Blechnum gibbum

This species has a rhizome up to 1 m (39 in) high, resembling a stem and topped by a thick rosette of large leaves. The general effect is reminiscent of a palm tree. The pinnatifid leaves with delicate segments are coloured a lovely fresh green. Even though this species of hard fern is very decorative, it is not often grown indoors because it has quite demanding requirements. It needs light, but not direct sunlight. Providing adequate humidity can be a problem. Letting the compost dry can also kill the plant. In winter, the temperature must not fall below 18°C (64° F). Draughts are also dangerous. Therefore, the best place for growing this fern is a glass-enclosed space, such as a plant-case if the specimen is a small one. Larger specimens are a lovely decoration in a heated conservatory or greenhouse. Younger plants should be repotted every year, older specimens only occasionally. Feed with fertilizer diluted to half strength every three weeks. Propagate by sowing spores on a peat-based compost.

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