Australian Native Ferns

Course CodeVHT116
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Grow and Use Australian Indigenous Ferns           

For the enthusiast or commercial grower.

Learn which ferns occur naturally in Australia along with:

  • how to identify ferns,
  • where to obtain relevant accurate information,
  • how to propagate ferns, and
  • growing and using ferns in baskets, terrariums, and landscapes.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Review of the system of plant identification, general characteristics of the ferns, main groups, information contacts (ie: nurseries, seed, clubs, etc.)
  2. Culture
    • Planting, mulching, watering, pest & disease, feeding, pruning, protection from wind, salt air, etc.
  3. Propagation
    • Methods of propagating ferns. Propagation of selected varieties.
  4. The Most Commonly Grown Varieties.
    • Maidenhairs, tree ferns, stags, elks, common ground ferns.
  5. Other Important Groups
    • Blechnum, Nephrolepis, Pteris, etc.
  6. Other Varieties
    • Hares foot ferns, Bracken, Fans.
  7. Making the Best Use of Native Ferns
    • In containers, in the ground, as indoor plants, growing and showing, growing for profit (to sell the plants or what they produce).
  8. Special Assignment
    • A major project on one genera of ferns.

Ferns are Propagated mostly from Spore
Strict hygiene is vital, when collecting spore; during sowing and while germinating –in all materials and equipment. 
Collection of spore from plants in the wild is generally preferred because purity of spore is easier to control this way. When spore is collected in a nursery garden, with different species growing closely together; it is relatively easy to end up having two spore contaminated with spore from other species.
Spore contamination can also occur in the wild; particularly from weedy species
Raise spore in any type of medium as long as it is clean (free of disease & algae) and can be kept moist. It should also be an even consistency, and relatively loose, so that young plants can be pricked out (ie. lifted and transplanted) without difficulty. Ideally the media should be slightly acidic (pH 5.5 to 6.5). Sieved peat moss is an ideal medium.  Whatever medium is used; it is valuable to sterilize it before planting the spore. (NB: Sterilisation can also have a negative effect though –killing beneficial mycorrhyzae).
Place trays or pots of sown spore in an area that is away from other ferns (that might drop spore into the container); and is free of draughts or extreme heat that might dry out the pots (or bring in disease organisms).
After sowing; usually cover the container with something to keep it both clean and from drying out (a sheet of glass or plastic film might be appropriate. If the media is quite moist before sowing; the container might only need additional waterings a couple of times over a average 4-6 month period before the seal is removed to expose a mass of young ferns.
The period require before the prothalli is mature can vary according to the species –for most it is between 3 and  6 months.
Bottom heat is generally not important; but for some species it can increase the growth rate; and through increased vigor the plants may be more resistant to disease.
Once there is a good mass of young ferns appearing; the glass can be tilted so it only partly covers the container; and allows the young plants to harden up. After a week or two the cover can be completely removed to allow further hardening. A further 2-6 weeks on and the young plants can be removed and potted


  • Nurserymen
  • Landscapers
  • Land Managers
  • Horticulturists
  • Gardeners
  • Plant Collectors
  • Environmentalists
  • Anyone with a passion for Australian ferns
  • Professionals, Tradesmen and Amateurs

This course will grow your understanding and awareness of Australian Ferns. It will lay a foundation for a life of ongoing learning; and for anyone working with plants, enhance your career and business prospects.

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$461.00Payment plans available.

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