I have dug the soil and the whole root ball has snapped off at the ground. The fern is old and 1 metre in diameter I don’t want to lose it! Any ideas? Native plants
I'n not really sure exactly how much root is left, but I would try replanting it again in good soil with a lot of organic material, and then keep it watered and moist for 2 or 3 weeks until you are sure that it's recovering. If the foliage is still withered after doing all that, it can mean the reduced roots can't handle supplying enough nutes and water to the foliage, at which point you may have to divide the fern into smaller plants, and then replant those.
If it's the usual Asplenium nidus they naturally grow on trees or rocks. Their roots going down into soil would tend to rot. So there'd only be roots near the surface which wouldn't be too good at anchoring the plant down. Possibly it's only the weight of the plant that's been holding it down. You could put it on something solid (not concrete - too much lime) and keep it moist so it can attach itself. Generally, for a rainforest plant, they're fairly drought tolerant. You won't lose it in a hurry. If you're in the north east coastal area just look around the rainforests to see how they grow.
Thank you so much.
AHH< now I understand why they call it "Bird's Nest". It grows like a nest in trees. Thank You.
They're tough as old boots but don't like waterlogged roots. Plant it in a piece of hollow tree stump, an old tyre slashed at the bottom to let any water drain out, or just in a large very large plastic pot, anywhere it can have excellent drainage. Don't need any soil, throw a bit of leaf litter in the bottom and the fern will be happy. Although an epiphyte that will grow on trees etc, they need less water when grown within a contained area. I live in Qld Aust where they are native, and have them coming up everywhere on my trees. I then transplant small ones into ordinary black plastic pots of very well drained composty material and they flourish.
Thanks heaps for the information Donna.
wantanamara ----it sounds rather like those cool moss balls you guys have around your area.