The Blue Star Fern aka Phlebodium Aureum [Pol-ee-PODE-ee-um AW-re-um] is an evergreen, tender, epiphytic fern, which is popular as a houseplant.
This fern is also known by the common name – Polypodium aureum, Golden Polypody, Cabbage palm fern, Gold Foot fern – and is native to the tropical regions of the Caribbean, North America, and South America.
Quick Phlebodium Aureum Blue Star Fern Care Guide
- Botanical Name: Phlebodium Aureum [Pol-ee-PODE-ee-um AW-re-um]
- Common Name(s): Blue Star Fern, Polypodium aureum
- Family & Origin: Polypodiaceae – South America
- Grow Zone: USDA Hardiness zones 9 -12
- Size: Large fronds grow 12″ – 50″ inches long and 20″ inches wide
- Light: Bright indirect light
- Temperature: 50° – 80° degrees Fahrenheit
- Water: Likes humidity and a well-drained moist soil
- Fertilizer: Diluted houseplant fertilizer during growing stage
- Pests & Diseases: Plant scale, root for over watering
- Propagation: Spores or division
- Grooming: Trim off damaged and unsightly leaves
- Uses: Display in a hanging basket
There, the blue star fern typically grows as an epiphyte, meaning it starts growing on a plant’s surface and attains the nutrients and moisture it needs from water, rain, air, and any debris buildup around it.
The Phlebodium genus consists of several other species:
- Phlebodium aureum
- Phlebodium pseudoaureum – Blue Rabbits foot
- Phlebodium decumanum
Read on for more houseplant fern care details.
Phlebodium Blue Star Ferns Houseplant Care
Size & Growth
The blue fern plant sprouts deeply lobed and large fronds that grow 12″ – 50″ inches long and around 20″ inches wide.
The fronds have about 35 pinnae, which vary in color from gray-green or green-blue to bright green in specific cultivars.
Flowering and Fragrance
Aureum blue star fern doesn’t produce any flower.
Light & Temperature
Blue Star Fern likes bright indirect light. Avoid direct sun.
However, during the summer season, it is best to protect this fern from direct sunlight to prevent the leaves from getting burned or too dry.
If you place Polypodium Aureum fern in a sunlight-filled windowsill, it’s best to position it behind the rest of the plants or towards the side of the window, so it only gets oblique sun.
During winter, place this plant near the window with the most light or under bright indirect light.
This fern flourishes in a room temperature between 50° – 80° degrees Fahrenheit (10°C – 27°C).
Polypodium Aureum Watering and Feeding Tips
Blue Star Fern occurs naturally in tropical areas, which means they require humidity and moist soil.
However, this plant will suffer from waterlogged soil or water stands too long in the pot.
There isn’t any set schedule for watering this plant. It’s ideal to water it once a week, and slightly more during its growing season.
NOTE: I like to submerge the pot in a bucket of water and allow the growing medium to soak until all the air bubbles are gone.
Decrease the watering if you notice the fern isn’t growing. Mist regularly if there’s low humidity.
Phlebodium aureum doesn’t like when water is poured directly into the plant’s heart (rhizome); thus, it’s ideal to water the soil surface from the sides.
Blue Star Fern doesn’t need extra fertilizer, but give it diluted regular houseplant fertilizer in the growing stage.
Avoid overfeeding as this can damage the fern.
Soil & Transplanting
Since Blue Star Fern is an epiphyte, it isn’t very terrestrial like other ferns.
Therefore, a potting soil mix isn’t the ideal means of planting it.
Opt for something looser as these plants prefer a moist environment but do not like a waterlogged potting mix.
Go with a well-draining potting soil mixture.
Phlebodium Aureum Fern Care Grooming and Maintenance
To attain the best possible results, do not place Blue Star Fern in low light. Blue Star needs a bright spot but away from direct sunlight and in well-drained moist soil.
Make sure you keep a spray bottle for regular misting during an increase in humidity.
If the plants starts appearing tired, brittle, and dry, make sure to check the drainage, make sure the soil is moist without being waterlogged.
If your Blue Star fern dries out, water it and trim off damaged and unsightly leaves.
NOTE: At times the Blue Star fern will develop brown tips on the leaves even under the best care.
This will help the plant with the recovering process, and you will notice an improvement soon after.
How to Propagate Phlebodium Aureum
Propagate Blue Star Fern at home through the process of rhizomes division during transplantation. Start by cleaning out the tool gently to cut a small fragment of the rhizome.
Make sure it has various leaf slices, which you sprinkle with powdered charcoal.
Transfer the Phlebodium aureum rhizome in a separate pot but make sure the roots of the division are lying on the surface of the soil instead or entirely burying it.
As with other epiphytes, there’s no need to repot Phlebodium Aureum too often.
It’s ideal to repot this fern during the spring season if it’s getting too big for its current pot.
If the leaves turn yellow, repot the plant with fresh soil.
Phlebodium Pests and Diseases
If this plant receives proper care, it won’t face any major disease or pest issues.
However, if it’s exposed to too much moisture, root rot can take hold. Powdery mildew, leaf spot, and southern blight are also more common with increased moisture.
Moreover, the lack of proper light can cause the fern to start losing leaves and eventually degrade.
It might get struck by scale.
There hasn’t been any toxicity reported for these species, but some ferns may include carcinogens, caution is advised.
The majority of the ferns have thiaminase, an enzyme that steals vitamin B complex from the body.
Fortunately, the small amount of thiaminase doesn’t cause any harm to humans, especially if their diet is sufficient in vitamin B.
Suggested Polypodium Uses
There are numerous uses of this plant, add it to a hanging planter or standing pots around December for beautiful indoor decoration.
It’s best to use a container or a pot with a drainage hole to avoid standing water.