Ferns are incredibly common plants that you see in peoples’ yards. They’re often used as border plants, and they can provide cover for many different plants too.
You’ll find that ferns are just overall aesthetically pleasing plants that you’ll enjoy caring for. It’s more common for these plants to be planted outdoors in the ground, but some people are choosing to grow them in pots.
If you’ve never tried growing ferns in pots before, you might be at a loss for how you should go about doing things. What do you need to know to find success?
Read on for some simple tips to give your plant the best chance of thriving.
Plant Ferns in Their Own Pots or Containers
The first thing to know is that you’ll have a better experience if you plant the ferns in their own pots or containers. Some people like to do mixed containers that house multiple plants, but this will likely make things tougher than they need to be.
If you want your fern to thrive in a pot or container, it should be given its own space. You don’t want it to have to compete with other plants in a confined space.
Choose Good Potting Mix
When you’re potting ferns, it’s going to be imperative to choose a good potting mix. The soil mixture has to have good drainage or you’re not going to get good results with these plants.
There’s a delicate balance that you’re trying to maintain when caring for potted ferns. You need the soil to do a good enough job of retaining moisture while still draining properly.
It’s also important to ensure that the soil is aerated properly so that the plant can thrive. The potting mix needs to contain organic elements such as peat, ground sphagnum moss, or leaf mold.
If you pick out a good potting mix, it’ll also contain calcium and magnesium for the roots. Many will choose to go with potting mixes that don’t contain soil at all.
You can get good results if you buy commercial potting mix products that have the right mix of nutrients. There are many different types of products out there to choose from.
The specific soil that will work best for your ferns might depend on what species they are. You see, there are many different types that people like to care for in pots or containers.
Some ferns might have slightly different requirements. Looking up specific information about the one you’re caring for might be beneficial.
Shallow Pots and Containers Work Best
You should know that ferns generally grow in more shallow soil than many other plants. You’ll often find them growing in rocks or in places where the soil is fairly shallow.
These plants develop shallow root systems, and this means that planting them in a deep pot doesn’t make a lot of sense. If you wish to get the best results, it’d be better to plant your fern in a shallow pot or container.
Find a pot or container that will allow you to plant the fern between three and six inches deep. This will be the best way to start growing it in a container or pot.
You want the fern to fit in the pot very well, and it should have about two inches of space around the pot edges to allow it to grow. This should ensure that it has the right type of environment to grow.
Planting one in a deep pot will make things a lot tougher for you. It’ll be difficult to maintain the proper moisture levels, and it just doesn’t make sense when you’re growing these plants.
When you’re just getting ready to plant the ferns, it’s going to be important to start with pots that are very clean. You’re also going to want to check to ensure that the pot has adequate drainage holes.
Where to Place the Ferns
Placing the ferns in a good spot will be another important aspect of getting things right. You want to find a location where they’ll be able to get everything that they need.
Ideally, you should place them in a spot that is fairly cool and a bit shady. These plants really like moist locations, and they do best when they’re kept in temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Placing them directly in the sun will likely be a bad idea. They won’t do so well when the sun is very harsh in the summer months.
Many people who grow ferns in pots or containers will keep them indoors. You might also choose to keep the potted ferns indoors during some of the year and outdoors during the summer.
If you’re going to do this, remember to find spots where they’ll be okay. Partial shade should be fine in most locations.
Watering Potted Ferns
Watering potted ferns isn’t that complicated, but you do want to be sure to do things right. Some people make the mistake of not watering them enough which will lead to significant issues.
You need to make sure that they stay sufficiently watered, but you also need to allow them to dry out a bit between watering sessions. This means that it’s a good idea to check the soil with your fingers so that you can tell when it needs to be watered enough.
Most ferns won’t do well if you water them too much. Wet roots could become problematic if you continue to water more than you should.
This is why adequate drainage is such an important factor. You need to ride the line and ensure that you’re neither under-watering nor over-watering.
Whenever you water your plant, it’s going to be best to remember to water the soil and not the plant itself. Some ferns will not do well if you try to water at the center of the plant.
You can get more specific information about watering requirements based on the species of the fern that you’re caring for. This general advice will still be useful, though.
Fertilizing the Ferns
Fertilizing the ferns could help them to grow strong. You just have to be sure to go about doing this in the right way.
Feed your ferns during the spring and the summer. This is the natural growing season for these plants.
It’s generally recommended to feed them monthly during the growing season. You’ll get good results if you use a 15-5-15 fertilizer, but you could also go with a 20-10-20 fertilizer.
You won’t need to fertilize the plant as often during the winter. Try to fertilize it every two or three months during the winter, and remember not to fertilize a dormant fern.
Remember to follow the instructions that come with the fertilizer that you purchased. You never want to use too much fertilizer since that could harm the plant.
It’s also beneficial to use distilled water during the winter to wash out salts that might have built up in the soil over time. If you do your best to fertilize the plant carefully, you’ll surely get good results.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.