What Is A Frosty Fern?
Frosty fern plants are commonly known as “frozen” or “iceberg” ferns. They are native to the arctic regions of North America and Europe. These plants grow in the snow covered ground at temperatures ranging from -30°C (-22°F) to -40°C (0°F). Their leaves turn white when they freeze over and thaw back out again. They have small green stems with yellow flowers. Some varieties have red berries which taste bitter.
Frosty ferns are cold hardy and can survive freezing temperatures down to -50°C (-10°F). However, they do not like wet conditions and will die if water is allowed to accumulate around them.
If frosty fern plants get too wet, their stem tips may break off completely.
How Do You Grow Frosty Fern Plants?
There are many ways to grow frosty ferns. There are two main types of frosty fern plants: those grown indoors and those grown outside. Both types require different care requirements. Frosty ferns grown inside need light, warmth, humidity and ventilation to thrive. Outside frosty ferns need sun, warmth, moisture and protection from extreme weather conditions such as windstorms or rain storms. Keep reading to learn more about frosty ferns and how to care for them.
How To Take Care Of Frosty Ferns
Indoor frosty ferns need a lot of light to grow properly. Without proper lighting, the plant’s leaves will turn yellow and fall off.
They prefer bright, direct sunlight at least six hours per day. However, they can survive with less light. If the plant does not receive enough light, its leaves will turn pale and the stems will become weak and thin.
Indoor frosty ferns do best in well ventilated rooms with neutral to dry climate. They must be kept away from air conditioners, furnaces, fireplaces and other appliances that produce heat or moisture.
Outside frosty ferns are best grown in shady areas that are protected from wind and rain. If they are grown in a container, the soil must be allowed to dry out before being watered again. If planted directly into the ground, frosty fern plants prefer damp soil.
How To Care For Frosty Ferns Outside
Outside frosty fern plants need full sun at least 6 hours per day with a maximum of 8 hours per day. These plants grow best in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 8.
They must be watered daily and fertilized every two weeks. Outside frosty ferns must be protected from wind and rain storms. They can be grown in a flower pot or in the ground.
Place the pot where it will get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. The plant must be positioned so that at least half of it will be shaded from the sun during the afternoon.
For example, place it near a wall or hedge where it can receive some shade from an overhead structure.
Frosty fern plants prefer soil that has a neutral to slightly acidic pH level (pH of 6 to 7.5).
The container should be at least 20 inches in diameter, but no more than 48 inches in diameter. If planting in the ground, the hole for the plant should be at least 12 inches across but no more than 18 inches across. Place a handful of all purpose fertilizer into the hole and mix it into the soil.
After the container has been prepared, dig an equally deep hole in the ground. The hole should be at least 12 inches across but no more than 18 inches across.
Carefully remove the frosty fern plant from its pot and place it into the hole. Gently fill soil in around the roots and lightly firm it. Water thoroughly.
Frosty fern plants prefer a soil that drains well but is not too porous. They should be watered thoroughly when the top inch of soil becomes dry.
If there is not enough rain in the area, they must be watered every 5 to 6 days. They must never be allowed to dry out completely or they will wilt and die.
Frosty fern plants prefer soil that is neutral to slightly acidic with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5.
Adding organic material such as peat, pearlite or compost to the soil before planting will help ensure that the soil remains at the right pH level. If the pH level is too high or too low, it can be chemically adjusted or amended with organic matter as needed. Fertilize the plant every 2 weeks during the growing season with a water soluble fertilizer that is high in nitrogen.
Frosty fern plants prefer cool temperatures and will only grow well where the temperature does not exceed 80 degrees. The best protection from the sun is to place them in partial or full shade.
During the fall months, frosty ferns must be protected from hard freezes. They will not survive temperatures below 40 degrees.
If the temperature is expected to fall below this level, the plants need to be removed from their current location and stored inside a dark cool place such as a garage or basement. They can also be taken indoors if there is enough bright light. Just be sure they are kept out of direct sun because this can cause them to sunburn and die.
Frosty ferns can be propagated in two ways: division or spores. In order to propagate a frosty fern plant, the root crown must be separated from the main plant and grown into a new plant.
Take the root crown with some roots on it and place it in a container filled with potting soil. Water it thoroughly and keep in a shady cool area with good air flow. It should take root within a month, at which point it can be transplanted into a new container. It will take a year for the plant to grow enough to produce the unique frosty fern air roots.
The second way to propagate frosty ferns is from spores, which form at the base of the plant in winter. These light brown clusters can be planted in a container or directly into soil and will slowly grow into new frosty fern plants.
These plants should begin to produce frosty fern air roots in 2 to 3 years.
Frosty fern plants produce pale lavender flowers during the summer months.
Sources & references used in this article:
Ruth Hall and Other Writings by F Fern – 1986 – books.google.com
The Gardeners Kalendar; Directing the Necessary Works to be Done Every Month… The Sixteenth Edition… To which is Prefixed, A Short Introduction to the … by J Weathers – 1901 – Longmans, Green
Wild Flowers: Where to Find, and how to Know Them: with Remarks on the Economical & Medicinal Uses of Our Native Plants by P Miller – 1775 – books.google.com
Wyman’s gardening encyclopedia by J Jackson – 1909 – Worcester Natural History Society