Java Fern Growing Roots on Leaves- Learn How to Fix It.

If you have a java fern plant in your garden, most probably, you have already experienced java fern growing roots on leaves like me.

Most people remain confused about the causes behind initiating these roots and their effects on the Java fern. Some may also think them harmful to the plant.

But, I can assure you that it’s a normal physiological process of Java fern. If you are also in doubt like them, this article is for you I have discussed the causes, effects, and the removal processes of these roots grown on leaves.

Java Fern Growing Roots on Leaves

I always admire the java fern as a different type of plant in my home garden. That’s why I have been experiencing this root-growing activity for a long time. Hence, I think I can explain it easily to you.

Java ferns are known to occasionally produce adventitious or secondary plantlets along the edges of their leaves. You can call them “adventitious buds” or “plantlet buds”.

However, these plantlets are developed into new plants due to their certain physical behavior. Don’t worry, I will describe this physiological fact briefly next after explaining the root growing facts.

Well, let’s back to the main conversation. After growing the adventitious plantlets, if they are allowed to grow much, they produce the secondary roots which I am talking about.

It is to be noted that these roots can grow while still attached to the parent leaf. But, this is an alternative to a natural reproductive strategy for Java ferns.

Whatever, if you’re seeing roots growing on the leaves, you can leave them be and they might eventually grow into new plants after developing sufficiently

On the other hand, you can also destroy them if you don’t want to have such organs in your leaves. This completely depends on you and I will discuss the causes and effects will other ins and outs of the factor. By judging those, I think, you may make a decision easily if you are keeping them or not.

Why do Java Fern Grows Roots on Leaves?

As I explained before, Java ferns grow roots on leaves while passing through their physiological changes. Here, I will discuss the factors and other criteria for this phenomenon. 

You know that Java ferns don’t produce seeds for their reproduction mechanism. They continue their reproduction asexually by cloning them which is done by the mature leaves.

The leaves may get spores on them if there is a high rainfall or windbreak. Sometimes, the leaves may possess spores genetically. 

After getting, a proper environment for germination, these spores germinate without fertilization and initiate the beginning of a new fern plant. 

Well, you can also say this ‘Apomixis’ type of reproduction which means embryo development from tissues, not ovules or female reproductive organs.

This unique reproductive strategy is a way for the Java fern to propagate itself. If you want to bring up new plants from these portions, you have to allow the adventitious plantlets to be detached from the parent plant only when they’ve developed enough roots.

This can then be planted in a new pot to grow into independent plants. This form of asexual reproduction helps the Java fern spread and colonize new areas in its natural habitat.

How to Fix Root Growing on Java Leaves?

Meanwhile, I have provided you with ideas about the causes of java fern growing roots on leaves. But if you don’t want such plantlets in your fern plant, then what to do?

As the formation of plantlets is a genetic cause, you can’t stop it manually. Some chemicals may be tried for it, but that may cause serious harm to the plant.

That’s why you should not try to create obstacles in their normal growing process. You can simply remove those buds when they are initiated. 

If the buds are carried away, the root formation will be automatically dispelled and the leaves won’t create any roots on them.

However, some plant enthusiasts suggest reducing the amount of light and nutrition to stop the growth of these roots. 

But from my view, it may hamper the health condition and development of the plant. That’s why I always suggest avoiding this term.

How to Remove Plantlets from A Java Fern Plant

If you have decided to destroy the plantlets from your java fern plant, follow the below-mentioned steps to keep your plant undisturbed. 

  • Here I would like to mention that, you can detach them both before and after growing roots. If you only want to remove them, remove the plantlets before rooting.

But, if you want to use them for propagation purposes, wait for the plantlets to develop roots and small leaves of their own. You will find that the roots usually grow along the edges of the mature Java Fern leaves.

  • Next, gently detach the plantlets from the main leaf using clean and sharp scissors or your fingers. Be careful not to damage the plantlets or the main plant. Otherwise, the new plant will not grow if it is for propagation. 
  • After removing, you can plant the individual plantlets in your desired location. You can either attach them to rocks, driftwood, or other surfaces as you wish.

Use thread or glue for adjusting or you can plant them directly into the substrate of your aquarium.

  • After you have completed the planting, ensure that the new plantlets receive appropriate lighting, water conditions, and nutrients which is mandatory for their establishment and growth.

Benefits of Adventitious Plantlets on Java Fern

Following the causes, I think I should mention the advantages of these plantlets and roots. You may consider them as additional materials if not used for propagation. 

But the fact is, they can perform some physiological duties too. For example, these adventitious roots may provide little to the nutrient cycle of the plant. They can absorb nutrients from various sources.

On the other hand, these roots help the fern anchor itself. Though java ferns don’t produce seeds, you don’t need to take any stress for their multiplication. 

This is because these plantlets help with natural reproduction, allowing the plant to expand its population. Additionally, they can be a valuable resource for aquarists and plant enthusiasts who want to keep a collection of new plants without the need for seeds or advanced propagation techniques.

Also, you don’t need to be tense about the appearance of the fern plant. As the plantlets improve true-to-type propagation, the same type of plant will be produced which is sometimes doubted in seed propagation.

Is Growing Roots on Leaves Harmful for the Java Fern? 

No way! Just in the upper portion, I have narrated the benefits of growing roots on leaves. This process is not harmful to the plant at all.

It’s a sign of a healthy plant. If you notice this happening, it’s generally a good sign that your plant is doing well. Also, it is in a healthy condition and the maintenance is going perfectly.


Do I need to provide any special care for the roots?

No. These roots don’t require any special care. You have to just maintain the common plant issues like appropriate lighting, water quality, and nutrient levels which are important for a healthy plant. 

May any Java Fern Not Produce Roots on Leaves?

Not really. Root production time may vary from species to species or may depend on the health condition of the plant. But the plantlets are produced. 

How long does it take for the roots to grow into full-sized plants?

Generally, they take a few months to produce adventitious plantlets and roots on the leaves. However the time varies depending on variety, maturity, and the health condition of the plant.

Final Words

Here, I reached the endpoint. Java fern growing roots on leaves is a physiological and beneficial prospect.

The most important thing is that you need not take any hassle with traditional propagation methods or searching for seeds to multiply their generation. They may create their generations themselves. 

You just have to provide a sufficient caring and maintenance schedule so that you can get a healthy plant. Hopefully, you will find your entire answer properly from the mentioned points.

Howard Parker

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