Advice for Growing Ferns
If you’ve never tried your hand at growing ferns—or if your former attempts have been unpleasant—then it’s time you learned the basics when it comes to fern growing. To start off, there are two basic ways that you can grow a fern: indoors and outdoors. In most cases you will likely find the best results by growing your fern both indoors and outdoors. This is a much easier task than it sounds like! In the spring when moisture levels are typically at their highest, your fern will enjoy hanging around outside from the roof of your porch, on a covered patio, or under a tree. When the weather starts to get chilly, the air begins to dry out, or the temperatures become too scorching then you’ll know it’s time to bring your fern back inside where it can be cared for with very little effort. Take a look at the following tips that will make growing ferns a piece of cake!
Moisture is Key
The thing about ferns is that many people say they’re mostly a plant that you can hang and forget about, but that’s not entirely true. If you have the fern as an indoor plant and the air inside your home is fairly dry (which happens during the cooler months when heaters are used), then your fern is much more likely to dry up if you don’t help it out in the moisture department. Water the soil whenever it feels dry about an inch deep—you can check by sticking your finger into the soil up to the first knuckle. Ferns don’t care for super-wet soil and actually benefit from drying out a bit between watering. This is the basic care guideline for keeping your fern well hydrated. If you’re willing to put in a little bit of extra effort to see your fern grow full and bright, then take the time to give it a sprits of water with a water bottle every other day or so—just on the foliate of the plant. This will help simulate the fern’s natural environment, which is typically on the forest floor under a bunch of trees where the air is thick with moisture. If you have trouble remembering to spray your fern then consider setting an alarm on your mobile phone to give you a reminder every other day.
Let There be Light!
Contrary to popular belief, ferns do not like total darkness. Being that it’s a plant, it has to have sunlight in order to survive, although ferns have become quite popular for not requiring a great deal of sunlight. This reputation has become so well known that it almost works against the plant, particularly to the point that people actually believe this plant can survive in a totally sunless room. Even in the fern’s natural environment, sunlight reaches the plant in what is known as “filtered light.” The leaves of the treetops above the fern typically act as a filter to block out the harshest rays of the sun—but not all of the sun’s rays. The best place to put your fern would be in an area of your home that has moderate to bright natural light, but avoid putting your fern on the sunniest windowsill or in the direct shine of sunlight for more than a few hours. The same goes for growing ferns outdoors—they should be placed in an area that isn’t completely dark nor exposed to full sunlight.
A Fern’s Gotta Eat
Although the fern is a very easy plant to care for (some might argue that they are “the easiest”), this species of plant could definitely use a nutritional pick me up every now and then, especially during the time periods in which it does the most growing. Don’t worry about slopping on a bunch of organic matter or manure—it simply isn’t necessary for a fern because it benefits best from periodical fertilizing, not binging. You can easily find a light liquid fertilizer at your local garden supply store. All you have to do is apply a few drops to the soil (just go by the directions on the packaging) during the early spring or whenever your fern seems to be growing at a faster rate than usual. Timed release fertilizer is an excellent option for ferns. If you don’t like to mess around with liquid fertilizer or if you just happen to be switching out your fern’s pot/hanging basket then you might try adding just a handful or so of compost, peat moss, or other organic matter to the soil.
The problem that many people have with ferns is the complaint that they begin to grow fungus. –Yes, this is as unappealing as it sounds. When growing ferns—indoors or outdoors—the preferred daily temperature is between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Letting the temperature drop a little, say down into the 60’s, during the night time can help prevent the development of mold which can be very dangerous for humans and pets. Allowing the soil to dry out between watering also helps to discourage mold formation.