What do you know about ferns? I just bought one in a hanging container – how can I keep it healthy?
– Fern Lady
You probably purchased the most common fern, the Nephrolepis Exaltata. Gezundheit.
These full lush ferns are also known as the Boston fern, but anyway – I’m thrilled you asked because I’m something of a fern expert.
DO NOT purchase this plant at the beginning of the summer and keep it in its rootbound plastic Home Depot container with the orange price tag still visible and hang it near your front steps and completely forget to water it only to occasionally place it in the middle of your front lawn and water the bejesus out of it with a powerful garden hose that could put out an apartment house fire and then as the temperature drops and the first snow falls on your fern suddenly decide you want it to winter on your back porch so it can drop all of its fronds onto the pile of old newspapers.
* Use a loose potting mix in a container with many drainage holes
* Place in indirect sunlight in a cool but humid location
* Water frequently to promote moist but not sopping soil
* Use distilled water and not tap water with its harmful chlorine additive
* Mist occasionally
* Fertilize once a month with a high nitrogen fertilizer
* Operate a humidifier near the plant when growing indoors
* Mix Epsom salts into the distilled water twice a year to keep the fern rich and green
* Remove all dry and brown leaves to allow new healthy growth
* Watch for aphids, mealy bugs, thrips, and scale. Also pill bugs, sow bugs, slugs and snails.
* Return your fern to the store and buy a hanging plant that is a million times less fussy, like the Chlorophytum Comosum. God Bless You.