Houseplant of the Week: Ferns!

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Ferns are typically underrated, and we think we know who’s to blame: yuppies.

A long time ago, in an attempt to cater to the wave of young urban professionals, lots of bars decided to go upscale. They installed better lighting, started offering fancier expensive drinks and added a lot of plants, mostly ferns, to their decor. The term “fern bar” was coined – and for many who missed the shot-and-a-beer vibe of their local watering hole, it wasn’t meant as a compliment.

But the haters don’t appreciate how versatile, easy to maintain and just plain luscious ferns are. And they seem to come in endless varieties. There’s the Western Sword with its layers of fronds coming up to a point like a sword; the Asparagus Fern, with its airy, delicate appearance and the Crocodile Fern with its scaly textured leaves. Not to mention the Birds Nest Fern, the Lady Fern, the Eagle Fern, and the Ostrich Fern (there’s a lot of ferns named after animals, aren’t there?) 

Caring for Your Fern 

  • Light: Ferns grow in the wild on forest floors where there’s a lot of shade, but this doesn’t mean that your houseplant has to be in a dark corner. So give your fern some morning or late afternoon sun, similar to the dappled light it would experience in the wild. No direct sunlight, however; that will make them lose their leaves or turn the fronds yellow.
  • Water: Ferns like moisture, so stand their pots on trays of damp pebbles and mist them regularly unless you are using a humidifier in the room, in which case that should be enough humidity for them.
  • Fertilizer: During the summer, feed your ferns every two to four weeks (dilute the strength because ferns have delicate root systems, and full strength will scorch them). Stop feeding in winter, while the plant is “resting.”