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Raising Tropical Ferns
Michalis 'BIG Mike' Kotzakolios

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Tropical ferns can be different from other varieties. They prefer more sun; in fact, the well-known (and sun-loving) Boston fern is a tropical fern. They also like it hot: where other ferns prefer a cooler environment, these ferns are extremely sensitive to cold and frost. You would never find one growing wild in the northern Pacific region, for example!

If you want to grow tropical ferns any farther north than Florida, you will have to grow them as houseplants or else build a small greenhouse for them. Additionally, tropical ferns may need more light than local plants; you can use either a fluorescent light or a "plant light" such as you can find in most garden centers. It becomes especially important during the winter months, when the sun rarely gets very high in the sky or has much heat to it. For optimum growth and health, tropical ferns should get *at least* 12 to 14 hours of light, even in the winter months.

Another familiar tropical fern is the popular southern maidenhair fern (not to be confused with the more than two hundred other varieties of maidenhair ferns, many of which live quite comfortably farther north); often grown as a houseplant farther north, it may very well be one of the most beautiful of the tropicals.

Tropical ferns can frequently be propagated by dividing the root balls, or, for the more serious enthusiast, from spore. However, because propagation from spore is extremely tricky, especially for the hobbyist, we recommend that you propagate your fern by removing it carefully from the pot and setting it on a hard surface, such as a counter or a potting bench. Using a sharp kitchen knife, cut the root ball cleanly down the center; cut each of the two halves in half again. Each fourth should be potted in its own pot and carefully watered.

Tropical ferns provide a pleasant and relaxing hobby for anyone. And, given a warm place to live and enough light, they bring a tiny piece of the tropics up to the northern gardener.

BIG Mike is a well known author, developer and Adsense expert as well as the owner of Niche Maniacs - a unique Adsense Marketing System designed to build long-term passive income streams from Adsense, Amazon, YPN, Chitika and other PPC services.

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