Cover image for Fern grower's manual
Fern grower's manual
Hoshizaki, Barbara Joe.
Personal Author:
Revised and expanded edition.
Publication Information:
Portland, Or. : Timber Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
604 pages, 20 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), 1 color map ; 29 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SB429 .H64 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



Ferns have graced our planet for hundreds of millions of years. With about 12,000 named species of ferns worldwide, the variety to be found among them is staggering in its array of forms, textures, and even colors. From towering tree ferns to tiny water clovers, ferns and fern allies offer a wide range of uses in the garden and home.

This book offers useful advice on ferns and fern allies for any region, with details on cultivation, identification, landscaping, and more. The bulk of the book consists of an encyclopedic treatment of all the ferns in cultivation in the U.S. Some 700 species from 124 genera are described in detail, including physical descriptions, cultural requirements, hardiness, common names, synonyms, special uses, geographical range, and notable cultivars or related species. Each species is accompanied by a black-and-white illustration to allow for easy identification and to provide a useful means of comparing species.

Updated and greatly expanded, this new edition of Hoshizaki's original 1975 book is the most comprehensive book available on fern cultivation.

Author Notes

Barbara Joe Hoshizaki is president of the American Fern Society. She was professor of botany at Los Angeles City College and research associate at the University of California, Los Angeles, and president of the Southern California Horticultural Institute and the Los Angeles International Fern Society, vice president of the Pacific Horticultural Foundation, and has served on the boards of many horticultural and botanical organizations. She is an honorary member of the American Fern Society, the Los Angeles International Fern Society, and the South Florida Fern Society. She has traveled widely, introduced many species into cultivation, and written numerous articles, mainly on ferns in cultivation
Robbin C. Moran is associate curator at the New York Botanical Garden. He worked for years at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis He has published more than 50 scientific papers on ferns, taught pteridology courses in Costa Rica, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia, and traveled widely in Latin America, Thailand, and Taiwan. In addition to his research, he serves as associate editor for the American Fern Journal and Brittonia

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Hoshizaki (American Fern Society) and Moran (New York Botanical Garden) have prepared an excellent horticultural resource for those who specialize in growing ferns. It begins with a thorough series of chapters on fern structure, sources, cultural needs, propagation, problems (diseases, insects, etc.) and related topics. The remainder, about 65 percent of the volume, is devoted to an encyclopedic arrangement of detailed fern descriptions. Generic treatments include identification, distribution, and cultivation information, followed by species and cultivar descriptions with similar content, in varying detail. Each has hardiness zone information, common names, synonyms and, perhaps most useful, comparisons to other species it may be confused with. Though lacking identification keys of any kind, this book will greatly aid those struggling with fern identification in both natural and cultivated settings. Line drawings throughout are functional, but are not particularly good examples of the art of biological illustration. However, each species and many cultivars are illustrated by silhouettes (apparently photocopies of actual fronds and parts thereof)--clear, distinctive, and often diagnostic. Color photographs (50) enhance the appeal, but this is not a coffee-table book for casual browsing. Glossary; thorough bibliography. An impressive work and an epic volume that will not soon be replaced. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals; two-year technical program students. G. D. Dreyer Connecticut College



Ferns bring to mind pleasant, cool glens and shaded forests. We recall such things when we use ferns in our gardens and homes. Their ferny look is well known and loved, and some of us are content to sit back and relax as we enjoy the soft green array of patterns and textures in ferns. But there is more to appreciate about ferns than their mere appearance.Ferns are usually recognized by their finely divided leaves, a type of leaf so characteristic that it is called a "ferny leaf." There are, however, many plants with ferny leaves that aren't ferns, and many ferns that don't have typical ferny leaves. What then, makes a fern a fern?Ferns are spore-bearing plants; they lack flowers, fruits, and seeds. The so-called asparagus fern (Asparagus setaceus) is not a fern despite its finely divided appearance because it bears flowers and seeds (it is actually a member of the lily family; its fruits are the orange berries often seen on the plant). Spores and seeds greatly differ. Spores are simple one-celled microscopic structures, whereas seeds are complex, many celled structures usually visible to the unaided eye. Although plants such as algae, liverworts, and mosses produce spores, they differ from ferns by lacking the large, thin, true leaves. Ferns further differ from these spore-bearers by their development of specialized tissue (xylem and phloem) to conduct food and water. These tissues also strengthen the stem and enable ferns to grow taller than other spore-bearing plants.Unlike seed plants, ferns depend on water to complete their typical life cycle. They grow in places where, when the time comes to reproduce, enough water is available for the sperm to swim to the egg. Seed plants, such as pines and flowering plants, produce cones or flowers that use wind or insects to complete their life cycle. They do not need water in the external environment for fertilization, and therefore they can grow in drier conditions and dominate more of the landscape.Nevertheless, some ferns have the surprising ability to thrive in extreme climates. Desert ferns, of which there are few, often grow in the shade of rocks and boulders, using every bit of available water. Their roots grow deep in the soil between the cool rocks, and their fronds are often covered with woolly hairs of scales to protect them from water loss. When water is insufficient for new growth, many desert ferns curl their leaves or shed their leaflets and suspend growth until the next rain.Like desert ferns, alpine ferns are also adapted to climatic extremes. They tend to be small and have hard-textured fronds that can endure the cold, dry winds. They grow only during the short summers as weather permits.Most ferns of temperate regions grow in the ground or on rocks, and only a few speices grow on trees. Approximately 200 species of ferns are native to the temperate areas of the United States. Temperate to subtropical areas noted for their abundance of ferns include parts of the Himalayas, A Excerpted from Fern Grower's Manual by Barbara Joe Hoshizaki, Robbin C. Moran All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 7
1. About Fernsp. 11
2. The Structure of Fernsp. 13
3. Obtaining Fernsp. 22
4. Cultural Needsp. 25
5. Soils and Fertilizersp. 37
6. Through the Year with Fernsp. 48
7. Plantingp. 51
8. Propagationp. 63
9. Landscapingp. 87
10. Growing Special Fernsp. 99
11. Troubles with Growing Fernsp. 118
12. How Ferns Get Their Namesp. 140
13. Ferns and Fern Allies in Cultivationp. 151
Appendix I Measuring Lightp. 541
Appendix II Fern Societiesp. 542
Appendix III Importing Fernsp. 543
Appendix IV Names of Pest and Disease Control Substancesp. 547
Appendix V Family Classification of Fern Genera Treated in the Textp. 553
Glossaryp. 558
Literature Citedp. 565
Subject Indexp. 573
Plant Name Indexp. 581