How to save a heart fern...

grabmebymyhandle(6 Kentucky)December 11, 2012

I was really taken with this little heart fern I found in a local greenhouse, a new plant to me, I generally not a fern person, too normal...but i bought this guy

SO its not in the best shape, It has over a dozen mature fronds that are still healthy, so I know it has a good chance, but theres over a dozen dead fronds that failed to unroll, just poking out of the crusty rhiozome...This indicated to me that it had not been watered enough. I know its humidity light and heat requirements had been met, but its in a 3 inch pot, that was in in a flat of victoria birds nest ferns and they had been covering it up, some of the small ferns here had been regularly missing the regular watering, and were clearly suffering for it. I think this fern was one of these that had been missing the watering but it was actually wet when I bought it adds doubt that it was ever dry...

Any way, I got it home, did a better inspection, it had about 20 mealy bugs, 2 colonies, on 2 different leaves, I mashed them and inspected better, the roots look ok, there a mix of some dead roots, some old dark roots that look dead but are not and some fresh lighter roots, no bugs.
I promptly IDed it, read up on care and placed in its own vivarium, gave it a squirt of mist, and sealed it up...
Today was it second full day in being sealed it up, I took it out to check it out better and the new fronds that had seemed to be growing were dark and appear to be dead and mushy, i dont want to touch them and break one if they are in fact growing and ok, but I fear the new fronds are still emerging and dying...

What should I do besides be patient and wait more than 2 days to see if it recovers, I know time will tell, but if its suffering in the mean time... Id rather be doing it good than harm, I have high hopes for this plant...

Any advice would be great, like I said fern are not my thing but I know its a heat loving tropical fern that like to be evenly moist but no wet feet, bight inderict light, I read it almost requires a vivarium...its got one...what else can I do, or shoukd I do no more for now?

There atleast 5-8 more BRIGHT green fronds just breaking the soil on the outer edges of the rhiozome, I dont want them to croak too...sad day...

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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I don't grow any ferns but this doesn't sound good. Extracting from your writing:

"new fronds that had seemed to be growing were dark and appear to be dead and mushy"

Mushy is indicative of rot, so I'd remove that & discard it immediately.

I don't wish to be a bummer, but to mist things & then seal them shut (when you already have mushy rot) suggests you'll be growing rot & not much else (sorry).

I'd unseal this whole arrangement, cut of all rotting tissue & seriously re-think this.

Perhaps a pic so you can have a correct ID & then read up on the plant's needs.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 4:26PM
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grabmebymyhandle(6 Kentucky)

Hemionitis arifolia
I did my homework first, i promise...

all sources i found say terrarium only plant...

Ive found that when ferns die at the tip of a new frond they almost always turn mushy, ive never heard of ferns getting rot ... not a fern guy tho so....

anyway the new fronds where in fact dead, now dry and brittle, and there is a profusion of new bright fronds comin out... I uncovered it once discovered mushyness, i hope it helps

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 11:35AM
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I have some growing in the garden. Tends to be a bit 'lost' because of its small size. Although it likes high humidity I think there needs to be some air movement as well. Sealing it up might not be good for it.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 10:53AM
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This is a slightly different situation than yours. I bought a 1 gallon plant (about $10) at a nursery in Santa Cruz (the date on the photo says Feb. 18th). The plant forms bulbils/offsets where the petiole meets the leaf blade. I removed a few of them, as shown in the photo. I potted up all of the little guys, and decided to put the seven smallest ones inside a ziploc bag. I assumed the larger ones could make it on their own. Those small ones are the ones that survived, and they have grown noticeably. The larger ones ended up dessicated, and either died from that, or from neglect since I assumed they were dead The big plant has been outside the whole time and is doing fine.

Am I sending you a Zantedeschia? If so, I can add one of the little guys if you ended up losing yours.

I bought one of these a few years ago at a florist with a nice fertile frond. See link at bottom.

Here is a link that might be useful: Earlier post on Hemionitis arifolia

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 2:53AM
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This is what became of the seven smallest, now growing in 3 ounce plastic cups:

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 3:06AM
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