Climbing Fern - Lygodium
As the name would suggest, Climbing Ferns are a type of fern that climb vertically as they grow. These herbaceous plants feature long vine-like fronds that enable them to twine and engulf nearby plants, trees, fences, walls, etc. These decorative ferns work well with an arbor or trellis and will form a lush canopy in no time due to their rapid growth rate. Their multitude of light green blade-shaped leaves is connected to thin flexible finger-like stalks which bend and sway in the wind, aiding in the release and propagation of reproductive spores.
There are at least 26 known species of Climbing Fern, the most notable being the Old World Climbing Fern - Lygodium microphyllum and the Japanese Climbing Fern - Lygodium japonicum. These ferns prefer humid-to-moist air, shady-to-moderate-sunlight, and thrive in tropical-to-temperate climates, zones 5 to 9 on the Hardy scale. Climbing Ferns are widespread in the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Southeast Asia, and Oceana, while temperate climate variations can be found in East Asia as well as the Eastern United States
Depending on the species, Climbing Ferns can reach anywhere from 30 to 90 feet high in the wild; however, typically their maximum height will top out at roughly 3 to 15 feet with a width of around 5-inches. The ideal soil conditions for these ferns is an acidic-to-neutral mixture that is well-draining and moist, as they require a generous amount of water. Peat moss and sandy soil mixtures work exceptionally well with Climbing Ferns.
The fibrous system of rhizomes forms a brown strong mat-like base in which Climbing Ferns are rooted. The plant’s rhizome mat can be transplanted and used as an active growing medium for other plants. The fern’s vine-like stems are used for weaving baskets, hats, boxes and other small objects. The Japanese Climbing Fern is known for a variety of medicinal uses such as a respiratory expectorant, diuretic, gonorrhea treatment as well as a general blood tonic.