Ferns have 3 priorities in the garden
Ferns need protection from the midday and afternoon sun. Ideal situations are full shade, filtered sun or morning sun only… even south or east facing aspects are ideal. Choose a location in your garden that is shaded from the afternoon sun.
2. Protection from wind
Ferns are prone to the drying nature of wind and the damage it can cause on delicate fronds. Areas protected from strong winds will produce the best results.
3. Water – moist soil
Ferns need moist soil, although some ferns can be tough once established. A generous watering weekly or a sprinkling a couple of times a week will help ferns establish quickly and thrive. Ferns can respond swiftly to water… with new fronds unfurling within week of good rainfall in summer. Often south facing sites can be naturally more moist than other areas in the garden.
Planting Ferns in the Garden
Success depends on selection – the right location, the right soil, the right fern species and the right conditions.
Small to medium ferns look best and grow most successfully when grouped close together and used as underplantings under large tree ferns or other garden specimens.
Prepare the holes for planting… larger than the pot the fern came in. Back fill with loose soil, humus, compost or potting mix.
Place the fern in the hole making sure the crown of the plant is just level with the top of the new soil. Do not bury the new shoots of the fern under the soil.
After planting, water it in well. Add mulch.
Watering your Fern Garden
Ferns need regular watering that can be achieved by sprinklers or light duty low pressure system (misters or drippers).
Mulching helps to reduce the need for frequent watering.
Indications that your Ferns are Thriving
1. New shoots (crosiers) being formed and unfurling to form adult fronds.
2. Plants should be a good solid green colour with leaves upright and with a glossy sheen to them.
Indications that your Ferms are under Stress
1. Leaves drooping
2. Leaves lacking lustre or gloss
3. Leaves browning on tips or edges
4. No new shoots being formed regularly
Most common Pests of Ferns in the Garden
Snails and Slugs – chewed leaves, lack of new shoots, and slug sliding markings are evidence of slug and snail activity on ferns. Apply small amounts of snail bait around ferns on a regular basis.
Fertiliser Requirements of Garden Ferns
Ferns like well completed old organic fertilisers in small doses.
Also liquid fertilisers at ½ strength can be used. Only fertiliser plants after they have been well watered.