Blechnum Gibbum: How To Grow and Care For The Silver Lady

Blechnum gibbum [BLEK-num, GIB-bum] is a hard fern belonging to the family Blechnaceae.

Native to Pacific Islands, Fiji, and New Caledonia, Blechnum gibbum grows as a small tree in tropical and subtropical climates.

Blechnum - silver lady fernPin

It is also a widely grown fern houseplant.

You may hear it by its common names, including:

  • Silver Lady 
  • Silver Lady Plant
  • Silver Lady Fern
  • Dwarf Tree Fern

Silver Lady Fern Quick Care Tips

  • Botanical Name: Blechnum Gibbum Silver Lady
  • Common Name(s): Silver Lady Fern
  • Synonyms: N/A
  • Family & Origin: Blechnaceae family, native to Pacific Islands, Fiji and New Caledonia
  • Growability: Easy to grow
  • Grow Zone: USDA zones 10
  • Size: Grows up to 3-4′ feet tall and wide
  • Flowering: Non-flowering
  • Light: Prefers bright, indirect light
  • Humidity: Requires high humidity levels
  • Temperature: Thrives in temperatures between 60-75°F
  • Soil: Well-draining soil with high organic matter
  • Water: Keep soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged
  • Fertilizer: Feed with a balanced fertilizer every 2-3 months during growing season
  • Pests & Diseases: Susceptible to mealybugs and scale insects, as well as fungal diseases if overwatered
  • Propagation: Propagated through division or spores
  • Plant Uses: Popular as a houseplant or in tropical gardens, adds a lush, tropical feel to any space.

Blechnum Gibbum Care

Size and Growth

As mentioned above, this dwarf tree-type fern has an upright growth habit that reaches up to 3’ – 4’ feet in height and features a symmetrical fronds rosette over a slender, black, scaly trunk.

Some refer to them as dwarf tree ferns.

Lush green ferns among terracotta pots.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @plantisetjava

It grows comparatively faster than most other tree fern types, known for its slow growth. It is seen growing as an understory plant in forested areas.

The fronds of the plants are comprised of bright green-colored and slightly drooping leaflets of two types – spore-bearing and sterile.

Flowering and Fragrance

Being a fern, it does not produce flowers.

Light and Temperature

Blechnum prefers bright light requirement with partial shade and a slightly warmer temperature.

However, it cannot survive in strong direct sun.

The plant requires high humidity during its growth period from mid-spring through late fall.

Hands holding a vibrant green fern plant.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @prakritisgarden

Place the pot over a tray filled with moist pebbles throughout the warm season to maintain the humidity level.

While the plant may regrow even if it gets frozen due to exposure to frost, it is not considered a frost-tolerant plant and should be protected from it.

Watering and Feeding

Just like most other ferns, Silver Lady grows best in moist soils.

Water it frequently during the warmer months to keep the potting mixture moist, which will ensure proper growth. 

Make sure to water once the top inch of the soil is dry to the touch.

Slightly reduce watering when the temperature falls below 54° degrees Fahrenheit (12° C) and let the topmost layer of potting soil dry out between waterings.

Make sure not to overwater because it will cause root rot, rotten rhizomes, and yellowed fronds.

Potted fern plant on wooden stand.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @ayyastropical

Avoid watering from overhead, as the foliage can get damaged if it stays wet for an extended time.

Water the plant once a week in winter. Water more frequently during summer.

Another important thing to know is Blechnum is intolerant of lime, so do not use hard water on the plant.

If you live in an area where hard water is supplied, using purified water or rainwater for the plant is recommended.

However, if it isn’t possible either, then add a few drops of lemon juice to the water before giving it to the silver lady plant.

Apply a half-strength liquid fertilizer once a month during the active growing season.

When grown indoors, add a slow-release fertilizer once in spring and summer.

Soil and Transplanting

Blechnum Gibbum ‘Silver Lady’ thrives in compost-enriched, moist, and slightly acidic, well-draining soil.

Moreover, ensure there is plenty of organic matter, including peat moss, shredded leaves, or coco coir.

Vibrant green fern in white pot outside shop.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @hellofancy_plants

It’s recommended for USA hardiness zone 10. Mulch the surface of the soil to keep the roots moist and cool.

As a container plant, repot into a bigger pot when the roots begin to come out on the pot’s surface, about once every two years.

Use leaf mold and soil-based potting mixture in equal quantities for repotting.

Early spring is the best time to repot.

Grooming and Maintenance

Blechnum gibbum is an easy-to-grow and low-maintenance plant.

Just remove the browning fronds by trimming them off from the base, as they diminish the aesthetic appeal of the plant.

Spring is the best time for rejuvenation, pruning, or major trimming.

You may also like:

How To Propagate Blechnum Silver Lady Fern?

Blechnum is propagated through spores and takes between 1 – 3 months to germinate.

Green fern in black stand against corrugated wall.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @centralfloridafernsfoliage

Here’s what you need to do for this type of propagation:

  • Sow the spores thinly in damp compost and cover the pot with a cling film.
  • Do not water and place the pot in a warm, well-lit area, such as a window sill.
  • Maintain a temperature above 25° degrees Fahrenheit (-4° C) centigrade to ensure proper germination.

Rarely, the plant produces basal offsets, cut them off from the parent and plant separately.

Tree Fern Silver Lady Pest or Diseases

While the silver lady fern plants are not highly prone to pests and diseases, they can sometimes get attacked by aphids, mealybugs, slugs and snails, caterpillars, and plant scales.

Wiping the leaves with a slightly damp cloth helps keep these pests away from the plant.

But, even if it gets affected by them, it’s easily treated with insecticides.

Overwatering and lack of ventilation can cause the fronds to turn brown or bronze.

The plant can only recover from water damage if treated immediately.

Uses for Dwarf Tree Fern

Blechnum is a beautiful addition to gardens, patios, pergolas, terraces, and courtyards.

Potted green ferns, vibrant garden plants.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @plantmark

Whether grown in the ground or as a potted plant, silver lady serves as a fantastic focal plant.

The plant’s root system is also used to produce substrate for growing orchids.

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