How do you plant interrupted ferns?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

To plant interrupted ferns, you will first need to select a suitable location that meets their preferred growing conditions. As mentioned earlier, interrupted ferns thrive in areas with filtered sunlight, moist conditions, and slightly acidic sandy loam soils.

1. Site Selection: Look for a spot in your garden or landscape that receives partial shade throughout the day. This can be achieved by planting the ferns under the shade of trees or near structures that provide some protection from direct sunlight.

2. Soil Preparation: Before planting, it is important to prepare the soil properly. Start by removing any weeds or grass from the planting area. Then, loosen the soil using a garden fork or tiller to a depth of about 8-10 inches. This will help improve drainage and allow the ferns’ roots to penetrate easily.

3. Soil Amendments: While interrupted ferns can tolerate a variety of soil types, they prefer sandy loam soils that are slightly acidic. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, you can improve its texture by adding organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure. This will also help increase the soil’s ability to retain moisture. Additionally, if your soil is alkaline, you can lower its pH by incorporating peat moss or sulfur.

4. Planting: Once the soil is prepared, dig a hole that is slightly larger than the root ball of the fern. Place the fern in the hole, ensuring that the crown (where the roots meet the fronds) sits at or slightly above the soil surface. Gently backfill the hole with soil, firming it around the roots to eliminate any air pockets.

5. Watering: After planting, give the fern a thorough watering to settle the soil and ensure good root-to-soil contact. From there on, it is important to keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged. Interrupted ferns have a high water requirement, so regular watering, especially during dry periods, is crucial for their health and growth.

6. Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the fern to help retain moisture, suppress weed growth, and provide some insulation to the soil. Avoid piling the mulch against the fern’s crown to prevent rot.

7. Maintenance: Interrupted ferns are relatively low-maintenance plants. However, they benefit from regular fertilization with a balanced fertilizer, such as a slow-release granular fertilizer, applied according to the package instructions. Remove any dead fronds in early spring before new growth emerges to keep the plant tidy.

8. Protection: consider the site’s exposure to prevailing winds. Interrupted ferns are sensitive to drying out, so if your planting location is prone to strong winds, it is advisable to provide some protection, such as using windbreaks or situating the ferns in a more sheltered area.

In summary, to successfully plant interrupted ferns, choose a site with filtered sunlight, moist conditions, and slightly acidic sandy loam soils. Prepare the soil by removing weeds, improving its texture, and adjusting its pH if necessary. Plant the ferns at the appropriate depth, water thoroughly, and maintain consistent moisture levels. Apply mulch, provide regular fertilization, and protect the ferns from drying winds. With proper care, your interrupted ferns should thrive and add beauty to your garden or landscape.