I just bought a macho fern and am curious if I can split it. I have two urn style pots flanking my entryway. Any sugestions would be great.
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Tina in Florida: It is possible to divide your macho fern, in fact this is the most common method of propagation for this fern. The downfall to dividing it and planting the separate ferns in your urns is that they are not going to be uniform in shape. They will eventually grow into their new home and even out, but aesthetically it may not look very pleasing until they do. But if your urns are in a space where you do not see all the way around them then this may not be an issue. To divide your fern take it out of the nursery container it was purchased in and lay it on its side. It is helpful in terms of cleanup to do this on a piece of plastic or in the garden. You can either use your spade to separate the fern or your fingers and a pair of gardening scissors/pruners. It really will depend on how root-bound the fern is. You do not have to worry about being too gentle; these are tough plants and it may take some effort to divide. Try to keep as much of the roots intact as possible but keep in mind it is inevitable that you will lose some roots and likely some foliage as well in the process. After you have divided the fern it is important to get it back into the soil as soon as possible. Make sure your urns have drainage holes and fill with a good nutrient-rich container mix. Water well and feed with your favorite well-balanced fertilizer. I assume these are not considered tropicals for you since you are gardening in Florida. Here in Kentucky we can only dream about having our tropical ferns outside this time of the year.