Ferns Aftercare Advice
Ferns make a striking addition to your garden. Ferns require little care once they're established. Carefully choose your site and soil. Here's a guide to give your ferns a healthy growth start.
Sun exposure: Full Sun to Semi-shade to Shade
Please check your fern variety for the exact sun needs. Some ferns can handle shade, but others prefer a sunnier site.
Soil: organic, well-drained soil
Ferns appreciate porous, organic soil. Enrich your soil by working in organic matter such as compost, pine bark or perlite. Make sure the soil is moist and well-drained. Avoid root rot with good drainage.
Water needs: Medium
Ferns require regular watering and love a humid soil, without getting water-logged. Keep the soil moist by a layer of mulch. Some ferns prefer the soil to dry out slightly between waterings, but be aware that no ferns like completely dried-out soils.
How to take care of Ferns
Ferns are suitable in hanging baskets and as groundcovers and add a tropical touch to your garden. Ferns require little care as long as the ground is moist. The best time to plant ferns is in early spring, after the last frost.
To grow outdoor ferns in pots or the garden, you want to be sure to meet their natural requirements. Most ferns thrive best in partial to full shade conditions. We recommend choosing a shady location in your garden.
Whether you’re planting ferns directly in the ground or a hanging basket, you should prepare the soil. Ferns like to be planted in moist, slightly acidic soil. In their natural environment, most ferns grow in humid forests. It’s essential to provide ferns with continuously moist soil. Only when ferns become fully grown they can handle some drought. Cover the earth with a two-inch layer of organic mulch such as pine bark or leaf mould. This will maintain the moisture and keep the temperature cool and suppress weed growth.
If you’re planting a fern directly in the ground, pick a site that’s in the shade and kept moist at any time. Dig a hole as deep as the fern’s root ball and twice as wide—space ferns at least two feet apart from each other.
If you’re planting ferns into containers, make sure you pick a container that’s no deeper than 15 centimetres. Shallow containers keep the soil moist. Choose a container that’s large enough to provide the fern’s rootball with enough growing space, but not too large, because it will be hard to maintain the moisture level that your fern needs.
Ferns require moist soil at any time. If nature doesn’t furnish enough rain weekly, watering is necessary to maintain growth. Especially during the first growing season, humid soil is essential. Avoid the earth from drying out without the ground becoming soggy. As long as the soil is well-drained, wet roots won’t happen.
Spread a few inches of organic compost on the soil’s surface to enrich the ground. This will help jumpstart your fern’s growth. Many ferns don’t need fertilizer, but you can try using a slow-release fertilizer in spring if you want to increase growth.
Different fern species need other pruning, but most of all, you can prune ferns in early spring before new growth begins. Trim your fern into the shape of your choice by trimming around the edges. Cut back old foliage and dead branches—shear off the dead fronds near the crown to make your plant healthier and prettier. Avoid pruning right before winter, considering your fern won’t survive the cold.
Pests and Diseases ferns
Luckily, ferns aren’t bothered much by pests and diseases compared to most other garden plants. Harm can be done to your fern’s beloved feathery leaves is by snails, slugs and caterpillars. To deter them, try creating a barrier of sharp gravel around your ferns using, e.g. crushed eggshells.