Kimberley Queen or Australian Sword Fern – Nephrolepis obliterata
If you haven’t guessed by its alternate name, Kimberley Queen originated in Australia. Indoors this tropical fern likes bright indirect light, and is less sensitive to low humidity than the usual Boston Fern.
Why You Want A Kimberley Queen Fern
For shade gardeners, outdoors is where the magic happens. Kimberley Queen’s upright fronds are showy enough to live in a planter by themselves or as part of a group. In combination planters, the green fronds make a pretty backdrop for begonias or other shade loving plants.
Kimberley Queen is sturdy enough to withstand heat and some wind. Maintain it by trimming away scraggly or brown fronds at the base of the plant. With an upright habit this fern is best viewed at eye level or from above so if you are using it in a hanging basket, make sure it’s a low hanging one.
Propagating Kimberley Queen
To propagate Kimberley Queen divide it exactly as you would for your Hostas. For the fern at the top of this post, I removed the pot and used a saw to cut the root mass into quarters. A sharp knife would have worked, but I wasn’t about to dull my kitchen knives cutting through dirt.
I’ll have to trim away damaged fronds for the first bit but it was still an easy and economical way to get four ferns for the price of one.
Speaking of price – Kimberley Ferns are still newer to garden centers than Boston ferns and usually only available in larger sizes, so expect to pay more. You should still be able to find one in your local garden center.
I plan to enjoy mine on my deck under the maple tree for the summer then move at least one inside for the winter.
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