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Your Guide to Caring for Indoor Ferns

March 06 2024

Your Guide to Caring for Indoor Ferns
Your Guide to Caring for Indoor Ferns

Your Guide to Caring for Indoor Ferns

Ferns: Easy elegance for plant lovers.

Ferns are not really difficult to grow in the modern home, but they will not tolerate neglect. The soil must never be allowed to dry out, and the surrounding air needs to be kept moist. Few ferns can tolerate hot dry air, so air humidity has to be artificially increased.

There is a bewildering choice of varieties. Nearly two thousand are suitable to growing indoors, but comparatively few are available commercially. There is also a wide choice of ways to display your collection. Many of them are ideal for a hanging basket and some, such as Boston fern and Bird’s Nest Fern, are large enough and bold enough to be displayed as specimen plants on their own. Delicate ferns, such as Delta Maidenhair, are best planted in a terrarium. When grouping ferns with other plants make sure that they are not crushed – the fronds are fragile and need room to develop. In addition ensure that all dead and damaged fronds are removed so that new ones can grow.

Indoor Ferns like a comfortable temperature, moist soil, and a decent amount of light.

Ferns require average warmth – cool but not cold nights are desirable. The best temperature range is 60°-70°F – the minimum for most types is about 50°F and ferns may suffer at more than 75°F.

Despite popular opinion, ferns are not shade lovers indoors as most varieties originated in the dappled brightness of tropical woodland. Good indirect light is the proper location – an east- or north-facing windowsill is ideal.

Compost must be kept moist at all times and never allowed to dry out for an extended period of time. This does not mean constantly soggy compost – waterlogging will lead to rotting. Reduce watering in winter. Moist air is necessary for nearly all ferns. Mist fronds regularly.

Repotting & Propagating.

Repot in spring when the roots fill the pot – most specimens will probably require annual repotting. Do not bury the crown of the plant.

The simplest way to propagate ferns is to divide the plant into 2 or 3 pieces in early spring if it produces rhizomes. Some ferns produce young plants at the ends of runners or on fronds. It is possible, but not always easy, to raise plants from spores obtained from the underside of mature fronds.

Special problems to look out for:

  • Brown dots or lines regularly arranged on underside of fronds are spore cases, an indication that the frond is mature and healthy. The spores produced inside these spore cases can be used for propagation.
  • Brown shells irregularly scattered on fronds is caused by scale, the Bird’s Nest Fern is particularly susceptible to this pest.
  • Yellowing fronds, beginning at the base of plant or mature fronds develop brown spots and fall is due to the air being too warm-a common complaint when ferns are stood too close to radiators. Few ferns can tolerate very high temperatures. If the plant is also limp and wilting, then the cause is incorrect watering.
  • Yellowing fronds, brown tips or no new growth is caused by the air being too dry.
  • Pale fronds or scorch marks on surface is caused by too much sunlight. Ferns must be protected from midday sunshine in the summer.
  • Pale fronds, weak growth is due to not enough fertilizer. Ferns need feeding, little and often, during the growing season.
  • Fronds dying back either old age or the two most likely culprits are dry air and dry compost.

1 comment

  • Stephanie jennings: March 28, 2024
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    I love this store and my mom does love this store when or if my mom and I comes here to get some plants for every holidays and for the summer and other times I was thinking of putting some stuff on hold for when or if my mom and I comes to do some shopping I was thinking that you could hold the jelly belly jellybeans that I was looking at in the red boxes and the tropical kinds and kids mix and the Seattle best chocolates and some soups and couple of the scone mixes blueberry lemon chocolate pumpkin strawberry blackberry and other kinds jams in strawberry blackberry and other kinds and some teas and cocoas I was thinking at the cafe I could have a grande mocha hot and for a snack I would like a chocolate chocolate chip cookie and muffin and crossant while my mom could have a tall skinny sugar free vanilla latte and a pastery that is sugar free I hope we could do that together very soon

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