Ferns grow best when given the right balance of elements such as light water and soil

Ferns are a diverse group of vascular plants that are characterized by their unique leaf structures, called fronds. They are an ancient group of plants, with fossil records dating back over 360 million years.

Ferns are known for their ability to thrive in a variety of environments, but some species are more particular about their growing conditions than others. So, knowing where ferns grow best and what aids their growth are listed below.

In this blog post, we will explore the various factors that influence where ferns grow best, including light, humidity, temperature, and soil type.

Light

One of the most important factors that determine where ferns will grow best is the amount of light they receive. Ferns can be classified as either low-light or high-light plants, depending on their light requirements.

Low-light ferns are typically found in shady environments, such as forests or under the canopy of larger plants. These ferns are adapted to thrive in low light conditions, and they often have large, leathery fronds to help them absorb as much light as possible. Some examples of low-light ferns include the Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and the bird’s nest fern (Asplenium nidus).

High-light ferns, on the other hand, are more adapted to sunny environments and require more light to thrive. These ferns often have smaller, more delicate fronds, as they do not need to absorb as much light as low-light ferns.

Some examples of high-light ferns include the Venus hair fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris) and the staghorn fern (Platycerium spp.).

It is important to note that while ferns can adapt to a wide range of light conditions, they will generally grow best when they receive the appropriate amount of light for their specific needs. Too much or too little light can cause ferns to become stressed and may lead to problems with growth and health.

Ferns can consume many elements in the garden including benches and other plants
Ferns can consume many elements in the garden including benches and other plants

Humidity

Ferns are often associated with humid environments, and many species do prefer high levels of humidity to thrive. Ferns are adapted to absorb moisture from the air through their fronds, and they often have thick, fleshy leaves to help them retain water.

However, not all ferns require high humidity to grow well. Some species, such as the deer fern (Blechnum spicant) and the shield fern (Polystichum spp.), are more tolerant of dry conditions and can survive in environments with lower humidity levels.

If you are growing ferns in a low-humidity environment, it is important to provide additional moisture to the plants through regular watering and misting. Using a humidifier or placing the ferns on a tray filled with pebbles and water can also help to increase the humidity around the plants.

Temperature

Ferns are found in a wide range of climates, from tropical rainforests to temperate woodlands. The specific temperature requirements of a fern will depend on its native habitat and the conditions it is adapted.

Most ferns prefer moderate temperatures and do not tolerate extreme heat or cold. In general, ferns grow best when the daytime temperatures are between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (16-24 degrees Celsius) and the nighttime temperatures are between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit (10-18 degrees Celsius).

If you are growing ferns in an area with extreme temperatures, it is important to provide additional protection to the plants. This can include shading them from intense sunlight or insulating them from cold temperatures with blankets or other protective materials.

A scenery view of small plants of ferns and mosses grown on rocks and soil
A scenery view of small plants of ferns and mosses growing on rocks and soil

Soil Type

Ferns are generally not particular when it comes to soil type, as long as the soil is well-draining and rich in organic matter. Sandy or loamy soils with plenty of compost or manure added are usually ideal for fern growth.

It is also important to make sure that the soil pH level is within the acceptable range for ferns, which is typically between 5.0 and 7.5. If you are unsure of your soil’s pH level, you can purchase a simple testing kit from any garden centre or online store.

By understanding these key factors that influence where ferns will grow best, you can ensure that your plants remain happy and healthy for many years to come.

Fertilization

Ferns are relatively low-maintenance plants and do not require frequent fertilization. However, feeding the plants with a slow-release fertilizer every few months can help to promote growth and maintain healthy foliage.

It is important to use a fertilizer specifically formulated for ferns, as other types of fertilizers may be too strong or contain nutrients that are not beneficial for these delicate plants.

When applying fertilizer, it is best to follow the instructions on the package and only apply the recommended amount for your specific type of fern. Applying too much fertilizer can cause problems with root burn or leaf burn, so take care to avoid overfertilizing your plants.

Nicely built garden with beautiful ferns and bamboos in the botanical garden
Nicely built garden with beautiful ferns and bamboos in the botanical garden

Pruning

Ferns are usually quite self-sufficient and rarely require pruning. However, if the plants become overly large or unruly, you may need to trim them back to keep them in shape. It is also important to remove any dead or damaged fronds from the fern whenever they appear.

When pruning a fern, it is best to use sharp pruning shears and make sure that all cuts are made at an angle just above a leaf node. This will help ensure that the plant is able to quickly heal itself after being pruned.

In conclusion

By taking into account these key factors for fern care, you can be sure that your plants remain healthy and thriving within your dedicated area of the garden for many years.