How to care for ferns
Although ferns are a diverse group they do have similar care requirements, they all enjoy part shade and a degree of moisture.
In the natural habitat ferns are an understory plant, they grow beneath taller trees and receive mainly filtered light.
Being able to cope well in low light levels make them an ideal plant for indoors or a difficult shaded position outdoors.
Because of the their nature we look at tree fern care separately.
Basic Fern Care Techniques
Soil or Growing medium for ferns
Although ferns do grow from a rhizome they all have a fine root system, this means that try require an open potting mix that allows air and water to be available, but not a water logged soil.
Ferns require water as the soil begins to dry, over watering can be as big a problem as under watering.
For most ferns grown outdoors very little fertilizer will be required, indoor or potted ferns will need a general purpose slow release fertilizer every 6 months. Additional applications of liquid seaweed fertilizer or vermicast is also beneficial.
Although ferns do not actually require pruning they can benefit aesthetically from a good tidy up every year. How do you prune a fern? It simply involves the removal of old dead foliage, although some ferns can be cut right back in spring for a real tidy up, but not all.
Pests and Problems
If you are watering properly and maintaining good shade and air movement you will have few problems growing ferns. A few insects such as mealy bugs can be controlled with a horticultural soap, consult your nursery to find the correct product.
List of Popular Garden Ferns
- (Maidenhair Ferns)
- Huperzia – Tassel Ferns