This beautiful fern, with its soft blue-green leaves, is an epiphyte. For those not fully up on their greek etymology, an epiphyte is a plant that grows on another plant. In tropical forests in the Americas, phlebodium aureum will nestle in the branches of huge trees. It can grow to enormous sizes, sometimes with leaves as long as 130cm. It won’t reach a fraction of that size indoors, you’ll be relieved to hear.
Considering its natural habitat will give you a good idea of how to care for it. Living in trees means it’s not used to direct light and will tolerate some shade. Living in tropical forests means it really loves humidity. It will also appreciate a monthly feed with liquid fertiliser in spring and summer.
To keep it happy, try to mimic those forest conditions as much as possible. No need to get any parrots or tree frogs in or anything.
Did you know?
Phlebodium aureum has been used as a medicine to treat all sorts of conditions from asthma to psoriasis. (Nevertheless, do not eat it).