Phlebodium aureum, commonly known as blue star fern, is an interesting looking fern with elongated fronds and a pleasant green-blue color. Its ability to tolerate lower-light conditions and relatively easy care make it a great choice for beginning and more experienced fern lovers alike! Keep reading for everything you need to know about growing and caring for this lovely fern.
|Easy||Indirect light||Keep moist||Epiphyte soil|
Phlebodium aureum care
As with all houseplants, the best way to figure out how to care for your blue star fern is to have a look at the way it naturally grows. Phlebodium aureum is mostly found in tropical forests in South-America, where it doesn’t grow in the soil but instead on other trees in a non-parasitic way. This makes it an epiphyte and gives us some good care indications.
Phlebodium aureum location & temperature
Because the blue star fern naturally grows attached to trees and other plants in forests where most light is blocked out by the tree canopies, it doesn’t require a lot of light and likes plenty of moisture. This makes it a great plant for locations with indirect light and relatively high humidity, such as north facing bathrooms or kitchens, though if you regularly mist it a location like the living room is also fine.
When it comes to temperature, blue star ferns aren’t too demanding and room temperature should usually be fine.
Planting Phlebodium aureum
As discussed above, the blue star fern is actually an epiphyte and not terrestrial like many other ferns.
- This means potting soil is definitely not the best medium to plant it in and you should be looking for something looser.
- Because these ferns like a moist environment but don’t appreciate waterlogged soil at all, a well-draining medium should be used. You should also use a pot or container with a drainage hole; it can be a standing pot or a hanging planter.
- I opted for large and smaller pieces of wood to plant my blue star fern in; if you don’t have any wood available you can also use a loose orchid mix like this one, as orchids are also epiphytic.
- Like many other epiphytes, such as the Phalaenopsis orchid, blue star ferns don’t have to be repotted all that often. You can repot yours during Springtime if it seems to be getting too large for its pot. Definitely repot with some fresh soil if you find your fern’s leaves are yellowing!
Watering Phlebodium aureum
Because blue star ferns naturally occur in tropical areas, they need a humid environment and constantly moist soil but will suffer if water is allowed to stand in the pot for too long. As with most plants there is no set watering schedule, but once a week is a good place to start: just water a little more during the growing season and a little less when the fern is not growing and keep a close eye on the soil. You can also regularly mist your blue star fern, especially if the humidity is low.
Blue star ferns don’t seem to appreciate water being poured directly into the heart (rhizome) of the plant, so watering from the sides might be a better idea.
Feeding Phlebodium aureum
Blue star ferns don’t require a lot of additional fertilizer, although you can add some diluted regular plant fertilizer during the growing season. Be careful not to overfeed, as this can damage the plant!
Buying Phlebodium aureum
You should be able to find this fern in the houseplant section of most garden centers and stores. Be sure to keep in mind that there are multiple varieties available: the ‘blue star’ variety with its rounded, paw-shaped foliage is only one of them. ‘Regular’ Phlebodium aureum ferns have thinner leaves that more closely resemble other ferns (see below), but care is the same. This also goes for the three other ferns in the tiny Phlebodium genus.
You can buy Phlebodium pseudoaureum, which has very similar care requirements, online on Amazon.
Is the blue star fern toxic to cats and dogs?
Blue star ferns are still relatively uncommon and it’s difficult to find information about whether it’s toxic to cats and dogs. Many related ferns are safe, though.
If you have any more questions about Phlebodium aureum care or want to share your own experiences with this lovely blue-green fern, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.