Meet Pteridium aquilinum, a beautiful fern to decorate your home

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Meet Pteridium aquilinum, a beautiful fern to decorate your home

Fern leaves

He Pteridium aquilinum It is a fern that receives a lot of names depending on the country where it is located, among the best known in Spanish are the common fern, alecho, felechera or ajelecho.

This is a top floor of the most widely distributed in the world because its spores are very light, which facilitates that they disperse through the air and go to very distant places where they usually thrive even in conditions that are not favorable for other plants.

Description of Pteridium aquilinum

Fern forest

This is a perennial fern, which It has a rhizome under the ground that is usually quite developed. In very favorable conditions it achieves up to one meter in length, it is provided with many villi and is brownish. The fronds are arranged in triplicate or quadripinate sheets, where the pinnae are oval and also have glabras in the beam, the petiole on the underside is equal to or smaller in size than the sheet and are abundantly hairy.

The soros of the plant are grouped in cenosoros of indusio double linearly, the so-called real indusio is located on the underside of the fronds and is brown. It also has a membranous pseudoindusium that is part of the same leaf. It is characterized by its light trilete spores, which move from one place to another with ease by means of the wind, they emerge from the spheroidal sporangia provided with a longitudinal ring.

In which regions of the world is this fern?

We have said at the beginning that its spores spread with the help of the wind to far away places, even from one continent to another, therefore the Pteridium aquilinum It is a plant organism that probably enjoys the widest distribution worldwide, except for the Antarctic region, desert and sub-desert areas.

It prefers humid areas and is found from sea level to about 2900 meters of altitude. It develops in soils with good drainage, sandy, poor in bases and even slightly siliceous, provided that they are deep and in cool areas, apart from that they can be seen among a great variety of vegetation in forests, banks of torrents or brambles and are quite resistant to fire.


This fern is very large leaves and grows up to two meters high. The underground rhizomes spread vigorously and cover large spaces. You can live in stony areas or in crops that are no longer served as long as they are quite fresh.

Common fern

Each leaf reaches up to 4.5 meters in length and is well spaced from each other, the upper face of the petioles, the main and secondary rachis and the middle vein have a superficial to deep grooved shape. The base sometimes has spines absent, the sheet is triangular, wide and is divided into narrow segments whose margins are curved towards the inside on a membrane that covers the contour and the spore producing organs.

The life cycle of this type of ferns is perennial, in fact colonies of these dating from 1500 years are known. Requires semi direct sunlight to develop optimally, however, it tolerates the shade, it is of moderate heat, it occurs easily in soils from humid to moderate dry.


A plant as colorful as it is sure will look great in your garden or terrace, so if you dare to have one or more, these are the care you should provide:

  • Give it the right location. We have already read that they can be with light or shadow and in different places, however the lighting needs vary depending on whether they are located inside or outside the house.
  • If they are inside the house, that space must have a lot of external lighting, you should also avoid exposing them to air currents. All this influences the color and size of its fronds or leaves.
  • At first, the frequency of irrigation will depend on the season of the year, since if it is intense heat, the substrate has to dry faster and therefore it is necessary to water more frequently. Now, how to know exactly when to water?
  • If the fern is located inside the house, you will not need frequent watering, in very hot seasons the risks will be maximum two a week and the rest of the year will be enough once every 12 or fifteen days. When in doubt if it is time to add water to the soil, it is preferable that you check how wet it is and never leave it flooded.
  • When it is located outside, keep in mind that it will dry faster which makes the irrigation frequency higher. Although you can always check the humidity before applying water. The best source of moisture that can be provided to any plant is that which comes from the rain, if it is not possible try to use drinking water from which we consume people.

Type of substrate

Green fern

If you want to place this fern it is a pot, it is necessary to mix porous substrate or in its absence arlite, in any case the proportion is 30%, with special substrate for acidic plants. If the fern is from the garden, the soil should contain a lot of organic matter plus good drainage, however the plant is not very demanding in these conditions. The plant has its subscription needs on a regular basis, the ideal season of the year to provide it is starting spring and until the end of summer. For this, it uses preferably organic products such as compost. You can also use special fertilizers for green plants, always paying attention to the application instructions.

The advantage of the plant is that the spores germinate on their own and without the greatest attention on your part. When you have them in a pot, it will be enough to wait for them to germinate right there, and then transplant them to their own pot. This must be done very carefully, using a large spoon or a shovel to avoid damaging it. You can also buy the spores which you will sow in spring using a substrate with abundant organic matter, which remains moist without exceeding the amount of water. In about a month you will begin to see the fern germinate.

The fern does not need pruning, what should be done is to remove the dried and withered fronds using scissors well disinfected with alcohol or other product that eliminates germs or bacteria. Spring is suitable for planting in the garden, in case the plant is in a pot and has more than two years in it or the roots already seek to exit through the holes for water drainage, it is time to move to the Pteridium aquilinum to a larger one.

We hope that with these tips you can enjoy your common fern for many years in your home or garden 😉.

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