Pteris ensiformis (Silver Lace Fern)

Silver Lace Fern / Variegated Brake Fern

Pteris ensiformis 'Evergemiensis'

Pteris ensiformis ‘Evergemiensis’ is an elegant little variegated brake fern, with silvery-white foliage and bright venation that takes up much of the frond, leaving just a thin green edge. Native to the tropical and subtropical regions of South East Asia and China, this fern is easy to grow in terrarium conditions.

Often called the silver lace fern for its delicate white variegation, this plant makes a wonderful feature plant. Just watch out for the single tall stem with the different leafage, for some reason there’s always one that’s different and tends to grow much taller than the rest (and you may need to trim that bad boy down at some point).

At a Glance

Where to Buy the Silver Lace Fern

See the links below to purchase from reputable terrarium plant shops and marketplaces (may include affiliate links). 

Terrarium Plant Guide

Silver Lace Fern Care & Growth

Lighting

As with most tropical ferns, the silver lace fern should be grown under dappled, indirect light for best results. Take care to keep out of direct sunlight as those delicate fronds can easily scorch.

Watering

Pteris ensiformis ‘Evergemiensis’ likes consistent even moisture to thrive, and will quickly degenerate if allowed to dry out. It should do well as part of a moist tropical terrarium environment.

Substrate

To keep this slender brake fern happy, try a nutrient rich substrate that effectively retains moisture and drains well. Organic mixes containing bark, sphagnum moss, coconut coir and earthworm castings are good options here.

Temperature & Humidity

Growing best in tropical and subtropical environments, Pteris ensiformis ‘Evergemiensis’ will truly thrive under warm and humid closed terrarium conditions.

Growth

Outdoors, the silver lace fern can grow up to 35 inches high, but in a terrarium it’s likely to stay in its juvenile form and remain much more compact. That being said, this fern does have a very upright growth habit, so they might eventually reach the top of your terrarium and need a trim.

Propagation

The easiest way to propagate Pteris ensiformis ‘Evergemiensis’ is through dividing the rhizome. As long as a rhizome cutting has at least one healthy stem and frond, it has a good chance of becoming a viable plant.

Varieties & Similar Plants

There are almost 300 species in the Pteris genus, and a few of them are commonly used in terrariums, including Pteris cretica (Silver Ribbon Fern), Pteris dentata ‘stramina’ and Pteris quadriaurita ‘Tricolor’.

Common Problems

The biggest thing to look out for when caring for the silver lace fern is its watering. It has fairly high water requirements, and it’s susceptible to drying out. If you see any signs of brown edges or drooping fronds, you need to add more water.