Some plants are grown because they have beautiful flowers, yet there are plants which are treasured even when they never bloom. Ferns belong to the latter category; plant fanciers love them because they are decorative, add freshness to their surroundings, and give a feeling of coolness even during the height of summer. Thailand has more than 700 species of fern, which come in many different forms, so you never run out of new ones to add to your collection. What's more, some ferns form mutations that can at times bear little or no resemblance to the mother plant, which adds to the excitement of growing them.
LAYING A GOOD FOUNDATION: As shown here, ‘Nephrolepis cordifolia’, or sword fern, makes very attractive ground cover. PHOTOS: NORMITA THONGTHAM
Bird's nest ferns are a familiar sight along Rama IV and Surawong roads, where they can be seen attached to tree trunks. They are among a group of ferns that can easily adapt to conditions in the city, but if they are attached to trees the ideal place for them is dappled shade, where the sun is filtered through the tree's canopy. Attaching them to the trunks of small trees along streets, where they are exposed to full sun, fumes from passing cars and heat emanating from the pavement, leaves these natives of tropical forests in a sorry state, especially in the summer.
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