Fern is healthier than it appears

Fern Frond showing spore-bearing cases on the underside of the frond.
Spore-bearing cases on the underside of a fern frond. Ferns reproduce by spores rather than seed.

Photo Credit: K.G. Fort Wayne, Indiana

 

Q: I received a potted fern as a gift from a friend, and it has done well in my home for over a year. But now it has what looks like a fungus on the bottom side of the leaves. Is there anything I can apply to prevent this from killing my plant?

A: The growths on your fern are not from a fungus. They are fern spore cases and are not harmful to the plant. Unlike flowering plants, ferns reproduce by spores rather than seed. Spore cases (sporangia) are produced on the bottom side of the fronds; each case contains numerous spores. Gardeners sometimes mistake the spore cases for either a disease or insect pest but these are normal reproductive structures for ferns.

 


Share This Article
Disclaimer: Reference to products is not intended to be an endorsement to the exclusion of others which may have similar uses. Any person using products listed in these articles assumes full responsibility for their use in accordance with current directions of the manufacturer.
Indiana Yard and Garden – Purdue Consumer Horticulture - Horticulture & Landscape Architecture, 625 Agriculture Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907

© 2019 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Indiana Yard and Garden – Purdue Consumer Horticulture

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact Indiana Yard and Garden – Purdue Consumer Horticulture at homehort@purdue.edu.