Ferns are some of the most diverse and oldest plants on the planet, existing in almost every habitat and having been around since long before the dinosaurs ever came to be. Their existence even before flowering plants has given them a unique look and character that any garden could enjoy.
The difficulty with ferns is working out how to take care of them, as they are very different from most plants we have today.
One of the key problems is knowing when to water them and when to stop. In this article, we will explore these unique little plants and the right way to take care of them.
When To Water Ferns?
The most common place to find ferns is in areas with lots of water, from tropical rainforests to the British Isles to even the rolling slopes of New Zealand, any area with vast quantities of water is likely to have ferns.
The constant flow of water in these areas make rainfall and humidity a fern’s best friend, but be careful as once you give a fern too much water, it becomes difficult to revive. Therefore, the general advice on when to water ferns is once a week, depending on rain and temperature.
However, this can also be affected by your fern being an indoor or outdoor plant, the temperature outside or in your home, and the weather. As such, it is good to explore these options before deciding on how to treat your fern.
Having ferns indoors is a great way to brighten up the room. The rolling leaves clustered together bring life into the home, however they also require constant monitoring due to how most of us keep our homes.
We generally keep our homes less humid than the outside world and, since ferns love water, this isn’t in the plants best interest. If your home is too dry, the plant may evaporate too much moisture, and this can be disastrous.
Make sure you water your fern more frequently if your house is less humid, or you regularly have the temperature above 75 degrees. A trick to keep the plant moist is to spray the leaves with water once a day to simulate a humid environment.
This plant needs to be in moist soil as well, not soggy or soaked, but moist. To check this, stick a finger into the plant’s soil, up to about two centimeters and if it is still moist that far down then the plant shouldn’t need water. If it is not moist, water the fern immediately. With all these conditions met, you should only need to water your fern every 6 to 10 days.
With outdoor ferns, they can be a little trickier to manage. This is due to the fact that inside your home, a lot of the time you control the temperature and the humidity. In the garden, though, there are only certain things that you can control, and the rest is dictated by the climate and weather.
To break this down, we will investigate two sections for the outside: soil quality and weather. First, soil quality. Your soil depends heavily on how your plant will grow. Some soils drain water very quickly, some drain them very slowly, some have lots of nutrients, while others have none.
As such, soil needs to be looked at closely, especially with a water loving plant like fern. In slow draining soils, like clay for instance, if you have no rain, you only need to water once every two weeks.
In fast draining soils, such as sandy soils, you will need to water the fern every week or more if needed, even with rain. This is due to how quickly water dissipates from this soil, something the fern does not like.
Second is the weather and the most hated weather of the fern is a hot and dry day. Ferns need moist weather to keep going and, if they don’t get that, they can wither and die.
If it has not rained in 5 days and up to a week, check on your ferns, and it is probably best to give them a water as well. If it is hot and dry, water your plants every couple of days to make sure they are fine. Depending on how large the plant is, as well, you may need to give it more water.
For most plants, 1 or 2 galleons should sate it, but if the bush is big, consider giving it more. As before, if the weather is over 75 degrees, consider giving the fern more water. However, if it is below 60 degrees, you can afford to water the plant less often, as less water is being evaporated.
The best way to measure the ferns’ need for water is the same as the indoor plants, check the ground with your finger and constantly monitor its need for water. The best time to water ferns is in the morning.
This is the case with most plants, but with ferns it is especially important as they have an incessant need for water. As the day goes on and gets hotter, the water evaporation might make your fern struggle to absorb moisture, and you may find yourself checking them more frequently than usual.
Ferns are not the most difficult plant to take care of or even that difficult at all once you think about it, but the problem with ferns lies in their different needs to other plants. Their need for water more than sunlight makes and their loathing of hot weather may perplex a wary gardener.
Yet, with time, care, and most importantly water, they are a wonderful group of plants that brightens any garden or home, while maintaining a certain wonder you can only get when looking at these forest plants.
For me, having them in my home makes me feel like I’ve been transported back to a different era, and that’s all the reason I need to have them.