Indoor Fern Care
Pteridomania (Fern Fever) seems to have returned with the recent boom in indoor plant popularity. Ferns can be seen on every corner, but somehow they still carry the reputation of being hard to keep alive. Ferns are definitely not invincible but sticking to the following few guidelines can make sure your ferns thrive for many years.
Since ferns are typically known to come from dark jungle floors, it would follow that your indoor fern would thrive in the darkest corner of the room. This is not the case. In the wild, ferns get dappled light, so will struggle without a good amount of light in your home. Avoid direct sunlight to prevent burnt leaves. Avoid placing near drafts or aircon as that tends to dry them out quickly and prevent the humid environment that ferns desperately need. .
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Ferns love moisture and need a humid environment to thrive. Bathrooms and kitchens are therefore perfect, but there are a few ways to increase the humidity yourself. Instead of investing in a humidifier (unless you already own one), place your fern on a tray filled with pebbles and fill with water to create a humid environment around the plant. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the pot, as ferns do not like sitting in water. Alternatively, place your fern in a spot you pass often and leave a decorative misting bottle nearby to quickly spray once every day or two.
Ferns need to be watered often as they like moisture, but be sure not to overwater or leave the pot sitting in water or the roots will rot. In summer, water thoroughly every 3 – 5 days and every 7 – 10 days in winter. To avoid forgetting to water your ferns, place them near a sink and quickly run the pot under some water after washing the dishes or brushing your teeth. When using a watering can, make sure to get through the bushy leaves to the soil to soak it.
Feed your ferns liquid fertiliser every two weeks by adding fertiliser to your watering can according to package instructions, and watering normally.
Dust off the leaves often by running them under the shower or wiping them down to keep them clean and clear the soil of any debris or dead leaves.
Regularly remove any dead leaves to promote new growth, and if the fern is really struggling, cut back all the leaves to the same height to keep the new growth uniform.
Join in the Fern Fever this year by collecting a few, mastering fern care, and perhaps attempting to grow a few of your own. Look out for these ferns at your local garden centre:
Asparagus plumosa (asparagus fern)
Asplenium nidus (bird’s nest fern)
Adiantum (maindenhair fern)
Pteris cretica (ribbon fern)
Davalia fejeensis (rabbit’s foot fern)
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