Blue Star Fern Care
Phlebodium aureum, also known as blue star fern, is an epiphytic “footed” fern. Epiphytes are plants that grow on other plants or trees in a non-parasitic manner and take in nutrients and water from the air (i.e. humidity), rain, and loose debris rather than through the soil. Footed ferns are ferns with rhizomes (modified stems) that grow horizontally under the soil surface and put out lateral shoots. The rhizomes are used to cling to trees and other objects as well increase the spread of the plant. In a pot, the rhizomes will crawl over the side and can sometimes engulf a pot. They will typically put out lateral shoots to create a cascading leaf effect. If this does not happen, try regularly misting the rhizomes.
Other footed ferns include rabbit's foot and kangaroo paw.
Water when topsoil is dry to the touch. Keep soil damp, not soggy. In lower light, allow to dry a bit more. Do not water in crown or it may cause rot. Overwatering = Leaves yellow & wilt. Underwatering = Leaves grey, brown & crisp. Water stress due to repeated underwatering = Pale yellow leaves.
Medium - bright indirect. (This is more than most ferns.) In an E window or near a W window is best. Direct sun = Leaves brown, scorch. Tolerates low light but growth is leggy and center growth will appear sparse over time.
Prefers high, which helps the soil retain moisture. Average household is usually fine, but growth may be minimal. Too low = Leaf edges brown and crisp, leaf tips curl. Only mist rhizomes.
55 - 75°F. Is severely damaged under 50°. Extreme temp swings cause leaves to wilt &/or drop.
Soil & Repotting
Requires a well-draining but moisture-retaining soil, such as a peat moss based mixture with perlite. Pot must have drainage. Repot when plant requires more frequent watering. Either repot the whole plant or divide the rhizomes.
Can be done by division or with spores or rhizome cuttings. (You’ll need to research these methods.)
Old leaves brown & yellow with age. Trim back dead growth.