Plant of the Week: Polypodium musifolium

Polypodium musifolium

Polypodium musifolium is an epiphytic fern that is easy to grow and looks good in decorative pots or baskets. Its fronds may reach 3 to 4 ft. in nature but only get about 2 ft. in cultivation. It is native to Malaysia, Indonesia, New Guinea and the Philippines.

Culture: Polypodium musifolium are easy to culture, only requiring bright indirect light, a coarse potting mixture, high humidity and good air movement. We grow ours under 52% shade all year long. In the greenhouse we use a potting mixture of 1 part peat moss to 1 part pine bark to 1 part course sand. To this mix bone meal is added at a rate of 1 tbs per each 3 parts of the mixture. During the spring and summer the plants are watered daily and given fertilizer on a weekly basis. We use 20-20-20 diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. Water should be restricted during the winter months and the plant should be allowed to dry in between waterings.

Propagation: Polypodium musifolium is easily propagated by division or by spores. The ripe spores can be collected on a piece of paper placed under spore bearing leaves. Sow spores on damp peat moss in late winter. They germinate best at a temperature of 68-70 degrees. The growing medium should be kept constantly moist and covered with glass or plastic. Once new plants are large enough to handle they can be transplanted into individual containers. The root can be divided at the end of the rest period, usually February to March. Do this carefully with a sharp knife and keep a healthy rhizome section with each division.

Polypodium musifolium was featured as Plant of the Week November 17-23, 2000.

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Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2017 All rights reserved.