Why and How We Design with Ferns + 3 Tips for Success

Ferns’ cascading green fronds transport us to the cool, moist air and dappled sunlight of the forest floor, their natural habitat. Paying homage to these growing conditions—and replicating them as much as possible yourself—will help this timeless classic thrive inside your home and around your yard.

Indoor Spaces
We love incorporating ferns into home decor for their whimsical shape, texture, fresh green hue, versatility and air-filtering capabilities. Since we know they thrive in shady to sun-dappled, moist environments, try hanging a fern basket from the ceiling in a bathroom or laundry room, perch them on a pedestal or shelf nestled with baskets and canisters, set them in a large piece of pottery or tuck them in a planter to fill a corner or add texture to a blank wall. If your indoor spaces don’t support the needs of the traditional Boston Fern, try a variation such as Mother’s Fern, which doesn’t require humidity. You can also try something fern-like, such as the Fern Leaf Cactus or the ZZ plant.

Outdoor Spaces
Boston Ferns’ voluminous green-glow can be used seasonally here in New England for spring, summer and fall farmer’s or side porches, covered overhangs or shady back steps that often serve as a homeowner’s landscaping challenge. Hang them in a series for impact, drop them into pots and simply remove the hanger or use them in multiples to fill shady or sun-dappled window boxes.

Pointers for Fern Success
A few pointers to enjoy ferns in your spaces:

1. Ensure Proper Light
Ferns thrive in medium to bright, indirect sunlight. If used inside the house, look to an east-facing window, or a south-facing window with a light-filtering sheer curtain. A few hours of morning sunlight or filtered light throughout the day provide an ideal scenario. If your indoor space gets scorched by afternoon sun, it’s best to steer toward a fernlike (or other) sun-loving variety, such as the Fern Leaf cactus or the ZZ plant. Outdoors, opt for full or partial shade spaces.

2. Water Regularly
Maintaining consistently moist soil is essential to keeping your fern fronds healthy and full. Opt for fool-proof self-watering containers next to walkways or doors, or if adding ferns in hanging baskets, remember that baskets dry out quickly and may need more frequent watering. We recommend adding moss to pots to help yours maintain moisture. Aim for damp, but not wet.

3. Fertilize Every 6 weeks
Though the forest floor is abundant in organic matter and food, it’s important not to over-fertilize ferns. Look to a liquid fertilizer, such as Plant Magic in 4-6 week increments or a more temperature- and time-release fertilizer such as Osmocote.

As always, we’re here if you have any questions during your growing journey.



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