Hanging a Fern

I've got a north facing shady screened porch (7b Piedmont). I'd like to hang 6 ferns off that. Not sure what I got, but they are tallish until they droop over, and are cold hardy. They are root bound in one gallon pots.
Does it need deep or wide? Can I plant this in mostly peat? I may make the containers. I have a good bit of 6" wide cypress as well as some old copper screen and I'm not in the mood to throw $60 or so in pots (though I may give in). Perhaps fold a basket out of the screen, stuff it with peat and I'm not sure what else. Hang it on the drip line. Should I be thinking coconut mat?
Ideas?
jeff
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On 6/27/2011 10:54 AM, j wrote:

I've got them hanging from the dripline in coconut mat baskets ($3 Wally World) in a sorta sandy humus/manure mix.
When I broke up the roots it was loaded with nodules. These seemed to me to storing water.
I've always thought about misting ferns, but now I wonder if they aren't more like camels storing water for the drought. Load them up and they can go for a while.
At any rate, it is raining and water is pouring through one of the planters. Fern stress test in progress.
j

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On 7/9/11 11:16 AM, j wrote:

Are you sure they are true ferns? Sprenger asparagus (A. densiflorus 'Sprengeri', often called asparagus fern) has nodules on its roots, indeed for storing water. These can get quite pot-bound and will eventually require dividing and repotting in order to maintain vigor. They do not require misting.
Asperagus ferns often turn yellow in the fall and go dormant or semi-dormant. They have small white flowers. As with all species of asparagus, there are separate male and female plants. The females get small berries that turn red when ripe. I don't think the berries are edible. In any case, I cut away any shoots on mine that have ripening berries because they will otherwise scatter through my garden and become new plants. Except for the one plant that volunteered in a rather dry corner of my back yard, I consider these to be weeds. It took me more than a year to eradicate a clump of asparagus ferns from my front yard.
In any case -- true ferns or asparagus -- I would avoid using copper mesh around roots of any plant. Copper will slowly corrode, putting copper salts into the potting mix. Copper salts are generally toxic to plants. (This also applies to brass and bronze, both of which are copper alloys.) If you wish to use a mesh to create hanging baskets, try either aluminum or plastic (e.g., for window screens).
Have you considered using a large eye-bolt in the center of each basket for hanging? You then use a small chain and an S-hook. See my <http://www.rossde.com/garden/indoors.html#bluebath . Of course, with anon-rigid basket, you would need to use larger steel washers on the inside and outside, almost the diameter of the basket; but you could skip the rubber washers. You might even use pierced discs in place of the large washers.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
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Asparagus fern is not a true fern.
We have one inside in a window. For the first time in years we just observed some tiny flowers.
--
Dan Espen

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