Fertilizing Indoor Ferns – How To Feed Your Indoor Potted Ferns
In this article we will share some tips and tricks which are helpful for feeding your indoor potted ferns. You may want to read our other articles about how to feed your indoor plants.
How to Feed Your Plants Indoors?
We have already discussed several times how to feed your plants indoors. We have also described different types of soil and water requirements for your indoor plants. In this article we will talk about another type of plant food: BERRY! (Berries) or in other words, ferns! And here’s why…
You may wonder if it is possible to grow ferns without any kind of fertilizer at all. Yes, it is possible! But it requires special conditions.
The most common problem with growing ferns indoors is that they don’t like too much light. If you want them to grow up to their full potential, then you need to provide enough light for them. There are many ways of doing this; one way being to use fluorescent lights.
Fluorescent lights produce heat which makes your plants uncomfortable and eventually kills them. An easy way of avoiding this problem is to place the ferns very close to the lights.
If you decide to grow them in your window, for instance, then you need to make sure they are not getting too much light in the afternoon. Otherwise, you should consider covering the window with curtains for a while during the day.
If you prefer artificial lighting for your plants, then try placing them as close to it as possible.
Watering your ferns could be tricky. Sometimes even moisture can cause root diseases and rot, so it is important to use the right technique. First, only water the roots and not the leaves.
Second, the soil should be moist, not wet. Moist means that you should be able to squeeze some water out of it. If it clings to your fingers, then you know that the soil is too wet. This is why it is best to use a soil mix which holds some water, for instance, sand and perlite or vermiculite.
You can read more about watering your plants in this article: How To Water Indoor Plants
To summarize, in order to grow ferns without any fertilizer at all, you should use fluorescent lights, place them as close to the light source as possible, and cover your window with curtains. When watering, make sure not to water the leaves.
How to Feed Your Ferns?
You should feed your ferns every now and then with a balanced fertilizer (5-5-5) at half the recommended strength. You can also use a liquid fertilizer, but make sure not to overdo it; too much fertilizer can be just as bad as too little. Other than that, the most important thing is to be patient. Don’t expect your ferns to grow too much; in fact, they might even start to look unhealthy at first. However, if you take good care of them, they will reward you with beautiful lush leaves and maybe tiny little fiddleheads at some point!
Here are some ferns that grow well indoors:
Adiantum (Maidens Hair)
Adiantum is a type of fern which can grow very high if planted outside (up to 10 feet). However, when growing indoors, it rarely grows over 12 inches. It has beautiful lacy leaves and is very easy to take care of.
It prefers more shade and should be kept away from direct sun light. You can find it here.
Asplenium Nidus (Bird Nest Fern)
This is a very popular fern which, as its name suggests, looks just like a bird’s nest. It is one of the easier ferns to grow and has rounded leaves which resemble little green balloons. It prefers more shade and can be found here.
Pteris Australis (Ribbon Fern)
This fern is one of the most popular ones and grows very well indoors. It has long thin leaves which grow in a spiral pattern. The most amazing thing about this fern is that it can grow up to three feet tall!
It prefers more shade and is available here.
You can see all types of ferns here.
More Reader’s Thoughts on Ferns as Houseplants
I have had good luck with the following: Adiantum hispidum (devils fishing rod), Pteris cretica (Zulu Fern), and Polypodium species (Polypody). Especially the last, but it is very slow growing. I’ve also heard good things about Pellaea and Phegopteris species (both are types of ferns).
I would not recommend most other common houseplants, such as the various palms, Ficus, etc. They may be quicker and easier to grow, but they don’t have the beauty or uniqueness of a fern. – Heather
I have a Phalenopsis (moth orchid), Cymbidium (round leafed) orchid and a bunch of hardy ferns on my balcony. All in all, the ferns take least amount of attention – they don’t need repotting every year – and give me great joy! I water them once every three/four weeks and that’s it!
(The orchids are a little more high maintenance).Great for forgetful types like me! 🙂 – Rose
I have a number of different kinds of ferns, and they all make great houseplants. I have had luck with Adiantum, Asplenium, and Polypodium (the Ostrich fern) ferns–all seem to do well even with minimal care. As long as they are in a well-draining pot and aren’t overwatered, they should be fine.
The Adiantum ferns are especially good because they have tiny little leaves that don’t get all mushy when you water them too much! The trick is, most ferns like shade to indirect sun (at least 4 hours of sun a day). If you have a south facing window, that would probably be the brightest location for your ferns. Be careful not to put them too close to a draft, though! Oh, and don’t skimp on the fertilizer–ferns need a little more than your average plant. – Jennifer
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Sources & references used in this article:
Plants and soil microorganisms: removal of formaldehyde, xylene, and ammonia from the indoor environment by BC Wolverton, JD Wolverton – Journal of the …, 1993 – wolvertonenvironmental.com
Lighting Indoor Houseplants (2002) by DH Trinklein – Extension publications (MU), 2002 – mospace.umsystem.edu
Ability of artificial and live houseplants to capture indoor particulate matter by BW Ellis, FM Bradley, H Atthowe – 1996 – books.google.com
Using houseplants to clean indoor air by S Panyametheekul, T Rattanapun… – Indoor and Built …, 2018 – journals.sagepub.com
Growing indoor plants with success by KD Kobayashi, AJ Kaufman, J Griffis, J McConnell – 2007 – scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu
Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: The Indispensable Green Resource for Every Gardener by SV Pennisi – 2009 – athenaeum.libs.uga.edu