The Blue Star Fern, Phlebodium aureum, is a unique plant in the fern family. Its ability to survive in lower light with less humidity makes it a great houseplant candidate.
This fern often grows on the sides of trees in the South American rainforests. This plant has long curly thick fronds that are blue green in color.
This fern is not as finicky as many of the ferns you will find. It can handle lower light and does not need excessive amounts of humidity.
This is a simple plant to care for. However, there are a few common problems that people often run into with these plants.
Browning, black, or purple leaves can often be caused by excess water sitting in the crown of the plant. Because they are sensitive to getting their leaves and crown wet, make sure you water just the soil and not the foliage of the plant. Bottom watering is a great way to water this plant.
Browning tips is often caused by infrequent watering schedules or a lack of water. Keep your fern on a regular watering schedule to avoid brown tipped leaves.
Locating this plant in the nurseries can be tricky. If you can’t find it in your local plant shop or greenhouse, we find Etsy to be a great online resource for purchasing plants.
Photo Credit: TheRainGarden on Etsy
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We have compiled all the care points for the Blue Star Fern into an easy to read printable care guide.
- Pot (ceramic, plastic, or terra cotta)
- Potting medium (perlite, soil, and orchid bark)
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Blue star ferns prefer well draining soil. The roots will rot quickly if they sit in moist soil.
- A mix of potting mix, orchid bark, and perlite will keep the roots happiest.
- Make sure your pot has drainage at the bottom. Do not use a pot with no drainage hole for this plant.
- A heavy soil potting mix is not recommended for Blue Star Fern plants.
Pot Size and Type:
- The blue star fern plant can grow in many different kinds of pots, I like to plant mine in ceramic pots with a drainage hole.
- Repot every second year or when roots come out the drainage holes on the pot bottom To the next pot size up. Don't jump to a huge pot from a small one. Just go to the next size up pot.
- The blue star fern will grow faster in bright indirect light. It will also grow just fine in lower light conditions, but the growth will be slower.
- Some filtered sunlight from a window may be appreciated in this circumstance.
- Make sure the blue star plant isn't sitting in constant direct sunlight, the leaves can get burnt.
- You can keep it in an East, West, or North facing window
- Water your blue star fern plant when the soil is dry at least an inch down. Ferns prefer a moist soil. This plant may drop leaves if it dries out too much
- Watering is best done on a regular schedule so the plant is not over or under watered. Both can cause stress on the plant.
- The recommendation for watering is every 1-2 weeks.
- In dormant winter months reduce watering to when the soil is dry.
- Never let this plant get wet feet. heavy wet soils encourage root rot and fungus gnats.
How to Fertilize:
- Apply a good quality fertilizer (linked in materials) monthly through Spring and summer.
- Decrease feedings by late Fall and allow the blue star fern plant to rest through the winter months.
- The blue star fern will do best in temperatures between 55-85 degrees F.
- This plant is a hardy resilient plant. However all plants can get attacked by pests.
- Stress by longterm overwatering, poor light, extreme temperatures and soil conditions are contributors to plant stress..
- Spider mites, mealy bugs, scale, thrips and whitefly are the most common houseplant pests you will see.
- Read our post on How to get rid of aphids and other pests with our homemade pesticide soap recipe or neems oil.
- To minimize the possibility of pests be sure to check all nursery plants before bringing them home.
- Quarantine all new plants until you are sure no pests live in them.
How to Propagate:
- Gently un-pot your mature blue star fern.
- You will see separations of the stems into groups growing out of bulb shaped rhizomes.
- Gently separate the rhizomes and attached roots from the mother plant. You may have to cut the roots if they are deeply entangled but try not to. Rather gently work the roots away from each other until the rhizomes are separated.
- Repot both the new division and the mother plant.
- As you will see in the video there may be several rhizomes growing together in your plant.
- You can divide the plant into as many small plants as you wish and repot them into several pots.
The Blue Star Fern plant is a rewarding and perfect plant for a beginner. This plant will grow tall and beautiful with just a little bit of care.
If you are developing a love for ferns, you can read all about the history of ferns. We hope you enjoyed learning about the care of the beautiful Blue Star Fern.
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