it stable humidity conditions to recover. If only the upper leaves are being damaged, it may be because you are watering from above and water is accumulating. Check the roots to rule out root rot.
Dedicated to creating an army of cacti, succulents, poodles and cats to help me conquer the world. In the little free time I have left, I play, write and dance.