Feb 20 , 2020
My New Guinea tassel fern or Huperzia squarrosa, surprisingly or not is one of the easiest plants I own. It’s given me no pest issues even when neighbouring plants have been affected, and grows so well albeit a bit slow. If you’re looking for a statement piece that is small enough to fit on a shelf, I definitely recommend one of these guys.
Some care tips:
Light: Like most ferns (although this is technically not a fern), they like full shade - no direct sun ie the sun’s rays should not touch it. They appreciate a spot that is medium to bright in light levels, which is within a few metres of a bright window or closer if the window is dark. If in doubt about the light in a certain spot, try a light meter app like Plant Light Meter on iOS
Water: In my experience, these guys will handle regular drying out although online research repeatedly tells me they need to be kept slightly moist. Goes to show this plant can take a range of conditions! They’ll benefit from high humidity (like any fern - think of how they grow on trees or on the forest floor where humidity is high) which makes them great nestled on a plant shelf with other green babies
Soil: Soil should drain very well! This is actually in a coarse mix of mainly polystyrene with some bark, with loads of air pockets, where it has happily grown and I’ll even say thrived for a year now. Orchid mix with a lot of added perlite would suit. Avoid fertilising them, as they burn very easily (as do most ferns) and are used to growing in low nutrient media, and if you need to, use a small amount of slow release fertiliser to avoid frying the ends of the tassels. Or try small doses of Seasol
Pests: In my experience, quite pest resistant!
Propagation; Propagate via air layering, division and stem cutting (although I’ve read the latter can be quite difficult)
Where to buy: I paid around $30 AUD for mine from @greenbeanz_plants. They pop up in online plant stores every now & then, otherwise eBay is probably your best option as they’re not commonly sold and unlikely to be found in a nursery