Growing Ferns Indoors

Ferns are relatively easy to grow; however, drafts, dry air and temperature extremes won’t help. Ferns that are pampered and protected from things like dry air and temperature extremes will reward you with lush green fronds all year round, beautifying your indoor garden more than you could imagine. Let’s learn more about growing ferns indoors.

Tips for Growing Ferns Indoors

There are a lot of species of tropical and subtropical ferns, but there are also a lot of ferns that are native to more temperate climates. These ferns would be well suited to cooler parts of the house but won’t survive in rooms that are too well heated. Tropical ferns survive best in homes with central heating. Below are recommend indoor conditions for optimal fern growth:


All ferns love moisture and should be given humid conditions. In living rooms and family rooms, stand their pots on trays of damp pebbles or clay granules. Ferns also love being misted at regular intervals with tepid, soft water unless the humidity of the whole room is kept high through the use of a humidifier.


You also need to provide the right compost. Most ferns are forest or woodland plants and have tender, delicate roots adapted to the light forest soil, which is rich in leaf mould and decayed vegetable matter. The right compost must be free draining so that the roots never get waterlogged. A compost that contains peat or a fibrous peat substitute with plenty of sand is best. The compost should never be allowed to dry out, which may mean watering the plant a little every single day in a warm, dry atmosphere.


Although most ferns grow in moist shady places like forest floors, this does not mean that they need no light. Their normal situation in the wild is dappled light, and if the light level in the home is too low, you will see poor growth and yellowing fronds. Give your ferns a position near a window that gets morning or late afternoon sun, and keep the ferns away from strong sunlight, especially during the summer. Direct sunlight will make them lose their leaves or turn their fronds yellow.

You can keep your ferns in dim light as long as you give them regular breaks in bright light. They can be given artificial light, but this should be from a special gardening bulb or a fluorescent strip. Ordinary light bulbs generate too much heat.


An individual fern’s place of origin and adaptability will determine how high or low temperature the fern needs. Most ferns don’t like cold. Those ferns from tropical regions truly appreciate 60-70 F (15-21 C.). Those from more temperate regions enjoy temperatures between 50-60 F. (10-16 C).


Feed your ferns in the summertime every two to four 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 occasionally for misting. Don’t feed your ferns in the winter because they rest. In order to keep the air around your ferns moist, mist them often.


You can repot your ferns in the springtime, but only if their roots are filling the pot. Otherwise, just scrape off the top layer of compost and replace it with fresh compost. Cut off any damaged fronds to encourage new growth.

When you repot your ferns, split them up and make two out of one. You can also grow new ferns from the powdery spores produced in little capsules. These capsules are visible as rows of rusty brown patches on the underside of the fronds. These will grow into a green film into which the fern will grow.

Indoor Fern Companions

Bromeliads are plants similar to the pineapple with a rosette of firm fleshy leaves. Some have a larger piece in the center or have plants with less form that wander without roots in the pot. The roots of a bromeliad are used simply for anchoring it to a support. They are not used for gathering nourishment. They make striking potted plants and also adapt well to hanging baskets.

There are also tillandsias. These grow well in pots and are great for hanging baskets because they have arching foliage and take their nourishment directly from their environment or air. They require very little water.

Keep in mind that bromeliads are tropical; they require warmer temperatures of 60-70 F. (15-21 C.) and some moisture. However, the tillandsias don’t require near as much moisture and you can actually grow them in shells, rocks and such.

Ferns, tillandsias and bromeliads are just as easy to grow as the palms, but be sure to pay attention to each of their needs.

Growing Fiddlehead Ferns: Organic Fiddleheads Farming in Home Garden

Growing fiddlehead ferns is becoming much popular day by day. And it’s gaining popularity both on restaurant menus and at farmer’s market.

Actually it has become such a popular seasonal crop among the chefs and other foodies that growing fiddlehead ferns on a commercial basis has become a very good investment.

Although this wonderful vegetable is not available year round, it’s only available for a few weeks in an entire year.

Fiddlehead ferns taste just wonderful. They are generally steamed lightly and served with butter.

The fiddlehead ferns are the furled fronds of a young fern which are harvested for using as vegetable.

It is also known by some other names such as Cinnamon fern, Lingri, Kasrod, Languda, Niyuro, Pako, Zenmai or simply Fiddleheads.

Each fiddlehead would unroll into a new frond if left on the plant. And they are cut fairly close to the ground, as the fiddlehead ferns are harvested early in the season before the frond has opened and reached it’s full height.

Fiddlehead ferns are full of nutrients. They have antioxidant activity and are a great source of omega-3 and omega-3 fatty acids.

They are high in dietary fiber and low in sodium. They are also a great source of vitamins A and C and some minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, niacin and iron.

Since the beginning of the Middle Ages, the fiddlehead ferns have been a part of traditional diets in much of Northern France, across Asia and also among Native Americans for centuries. They are also part of the diet in the Russian Far East.

However, growing fiddlehead ferns in your own home garden can be an excellent way for enjoying this wonderful vegetable. And one more thing ‘nothing is better than home grown vegetables’.

How to Care for an Air Fern

The air fern is not a fern at all, as the name implies. In fact, it is not even a plant. Although it looks like a fern and may even be dyed green, an air fern is really the remains of a sea creature called sertularia. This creature is related to coral, and its skeleton looks much like a fern. Air ferns are dredged from the sea, treated with chemicals and marketed as "plants" that don't need air or water. It's true the dead remains of the sertularia certainly don't need to be watered. In fact, if you water it, you may wash off the dye and cause it to begin to smell. Instead, care for your air fern in other ways.

  • The air fern is not a fern at all, as the name implies.
  • Although it looks like a fern and may even be dyed green, an air fern is really the remains of a sea creature called sertularia.

Air out the fern. Sea ferns are often enclosed in boxes for shipping. The chemicals used to treat the remains are quite odorous and the smell can become strong when the items are boxed up. Place the fern outside (where it will stay dry) and let the smell dissipate before displaying it.

Submerge your air fern in water immediately upon unpacking it if you are going to use it in an aquarium. In this case, you do not have to air out the air fern. Note that air ferns made for aquariums are treated differently than those that are not meant to get wet, so make sure your air fern is made for aquariums before you immerse it in water.

  • Sea ferns are often enclosed in boxes for shipping.
  • Note that air ferns made for aquariums are treated differently than those that are not meant to get wet, so make sure your air fern is made for aquariums before you immerse it in water.

Keep your air fern away from direct sunlight, which can bleach the dye out of the fronds and increase the potency of the sometimes unpleasant smell.

Check the air fern often for cobwebs and dust. Do not vacuum it, as the air fern is too delicate, but you can lightly dust it with a feather duster.

Air ferns can be used in aquariums or as part of a dried flower display. They are also often used to make fake bonsai trees. If you are using your air fern as part of a craft project but do not appreciate the smell, try adding a drop of scent to the item, or surrounding the completed project with scented pine cones or cedar chips.

How to Repot a Fern Plant with Rocks

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The fern group of plants encompasses several genera and thousands of flowerless species with delicate fronds and bright-green foliage. Ferns often grow in forests and woodlands. They perform well in containers indoors or outdoors but can become root-bound when left in their pots too long. When repotting a fern, increase its container size by about only 2 inches in diameter, and use fresh potting mix. Adding rocks to the container's bottom can increase soil drainage use a few small rocks or small gravel. Ferns often are grown as houseplants but can survive outdoors all year, depending on their variety and location. Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata), for example, is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8b through 11, and intermediate shield fern (Dryopteris intermedia and Dryopteris spinulosa var. intermedia) is hardy in zones 3 through 8.

Loosen the fern carefully in its current pot, using a gardening knife between the edge of the pot and its potting mix. Lift the plant out of the pot, grasping at the base of the stem and supporting the roots and soil from below.

Break up the potting mix around the fern's roots, exposing the roots.

Place about a 1-inch layer of small, smooth, round rocks or gravel evenly in the bottom of the plant's new pot, which has bottom drainage holes. Alternatively, place about a 1-inch layer of small rocks or gravel on a tray or saucer, and fill the tray or saucer with water. That water provides additional humidity for the fern.

Fill a container with equal portions of potting soil, peat moss and sand, creating a potting mix. Add to it 1 teaspoon of ground limestone per every 1 quart of the potting mix. Alternatively, make a potting mix that is one-half potting soil, one-quarter peat moss and one-quarter a combination of equal portions of sand, charcoal chips and manure. Add to that potting mix 1 teaspoon of ground limestone per every 1 gallon of the potting mix. Moisten either potting mix's ingredients slightly with water, and mix them well.

Put the potting mix in the fern's new pot, leaving enough space for the plant's roots. Place the fern in the pot, and cover the plant's root ball and base with the potting mix. Pack down the potting mix lightly.

Water the fern's potting mix until water drips through the bottom of the pot. Resume your normal care of the fern.

Watch the video: How to care for ferns indoors

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