Java Fern Propagation-The Easiest Way to Multiply

Like most other houseplants, Java fern may also go through vegetative propagation. But that does not completely match with the general plant parts that are used for other plants as propagules.

As you know, Java fern produces roots on leaves whereas other house plants produce roots after they are cut and planted in a pot. 

However, let’s learn in detail about Java fern propagation steps and the precautions that you should take to avoid failure in uptaking the plantlets to new fern plants.

How to Propagate Java Fern- 6 Steps

1. Identify Healthy Plant

Before starting the propagation procedure, you need to select a mature and healthy plant that you want to propagate. For example, if you take any diseased plant, most probably, it won’t grow well.

That’s why you should focus on some points before choosing a plant for propagation. 

  • The plant should be healthy enough in appearance. 
  • The plant should be disease-free. You can be sure of that by observing the growth rate and the leaves should be free from any types of spots or other abnormalities. 
  • You should take a mature plant where roots are grown on leaves. 

2. Prepare Tools

You’ll need some equipment to complete the process. But, most importantly, you should sterilize and wash the tools properly so that they may remain free from any types of germs.

Also, you have to clean your hands to ensure the healthy growth of the plant in the future. Well, here are the lists of the tools that you will need. But these are not obligate. You can use any tool similar to the mentioned one.

  • A pair of sharp scissors or a clean razor blade
  • Some small pots (it will vary on your number of clones or propagates) 
  • A suitable substrate (like a water container or an aquarium gravel or potting soil).
  • If you are going to propagate in soil, coco-peat or coco-coir can be adjusted to the loamy soil to facilitate their growth.

3. Separate the Horizontal Stem 

Now, take the plant you chose to propagate, carefully remove the Java fern from its current location, and examine the horizontal stem. 

The main stem is thick from which the fern’s leaves and roots grow. The leaves and roots are clear enough that is helpful for you in propagation purposes. 

4. Cut the Single Plantlets

Next, the step is cutting. Use the scissors or razor blade to cut the horizontal stem into sections, ensuring that each section has at least two healthy leaves along with established roots attached. 

In this case, mostly I like using scissors. But, you can choose your tool as your comfort. In the case of ease, you can trim the roots of the main stem if they are compacted or long.

5. Plant the Sections

After the cutting is completed, place each section in a small pot or container with a suitable substrate of your choice as I mentioned before. 

Make sure the roots are buried in the substrate and the leaves should remain above the substrate. Pots should be prepared with a 1:1 ratio if you are taking soil and coco-peat.

6. Provide Suitable Conditions

Java ferns can grow both submerged in water (for aquariums) or in moist soil (for terrestrial plants). That’s why you have to provide them with a proper microclimate environment including moisture, temperature, and all.

I will mention the suitable ranges for different microclimate elements that facilitate the perfect growth of Java fern.

Also, continue to care for the new plants as you would for mature Java ferns, providing the right lighting, water quality, and nutrients. 

As they are separated from their existing environment, they need much care to adapt to the new pot and grow well.

How Long Does it Take for Java Fern to Reproduce? 

After completing the propagation procedure, I always remain very excited when I see the establishment of a new plant. Maybe you are also one of them.

Hence, I want to mention the time a Java Fern takes to develop and become an independent plant. Well, this can vary depending on environmental conditions and care. 

As I found by propagating my fern plants, on average, it may take a few weeks to be established like a newly grown plant from a plantlet.

Next, a few months may be needed for Java fern plantlets to grow large enough to be prepared for being a parent plant and continue producing reproductive parts.

But, proper lighting, water quality, and nutrient levels can have impacts on the rate of their growth rate and reproduction. 

What is the Best Time for Java Fern Propagation? 

By this time, I thought that I should mention the best time for propagation so that you can be successful in this case. Java fern can be propagated at any season.

But, the propagation technique is facilitated if you do this job in spring after the winter has recently passed. This is because, in some areas, the winter is too cold which doesn’t match the required temperature of Java fern.

Therefore, in spring the temperature is not too high or too low which is suitable for the adaptation of the new plantlets. Also, you should be careful of the time too along with the season.

Propagating in the early morning or late afternoon is supposed to be the best time. At that time, the sunlight is not too scorching and the transpiration process is not rapid 

Such a situation is important for the plantlets as they can’t go through any adverse situation until they are adapted to their new pot.

This type of time maintenance is not mandatory always. But, the rate of success and growth of a healthy plant will be ensured by such small details.

Is Java Fern Easy to Grow?

Yeah! Java fern is supposed to be easier to grow than most other houseplants. In other houseplants, the roots are grown after cutting and putting in the pot.

While Java fern leaves are producing roots you haven’t cut them or potted them yet. The most important part of propagation is root Initiation which is already naturally present in the plantlets of the Java Ferns.

Also, I consider that the success rate of propagating Java is high. As I have different types of ferns in my garden, I can surely say that compared to others growing Java ferns is easy.

Java Fern Caring  

To ensure the successful and notable growth of the plantlets, you need to ensure the manipulation of the microclimates that I have already said. The specific requirements of Java fern are mentioned below-

Substrate Nutrient-rich substrate
Temperature 68-82°F
LightLow to moderate light, but avoid direct lighting
WateringWater properly so that it neither remains dry nor remains in a water-logged condition 
PruningPrune the brown and damaged leaves
Fertilizer Doesn’t need a huge range of fertilizer 

Spore Propagation 

Well, Java ferns can also go through spore propagation as they produce spores as their reproductive parts. But I don’t suggest anyone for spore propagation. 

Firstly, the spores need a lot of time to be produced. Meanwhile, the plant may be over-mature or attacked by diseases.

Secondly, the rate of success in spore propagation is low. You can’t get too many plants at a time from spore propagation that you may get from vegetative propagation. 

Thirdly, the new plant produced from the spore may be not true to type. That means the baby plant may not be as same as the mother plant due to genetic issues.

Finally, the fact is about time. Using a plantlet can provide you with a new healthy plant within a short time. But, spore needs a long time to be grown from a single propagule.

Hence, I discourage people from waiting for spore production and grow a new plant from spores. I also propagate Java fern with the plantlets and it is satisfying to me.


Can direct sunlight harm Java fern?

Yeah! Direct sunlight can cause much to Java fern after propagating. As they need to cope with the new environment, they can tolerate much sunlight.

How can I enhance the propagation procedure?

Propagated cuttings or plantlets can be grown faster by providing a warm environment to them. Also, other elements can facilitate the process if you apply them perfectly.

Can Java fern propagation fail?

Not always, but it can happen. Java fern propagation is one of most easiest propagation procedures which has a huge success rate. But, if you can’t follow the mentioned steps properly, your efforts will be in vain.

Read More- Why Java Fern Turning Brown

Final Thoughts

Meanwhile, you have learned that vegetative propagation through leaves and their associated roots can be a great way to create more Java ferns for your aquarium or garden.

Here you have to be gentle while handling the plant so that the roots do not face any damage during the process. Also, they should be free from the contact of any germs or pathogens.

Thus, you can multiply your Java fern into several numbers as you want and decorate your whole garden or aquarium with its beauty.

Howard Parker

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