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Anytime I want to refresh the house or add warmth after seasonal decor is taken down, houseplants are the answer. Their lush green growth is hard to resist when passing in stores. The problem is that big box stores get a fresh shipment of plants, plan to sell them as quickly as they can, and then neglect them in the meantime.
When brought home, it’s tricky to know what is needed to keep the plants thriving for years to come. But there are some simple tips that will help set you up for success.
This winter, I purchased three different ferns to add green texture to my home. While the five tips discussed below work for pretty much all houseplants, ferns call for slightly more care than other indoor plants. Use the following tips to ensure you have ferns for years, enjoying them both outdoors in warmers months and indoors over the winter.
Tip 1: Assess how the plant is already potted.
No plant wants to be planted too deep within its container. When planted too deep, water sits on the plant’s crown and can slowly rot the plant, especially with a Bird’s Nest fern. The crown is the place where the fronds/leaves sprout. Once re-potted, make sure the crown is just above the soil level.
Tip 2: Use compost-rich organic potting soil.
All-purpose potting soil works in most applications, but the most important thing is to begin with an organic variety. No extra fertilizers or additives are needed when the soil is compost-rich. The compost will naturally feed and aid the plant as it grows.
If you do choose to fertilize indoor plants, use an all-purpose organic fertilizer at half strength.
Tip 3: Make sure the plant is potted in a container with good drainage.
Good drainage is super important with indoor ferns. There should be holes in the bottom of the container where the water can release from the pot. If water sits at the bottom of the container and cannot escape, the roots can rot and slowly kill the plant.
Personally, I like to use a container with a hole at the bottom covered by a shard from a broken terracotta pot. This slows down the drainage, but still allows for water to escape.
Tip 4: Water the plant well.
Water enough so that water drains out of the bottom of the container. Instead of giving little bits of water, give a healthy amount so the entire container is saturated. This will make sure that all roots are evenly watered. Allow the fern ample time in between waterings so that the top one inch of soil begins to dry out. Once sufficiently dry, water the fern again.
Tip 5: Always water the plant under the plant’s base.
Ferns like to be spritzed with water to mimic a humid, moist environment. That said, they do not like to be drowned, so use moderation. When watering, water under the leaves right at the soil level.
These steps are easy to follow and can make all the difference in the health and life of the fern!
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