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How to Grow Ferns in a Greenhouse or Indoors

Ferns that are pampered and protected from things like dry air and temperature extremes will reward you with lush green fronds all year round, beautifying your indoor garden more than you could imagine.

Tips for Growing Ferns Indoors

There are a lot of species of tropical and subtropical ferns, but there are also a lot of ferns that are native to more temperate climates. These ferns would be well suited to cooler parts of the house but won’t survive in rooms that are too well heated. Tropical ferns survive best in homes with central heating.


Ferns love moisture and should be given humid conditions. In living rooms and family rooms, stand their pots on trays of damp pebbles or clay granules. Ferns also love being misted at regular intervals with tepid, soft water.

Compost & Soil

Most ferns are forest or woodland plants and have tender, delicate roots adapted to the light forest soil, which is rich in leaf mold and decayed vegetable matter. The right compost must be free draining so that the roots never get waterlogged. A compost that contains peat or a fibrous peat substitute with plenty of sand is best. The compost should never be allowed to dry out, which may mean watering the plant a little every single day in a warm, dry atmosphere.


Although most ferns grow in moist, shady places like forest floors, this does not mean that they need no light. Their normal situation in the wild is dappled light, and if the light level in the home is too low, you will see poor growth and yellowing fronds. Give ferns a position near a window that gets morning or late afternoon sun, and keep the ferns away from strong sunlight, especially during the summer. Direct sunlight will make them lose their leaves or turn their fronds yellow. You can keep ferns in dim light as long as you give them regular breaks in bright light.


Most ferns don’t like cold. Those ferns from tropical regions truly appreciate 60-70 F. Those from more temperate regions enjoy temperatures between 50-60 F.


Feed your ferns in the summertime every two to four weeks with a liquid fertilizer, but don’t mix it full strength because you can damage the root system. Just a few drops of fertilizer can be added to the water occasionally for misting. Don’t feed your ferns in the winter because they rest.


Repot ferns in the springtime, but only if their roots are filling the pot. Otherwise, just scrape off the top layer of compost and replace it with fresh compost. Cut off any damaged fronds to encourage new growth. When you repot your ferns, split them up and make two out of one.

14 Fun Facts About Ferns
  1. Ferns have been on earth for over 380 million years.
  2. The type of ferns we see now have been here for 45-50 million years.
  3. Dinosaurs ate ferns, conifers, cycads, and mosses.
  4. Ferns were on earth 200 million years before flowers.
  5. Ferns are helpful in preventing or eliminating pollution because they remove heavy metals from the air and the soil.
  6. Today’s ferns are not edible because of toxicity.
  7. Some ferns have a life span of 100 years.
  8. The height of ferns ranges from 2 inches to 30 feet.
  9. Compressed ferns turned into fossil fuel and became the basis for gas and oil.
  10. Ferns reproduce from spores. They don’t have seeds or flowers.
  11. There are at least 12,000 types of ferns on earth today. There may be up to 20,000 different species.
  12. In North America there are 441 varieties of native ferns.
  13. Ferns are vascular, circulating water and nutrients through their veins.
  14. In the past, there were people who believed if they ate ferns, they would become invisible. Still others believed ferns protected them against goblins and witches.
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