Did you know ferns are a very ancient family of plants? Early fern fossils predate the beginning
of the Mesozoic era, 360 million years ago. They are older than land animals and far older
than the dinosaurs! They were thriving on Earth for two hundred million years before the flowering
plants evolved. Despite the venerable age of the group as a whole, most of the earliest ferns
have since gone extinct.
The diversity of ferns we see today evolved relatively recently in geologic time, many of them in only the last 70 million years.Most ferns are leafy plants that grow in moist areas under forest canopy. They are "vascular plants" with well-developed internal vein structures that promote the flow of water and nutrients. Unlike other vascular plants, ferns reproduce from spores and an intermediate plant stage called a gametophyte.
See below for general care of your fern. Click the tags to see specific care of fern you own!
TYPES OF FERNS
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:
Humidity: 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.
Compost/Soil: 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.
Light: 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.
Temperature: 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).
Fertilizer 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. Always follow the directions on your fertilizer label.
Repotting: 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.
While some ferns can only be grown in terrariums, the Boston fern is hearty enough to be brought back from what looks like near death!
The Boston displays beautiful fronds that arch quite nicely. Compared to most other ferns your going to find this plant a lot easier to care for in regards to light and humidity levels.
The Boston fern arch over and grow up to about 3 ft long. How you display your plant will depend on it's size. The Boston fern is usually placed in a hanging basket when it's fronds are over a foot or so long. This allows the fronds to arch over and hang boldly and brightly. Another great way to display a mature plant is to place it potted on a pedestal stand allowing the fronds to hang. A small plant can be placed near a windowsill in a normal pot.
Bathrooms are an ideal location to place this fern. This is because of the higher humidity levels provided from the water and condensation within the bathroom.
The ideal room temperatures for Boston ferns is between 60-75ºF (16-24ºC). No lower than 55ºF (13ºC). Avoid warm air from indoor heating and cold drafts.
SOIL & WATER
Peat moss potting soil mixes are best. Or find an all purpose soil and add perlite. The soil needs to be able to retain some water but also have the ability to drain fairly well. Too much peat moss then water can become clogged and too much perlite with all-purpose will drain too quickly. The Boston Fern does not like soggy soil. Keep the soil moist at all times, but never over saturated or soggy.
A balanced fertilizer diluted given to the plant every 2 weeks will be quite beneficial. Feritilze from April - Sept. If you have repotted or changed soil, don't fertilize for one month afterwards.
As with all ferns, the Boston fern prefers fairly high humidity levels. This fern however, is slightly more resilient and can tolerate lower levels. If you need to increase the humidity levels try placing the fern in the washroom or us a room humidifier. This fern cannot be placed in a tray so stay away from increasing humidity that way.