Ferns may be the most killed houseplant of all time, or at least in my house they are. These tricky plants can be so difficult to keep happy that it can ruin your confidence as a houseplant parent. At this stage in my houseplant journey (10+ years), I don’t typically buy ferns anymore. I have three different varieties that do well for me inside. Keeping ferns alive in the garden is a whole different and easier ballgame I’ll save for another post.
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When keeping ferns inside your home, there are several things that you cannot ignore when growing ferns and even with all conditions met it doesn’t guarantee success. They are very particular and will turn crispy at the slightest change in conditions.
How Much Light do Ferns Need?
Ferns do extremely well in low, dappled light. One of the reasons to own ferns is because they can live in a darker corner of your home and do pretty well. Now mind you, low-light doesn’t mean no light. No houseplants can survive without any light. So be sure that dark corner does get some light throughout the day.
How to Fertilize Ferns
Every plant needs to be fed if you want them to grow well. For ferns, I like to use a low, diluted dose of fish emulsion every other watering. Ferns can be very sensitive to fertilizers so be sure to use an organic fertilizer instead of synthetic and dilute it down. If you notice your fern is getting brown tips or leaves, cut back on the frequency of fertilizer.
How to Water Your Ferns
Ferns do not like to dry out and it will be hard to keep your fern alive if you let it go bone dry. Be prepared to keep their soil consistently moist all the time. That may mean watering every 2-3 days or once a week depending on the environment you keep your fern. If you keep your fern in a more humid space, you may not need to water as frequently unlike if you kept it in a dryer area. I keep ferns in our full bathroom because the humidity from the shower helps keep the fern happy. Proper watering is a major key to keeping your fern alive, so set an alarm if you need to remember to water your ferns.
Ferns Love Humidity
If you want your fern to look beautiful and be healthy give it lots of humidity. Now humidity levels will vary depending on the type of fern, but try to keep the area at at least 40% humidity. No need to go overboard, just try to keep a balance of humidity and regular watering to keep your plant happy.
The Best Fern Tip
One great way to have some success with your ferns is if you know the exact variety, do research on where that plant is native, and then recreate those conditions as best as you can in your home.
Ferns are so beautiful and if you can successfully keep one happy indoors, give yourself a pat on the back because this is no easy task. If you are one who struggles with ferns, I hope these tips help you keep your fern baby alive.