How to care
for your Fern
You’re going to want to pay your respect to Ferns – they’re one of the oldest plants in the world. 300 million years, to be exact. Possibly to your surprise, Ferns are not just tropical-loving plants. There are 12,000 species of Ferns out there growing in all sorts of climates that range from 2 inches tall to 30 feet high – nearly the height of a 3-story home! Ferns are very popular houseplants since they’re relatively easy to grow and their delicate-looking, lace-like foliage – known as fronds – are as inviting as those metal arms of a scalp massager you want to your head up against. While there are a lot of Fern varietals out there, they do all share one thing in common: humidity. Humidity is essential to the wellbeing of your Fern – if you have a particularly dry home then you may want to just look at the Fern and not take one home.
Care Level : Beginner, Expert or Somewhere in the middle.
As long as you have the humidity to support a Fern, they’re quite easy to take care of. They’re an excellent house plant for beginners.
Most Fern varietals do well in medium to bright, indirect light. The more light Ferns receive, the more moisture they’ll crave. Only a few Fern species – such as the Ostritch Fern (Matteucia struthiopteris) can tolerate dry, hot and sunny locations. Most cannot and any direct sun will cause their leaves to burn yellow.
Ferns like to live in moist soil – but it shouldn’t be wet or soggy. Like other houseplants, if they get waterlogged, Ferns can be prone to root rot. We suggest you give your Fern a 2-inch-thick layer of mulch to keep its roots cool and damp. Drive your finger or stick to see if the top 2” of the soil is dry to determine whether it needs a watering.
Like we mentioned above – Ferns need humidity to thrive. They love moisture and should be placed in humid conditions. Mist your ferns often – preferably every morning – to give it the moisture it’ll crave. If you have a humidifier, you can skip the misting, but we still recommend you keep their pots on top of a tray with pebbles submerged in water to bring their humidity up.
Most Ferns do not like cold temperatures. If you have a tropical fern, they’ll thrive in 15-21°C degrees – if you have a fern that is native to more temperate regions, they can do well in 10-16°C.
Most Ferns are highly toxic to pets and children, but if you’re looking for one that is non-toxic to Duckie, Peewee or Butcher, then the Boston Fern is the one you’ll want. Just note that cats love to take paw swings at a Boston Fern’s fronds as if it’s a punching bag.
Blue Star Fern
Boston Fern aka Sword Fern
Other fun facts:
- Fossil fuels (coal and natural oils) created during the Carboniferous period (60 million years ago) mostly came from Ferns. Good thing there wasn’t a Carbon tax back then.
- Ferns are able to absorb nitrogen from the air – farmers to this day use ferns as natural fertilizers on the rice fields.
- Some types of ferns can live up to 100 years – take that, Betty White!
- Zach Galifianakis, a comedian, hosts a famous talk show called “Between Two Ferns” where he interviews celebrities while sitting between two potted ferns. That’s it. That’s the fun fact.
- In the iconic movie, How to lose a guy in 10 days, Kate Hudson’s character overreacts over a dead Fern Plant she gives Matthew McConaughey’s character. She says “Oh no, our love fern! It’s dead!” to which he replies, “No, honey. It’s just sleeping.” If only we could say that about plants! Truly though, if Matthew McConaughey was a plant, it does feel like a Fern would be quite fitting.
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