How do you winterize fern plants?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

To properly winterize fern plants, there are a few key steps that you should follow. Before bringing your fern indoors, it is important to allow the plant to dry out. This means withholding water for a period of time to ensure that the plant is not overly moist when brought indoors. This helps to prevent rot and fungal issues during the winter months.

Once the fern has dried out, it is time to choose a suitable location for winter storage. A cool area such as a basement or garage works well for this purpose. It is important to keep the fern away from direct sunlight, as this can cause the plant to become too warm and disrupt its dormancy.

During the winter months, ferns enter a period of dormancy where their growth slows down significantly. As a result, they require very little water. In fact, overwatering during this time can be detrimental to the plant’s health. It is recommended to water your fern only once a month during the winter season. This minimal watering helps to prevent the plant from becoming too waterlogged and encourages it to remain in its dormant state.

To further protect your fern during the winter, you may consider placing a layer of mulch around the base of the plant. This can help to insulate the roots and provide additional protection against cold temperatures. However, be cautious not to bury the fern too deeply in mulch, as this can also lead to excessive moisture retention.

In terms of temperature, most ferns prefer cooler conditions during the winter months. Aim to keep the temperature around 40-50°F (4-10°C) for optimal winter storage. Avoid exposing the fern to extreme cold or heat, as this can cause stress and damage to the plant.

It is important to regularly check on your fern throughout the winter season to ensure it remains healthy. Monitor the moisture levels in the soil and adjust your watering schedule accordingly. Also, inspect the plant for any signs of pests or diseases, as these can still occur even during dormancy.

Winterizing fern plants involves allowing the plant to dry out before bringing it indoors, choosing a cool location for storage, keeping the plant out of direct sunlight, and watering it only once a month. By following these steps, you can help ensure the health and survival of your fern during the winter months.