Ferns Can Make Your Garden Green


Ferns are a great way to add greenery to almost any garden. Their delicate beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors to complement nearly any landscaping. But what makes ferns particularly ideal for gardens is that their natural habitat requires less than ideal conditions for most flowering plants. To get the most out of your ferns, here is what you need to know before adding these versatile and hardy plants to your garden.

Ferns have been around for millions of years and grow in virtually all climates, so there’s bound to be one that matches your particular gardening environment and needs. Whether you’d prefer ground covering ferns with fronds that are just a few inches tall, or towering lady ferns with fronds reaching up to six feet, you have lots of options.

 and Gorgeous: Ideas for Making Them an Essential Part of Your Home

Ferns differ from other plants in a few key ways. First, the stem of a fern is called a caudex. Then, the leaf of the fern known as a frond is composed of a stipe, or leaf stem, and a blade, which is the expanded portion of the leaf. And unlike traditional plants, ferns do not reproduce with seeds, but rather via spores that need moisture and a hospitable environment to grow, making them great for moist, shaded gardens.

 and Gorgeous: Ideas for Making Them an Essential Part of Your Home

When you are ready to add ferns to your outdoor space, the best time to dig is usually in the spring. Many garden centers and nurseries carry ferns, but propagating from existing ferns is often easier, so you may wish to seek permission from the property owner before you dig up wild ferns.

 and Gorgeous: Ideas for Making Them an Essential Part of Your Home

Once you have obtained your ferns and identified a suitable spot in the garden, it’s time to prepare the soil. Make sure the area is slightly acidic and provide enough dappled sunlight to encourage the ferns’ optimal growth. Amend the soil with some natural matter such as compost, peat moss, composted manure, or leaf mold. This will help it retain the necessary moisture and be a hospitable environment for the spores to grow. Plant the ferns carefully at their previous depth and water them in.

Once they’re planted, the ferns should need minimal upkeep. As with other plants, they should be given extra water during hot, dry spells and should have some slow-release fertilizer added during the growing season. Applying a layer of organic mulch in the fall will protect their roots during the winter and keep the soil moist.

If you are looking to add greenery to a shady or moist area in your garden, ferns are an excellent choice. With the right care, some patience, and of course a little luck, you will soon be able to enjoy the lush greenery that ferns bring to the outdoor space.

  • December 1, 2020