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Tiger Fern debuts in upcoming shows
By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center
If you like the Boston Fern, you will adore the Tiger Fern. These tropical treasures make their Mississippi debut this spring at garden and patio shows in Hattiesburg, Jackson and Southaven.
Their incredible beauty comes from the variegation that resembles a tiger's stripes. Each frond will be a different color and offer a different pattern of variegation. The colors will vary from dark green to lime green and golden yellow.
The colors were so remarkable that the Tiger Fern was chosen as the best new foliage plant when it made its debut at the Tropical Plant Industry Expo in Florida.
It is well suited to hanging baskets where the fronds hang gracefully downward. This elegant form means it also will make a striking appearance in ornate containers.
Tiger Ferns require watering but remember that too much water harms more ferns than too little. Give it a deep soaking and then let it become slightly dry before the next watering.
Feed your Tiger Ferns with a dilute water-soluble fertilizer every three to four weeks while it is actively growing. Indoors you will not need much fertilizer until you get ready to take it outside in the spring.
Group your Tiger Ferns with other tropicals around the porch or patio to give that feeling of being in the islands. Once cold weather arrives, place them in a bright area indoors. An occasional soaking and little misting will keep them looking good.
Another application that I saw in Chicago was absolutely stunning. These ferns were planted in an organic-rich shade garden as annuals like you would impatiens. In fact, they were planted in conjunction with the new Fusion impatiens that give the appearance of seashells. These impatiens come in tropical colors of orange, yellow and mango.
In the southern part of the state, I suspect these ferns would have a chance of a spring return with adequate mulch for the winter.
In addition to the Tigers, look for other tropical ferns at the garden shows like Kimberly Queen, Macho and Boston. There also should be a good selection of hardy perennial ferns.
Look for these ferns at the upcoming Mississippi garden and patio shows. The first event is the Gulf Coast Garden and Patio Show Feb. 24-26. This year's show is being held at the Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg. It was originally scheduled for Biloxi, but damage from Hurricane Katrina forced a change of venue.
The second will be the Ninth Jackson Garden and Patio Show March 10-12, which will be held at the Agricultural and Industrial Buildings on the state fairgrounds. Last year's event drew saw an attendance near 9,000.
The last event will be the March 17-19 Home, Garden and Patio Show held at The Arena on Highway 51 in Southaven.
For more information of the shows, call me at the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Raymond at (601) 857-2284.