The original plant was a hitchhiker in the pot of a now-gone Rhipsalis NOID, which I carefully plucked out and potted up on its own, and it went from this
in a year and a half. (And just so we're clear about how much growth that was, the pot in those pictures went from 4" / 10 cm to 8" / 20 cm.)
Not quite a year after that, I saw a couple scale insects on it, so I cut all the foliage off and sprayed some rubbing alcohol around or something. Two or three weeks later:
And a mere two months after getting cut back:
Just monstrous. I've recently learned that there's one exception to the remarkable speed, though.
I'm not sure when it started producing spores; my guess is the summer of 2013. I didn't necessarily want more of these plants (where would I even put another one of these plants, after all?), but you know me: I can't help myself. So I sprinkled some spores around in one of the Anthurium germination containers, and also in a separate sealed plastic container containing some potting soil, as an experiment. I think this was in September 2013.
And nothing happened. I'd done the same thing with Cyrtomium falcatum, earlier, and nothing happened then either, so I concluded that I was destined for greater things than propagating ferns, and forgot about it all.
So when something started coming up in the germination containers with the Anthurium seeds, it took me a little while to figure out. They didn't look much like the fern I'd started with: the fronds were so thin they were practically transparent, and the wrong color besides -- sort of a pale apple-green instead of the blue-green of the fully-grown plant. Wasn't 100 percent sure what I had, but when in doubt, pot it up and see what happens.1 So I potted up a banker's dozen2 in individual three-inch pots on 20 September 2015. I don't have any photos of them until 24 November; I'm guessing I didn't want to put the time into taking pictures if I didn't know for sure what they were or whether they were going to live. By November, though, it was clear they were ferns:
And it quickly became clear that these were the quick-growing monster-type ferns. Ten weeks later:
And by now, late April, they've grown so much that it's hard to get a picture of them all at once:
They've grown so much that they're already bending their pots out of shape
and their rhizomes are jumping over the pots' sides.
So I should maybe be thinking about moving them up to 4-inch pots already.
You may have noticed that I've avoided saying what they are. I've had some trouble settling on an ID. Obviously the original plant, as a hitchhiker, didn't have an ID on it. I thought for a while maybe it was Phlebodium aureum,
though I wasn't sure, because the only P. aureum I had to compare it to was my (since-deceased) P. aureum 'Mandianum,' which has a similar color but much rufflier fronds. There were other reasons to doubt the ID too; I no longer remember what they were, though.
And then I had an anonymous commenter do a drive-by to tell me that it was obviously a Laua'e fern (Hawaiian Wart fern), Phymatosorus grossus. Image searches seemed to argue against Phymatosorus, which has glossier, greener fronds, and also Phymatosorus is supposed to have a pleasant scent, which my plants do not. The arrangement of the sporangia seems subtly different, too, though it's harder to say exactly what's different about them.
In any case. After comparing pictures of the venation on Phlebodium aureum 'Blue Hare' (here) with the venation on my fern, I'm about 75% confident that I have P. aureum. If any fern experts are reading this and feel like weighing in, feel free. I'd look into it harder myself, but I'm kind of busy trying to figure out what to do with all these.3
2 (Most internet sources will tell you a banker's dozen is eleven, but in this case I mean ten. The joke works for any number under twelve.)
3 (I don't even know what to call them. I mean, they're not seedlings if there were no seeds, right? As far as I could find from, admittedly, a kind of half-assed search, there's no botanical, technical, or horticultural word for ferns analogous to "seedling." Any fern experts in the audience are invited to answer that question too; in the meantime I guess I'm going with "sporeling.")