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Growing Indoor Ferns – A Full Guide

Introduction: Hello gardeners we are back with a great information of growing indoor ferns. Ferns are an attractive addition to any home. Ferns are very popular because of their graceful foliage and the ability to grow in low light. Many different types of ferns can be grown indoors for interior decoration and these are very attractive. Ferns are a common plant used both inside as houseplants and as garden foliage. Keep ferns away from radiators, bright, sunny windows, hot, and use a pebble tray to add moisture.

A step by step guide to Growing Indoor Ferns 

Ferns with tough, leathery foliage generally adapt better to typical household conditions than feathery, delicate types. The more delicate types of ferns will grow best where they can be given special care and maintenance. Ferns are plants that do not have flowers and generally reproduce by producing spores. Similar to flowering plants, ferns also have roots, stems, and leaves.

Ferns are very small ferns no more than 6 inches tall that are best suited to growth and viewing in a terrarium. Some of the larger ferns can grow into a 5-foot ball when mature and grown in a hanging basket.

Choose the right location for growing indoor ferns

Ferns need lots of shade and ambient sunlight. Locate your plant near a north-facing window; east and west windows let in too much direct sunlight. You can put fern next to a south-facing window if a north-facing window isn’t available. Locate the plant a bit away from the window, so that it receives more ambient light.

A draft-less north or east window is an ideal location for ferns, as is a curtain-filtered window facing west or south. Expose fern to no more than 1 to 2 hours of direct sun and it’s a good idea to turn your fern plants occasionally, or they will tend to start growing lopsidedly.

Soil requirement for growing indoor ferns

Many ferns have specific soil preferences, but almost all ferns will grow well in a peat-based, well-drained soilless mix. Ferns require a soil that remains moist, but also drains well so that the plant’s roots are not stagnant.

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Conditions for growing ferns indoors

Groiwng Conditions for Ferns.
Groiwng Conditions for Ferns.
  • Most ferns prefer moderate, indirect light inside and close to a north-facing window is ideal. Never put ferns directly in a south or west-facing window and direct sunlight will damage the foliage.
  • The ideal temperature for most ferns is between 60 and 70°F during the day and they like to be kept about 10°F cooler at night.
  • All ferns are moisture lovers; however, the amount that they need varies among the many different types of ferns. Some ferns like to be kept almost wet while others must dry slightly between watering. Be sure not to allow any of them to dry out completely and do not allow water to stand in pots since this can lead to root damage.
  • Potting soil for ferns must be porous and allow excess water to drain quickly. Ferns produce best in an organic potting medium similar to soils in their natural habitats.
  • Humidity is generally too low in the home for fine, thin-leafed ferns. Double pot plants to help provide extra moisture. Double pot by placing the major growing container inside a second container lined with moist sphagnum moss. You can lightly mist ferns occasionally. The humidity level in houses is low during winter and ferns will need extra attention.
  • Most ferns must be fertilized lightly once a month from April through September. Liquid houseplant fertilizers must be applied at about one-half the recommended rate and ferns will leaf scorch when fertilized too heavily. Do not fertilize ferns during the winter. Do not feed new or repotted plants for 6 months.

Container selection for growing indoor ferns

Select a container with a size proportionate to the plant keeping in mind that most ferns have a shallow root system. A plant is too small for its pot can drown in the excess water held in the soil. There must be roughly one inch of space between the root system and the sides of the container. Ferns could need to be repotted often but wait until it seems overcrowded. Any pot used must have a drainage hole at the base of the container to remove excess water.

Do not put stones or broken crockery into the bottom of a container as a process of drainage. This will make an environment where the plant’s roots will sit in a water-logged planting medium. A coffee basket filter placed in the bottom before the soil mix will work well to maintain soil from running out of drainage holes. And another option is double potting. Place the fern and potting mix in a permeable container, for example, a clay pot and then place that container into a larger pot that has a layer of sphagnum moss that will surround the smaller pot. Keep the sphagnum will be moist.

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Do regular watering

Ferns love a humid atmosphere, but they also choose moist soil as well. Make sure that fern’s potting mix is always damp (but never soaking). This means water a small amount daily, rather than heavy amounts irregularly. To determine whether or not your fern needs water, always verify the soil dampness before watering.

How to fertilize ferns

The nutrients of the potting soil deplete over time, and they won’t obtain replenished on their own when you’re growing ferns in a pot. You must fertilize the fern plants monthly to ensure an adequate and constant supply of nutrients to the ferns.

In summer, feed your ferns every 2 to 4 weeks with a liquid fertilizer, but don’t mix it full strength because you can damage the root system. Just a few drops of fertilizer can be added to the water irregularly for misting. Don’t feed your ferns in the winter season because they rest. To keep the air around ferns moist, mist them often.

Weed control

Keep weeds under control during the fern plants growing season. Weeds compete with ferns for water, space, and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their germination.

Apply mulch carefully when growing indoor ferns

Mulches used to help retain moisture in the soil and maintain even soil temperatures. For perennials, an organic mulch of aged bark or shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will develop the soil as it breaks down in time. And always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.

Ferns repotting

Ferns will need repotting every few years. Divide overcrowded fern plants by removing them from the pot then use a sharp knife to cut into the root mass, dividing it into 2 or 3 sections. Repot and maintain the soil medium evenly moist and supplying humidity for the first few weeks.

Pruning Ferns

When it comes to how to care for ferns, a light pruning is necessary. You can trim dead and damaged fronds any time of the year, except winter seasons in a cold climate. Remove diseased or pest-infested plant parts whenever you see them. To shape the fern, you can obtain rid of older and unsightly fronds in the early spring, when the growing season is about to begin.

Pests and diseases in indoor ferns

Ferns don’t suffer from many pest problems, but certain pests such as mealybugs, scales, and mites may infest them. Here’re some of the ways to get rid of them. After bacterial blight, root rot is a general disease, which you can prevent by watering wisely. These overwatering tips are useful.

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Tips for growing indoor ferns

  • Most fern plants are happy with indirect light from a north-facing window or, during the summer, in the filtered light from an eastern exposure. Avoid windows that face the west or south directions; they can become too hot.
  • Consistent watering, keeping the soil evenly moist, not wet, is key to the health and well being of the plants. Overwatering causes the fronds to yellow and wilt and eventually lead to root rot and fungal diseases, especially if the pot is allowed to sit in water.  Too little water causes wilt.  A few varieties, for example, Rabbit’s Foot Fern, Brake ferns, and Holly Fern are an exception to the consistent watering rule.  For these, you can allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering.
  • Ferns require light feedings of fertilizer once a month from April through September unless actively growing in winter months. Carefully apply liquid houseplant fertilizer at about one-half of the recommended rate. Too much fertilizer will scorch the foliage and newly potted plants must not be fertilized for 4 to 6 months, again unless there are indications of active growth.
  • You can also group ferns and other houseplants to raise the humidity or keep the plant in the bathroom or near the kitchen sink.
  • Though most ferns like to stay evenly moist, don’t let them get soggy. Water until the water drains out the bottom of the container and dumps any excess.
  • Give your fern plants good air circulation.
  • Keep fern plants healthy and beautiful by providing them with average to above-average relative humidity levels. Their love of moist air makes ferns perfect houseplants for bright bathrooms or kitchens. If ferns don’t get enough humidity, their fronds can turn brown and dry prematurely. Because they like humidity, most fern plants are ideal plants for terrariums.

List of Indoor fern plants

Some of the indoor ferns can be given below;

Birds nest fern

It is one of the easiest ferns to grow; it may reach 18 to 24 inches tall although in a humid room like greenhouse might get to be six feet high. It has broad, light green, leathery, undivided fronds that grow upwards, giving the plant the look of a bird’s nest. These ferns are beautiful and many conservatories and greenhouses boast impressively large specimens. These are a natural choice to group with orchids, bromeliads, and other rainforest plants in a display.

Boston fern

It is also known as the ladder or sword fern. It has long, delicate fronds and light green foliage; grows from 10 inches to three feet, depending on cultivar. These ferns are ideal for hanging baskets; fern may drop leaflets, especially if too dry and making this a “messy” plant to grow. These ferns were especially popular in Victorian times. 

Brake ferns

Brake ferns may be grown as a table fern or in a hanging basket; prefers diffused light and nighttime temperatures of 50 to 55F, 68 to 72F during the day. Brake fern is also called table fern or Cretan brake fern. It is an excellent houseplant with variegated fronds and a medium growth rate.

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Button fern

It is a good plant for small spaces as it only grows 12 to 18 inches tall. This fern has dark green and has round, slightly leathery “button-like” leaves attached to slender stems.

Holly fern

It is also known as the fishtail fern; it has bright, glossy, leathery leaves; rather un-fernlike in appearance. It prefers cool to moderate temperatures and indirect sunlight. It requires less humidity than most other ferns; ideal for lower light conditions.

Maidenhair fern

It is a fast-growing fern that needs high humidity and consistent moisture to survive; foliage is lacy with small, fan-shaped leaves; does best in a north window. If it dries out, the foliage could die as the plant shrivels.  However, it doesn’t “unwilt” when watered as many houseplants will, but new shoots must appear.

Bear’s Paw fern

This large plant offers thick, leathery, dark green fronds that may grow up to 4 feet. It is epiphytic and produces with its roots exposed to air.

Black Rabbit’s Foot fern

Black rabbit’s foot fern shows off finely divided fronds and fuzzy gray-brown rhizomes that creep along the top of the soil or cascade over the edge of the pot or container. It can grow 18 inches tall and wide indoors over time, but generally stays smaller.

Austral Gem fern

It is an easy-to-grow houseplant that thrives in low or medium-light and moist potting mix. It grows 12 inches tall and wide. Austral Gem fern tolerates most indoor conditions, including bright indirect light and even shady locations. Water carefully when the soil starts to dry. Grow this fern, like other ferns, in a hanging basket or a container set upon a pedestal or plant stand. That’s all folks about growing indoor ferns.

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