There’s plenty to recommend indoor ferns. Their foliage is gorgeous, airy and light. They add a lush tropical feel to a room, and they are easy growers once their light and moisture needs are taken care of. Ferns look good in hanging baskets, especially in steamy bathrooms as well as in kitchens, near the kitchen sink or on a windowsill.
Does anyone use a bath anymore? Suspend an old ladder or a wooden frame about the bath and suspend hanging baskets of ferns and other moisture lovers like orchids and bromeliads. It looks so good, you’ll want to find a reason to soak in the bath, and the plants will love it. Ferns also like warm rooms and bright indirect light, but no direct sun, making them suitable for bedrooms, living rooms and even sheltered outdoor living areas.
Ferns are great groupies. They like being grown with other houseplants because it raises the humidity, and their graceful leaves contrast well with other indoor foliage plants like peace lilies, bromeliads and pilea.
5 tips for keeping your ferns happy.
- Bright indirect light is best, near an east or north facing window. Even a south facing window if the light is bring enough but a west facing window will be too hot.
- Keep the soil lightly moist, but not soggy. Push your finger into the soil and if it feels damp, wait for another day before watering. Don’t let the pots sit in the water.
- In very hot dry weather, mist the area around the ferns to increase humidity. Brown tips mean the plant is too dry.
- Ferns like good air circulation, but not drafts. In winter keep them away from cold windows.
- Feed with a diluted liquid fertilizer once a month in summer.
Try these: Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium)
The lower light levels and the extra humidity in the bathroom suit this fern, which produces lush yellowish-green fronds. It also cleans the air, releasing oxygen at night. Water once a week or every second week if the bathroom gets very steamy. Don’t water into the center of the fern, but instead water around it. A sign that your indoor plant is not receiving enough light could be darker green leaves. Mealie bug or scale could be an indication of insufficient watering.
Maidenhair fern (Adiantum)
This is a particularly beautiful fern for a container. As it grows, it fills out the container and its fronds cascade over the edge. it needs constant moisture and should not dry out completely. Misting the area will meet its need for humidity or put the fern on top of some pebbles in a tray or saucer filled with a little water. Don’t let the plant touch the water, as its root will rot.
Blue Star Fern (Phlebodium)
This is an easy growing, epiphytic fern with lobed, elongated fronds that are an unusual blue-green in color. Because it naturally grows in leaf-filled clefts of forest trees, this fern tolerates low light, likes plenty of moisture and relatively high humidity, making it suitable for hanging baskets or Kokodama. Water it once a week (less in winter), and let it drain well. Add a liquid food to the water once a month.
Rabbit’s foot Fern (Davalia Bullata)
The furry rhizomes that it develops on the surface of the soil resemble rabbit paws. The rhizomes absorb moisture and nutrients and should be kept moist. Displaying this fern in a hanging basket will show off the rhizomes.
Silver Ribbon fern (Pteris)
This is a low-maintenance fern with distinctive, silvery stripes on its fronds. They are pretty in pots or hanging baskets and grow in bright indirect light or light shade. Keep them looking neat by cutting off the dead fronds at the base. They work well in terrariums. www.lvgplant.co.za