Ferns are a popular choice of indoor and outdoor plants for garden enthusiasts everywhere. From the Boston fern to the staghorn fern to the Kimberly queen fern, you’ll find a wide variety of these ferns indoors all over the country. However, some people make the mistake of thinking that they’re an easy plant to take care of. It’s true that ferns are simpler to take care of than other plants, but they still need a certain level of care, especially when it comes to watering.
Are you wondering how often you should water ferns? Keep reading to find out the answer and learn other tips for ensuring your ferns stay healthy and grow to their full potential.
How Often Should You Water Ferns – The Basics
In general, this type of houseplant loves water. This is because ferns are originally from the tropics, so they’re used to constant rainfall and a lot of humidity. That being said, you shouldn’t water your tropical ferns too often or too abundantly.
As a general rule, you should water your ferns about once a week. However, this frequency may differ based on the type of fern you have and whether it is an indoor or outdoor plant.
When it comes to indoor ferns, the frequency with which you water your plant depends on factors such as:
- Growth rate
- Humidity and temperature
- The type of pot it’s planted in
For example, a small fern in a bathroom with windows will require less frequent watering than a larger fern in a dry environment. No matter what type of indoor fern you have, you should always ensure to water it before the soil gets dry while simultaneously avoiding oversaturation. This may be tricky at first, but you’ll gain a better understanding of your fern’s needs over time.
Like many other types of outdoor plants, outdoor ferns are generally less maintenance than their indoor counterparts, even when it comes to watering. However, it is still important to pay attention to your outdoor fern and ensure that it is getting an adequate amount of water.
They should generally get one to two gallons of water a week, but this depends on other factors, such as the sign of the plant, where the fern is planted, and what kind of soil it’s planted in. For optimal growth, outdoor ferns should be in shady areas with moist soil. When there’s constant rain, be sure to water your fern less to avoid oversaturation.
Beyond the location of the plant, the type of soil plays an important role in how often you should water ferns. If you’re using clay soil, you’ll water your plant less often. You should also create drainage under the fern to avoid oversaturation. On the other hand, if you use soil that drains quickly, you’ll have to water your fern more often.
Signs That You’re Watering Your Fern Incorrectly
Frequency is only one factor you need to consider when watering your ferns. When thinking about how often you should water your fern, you should also consider how much water you’re giving your fern and how you’re watering it.
For example, you should avoid watering your fern from above. This is because water can splash onto the leaves in the process, causing damage to your plant from sunburns to root rot. Instead, aim at the soil to ensure the roots quickly absorb the water and put it to use.
Here are some signs that you may be underwatering or overwatering your fern:
Underwatering Your Fern
Underwatering your fern can prove to be dangerous for the health of your plant. Signs that you may be underwatering your fern include:
- Shriveled leaves
- Slow growth
Some ferns are more prone to these signs than others, such as the Boston fern, and wilting, so it’s important to keep a close eye on the state of your houseplant.
Here’s the tricky part: Be aware that some of these signs, such as wilting, can also show up if you overwater your fern.
Overwatering Your Fern
Underwatering your fern can be extremely damaging, but so can overwatering. Overwatering your ferns may cause root rot and other fungal diseases.
When you overwater your fern, you might notice:
- Leaves turning yellow
- Green mossy growth at the bottom
- Gray fungi
Just as underwatering your ferns causes wilting, so can overwatering, because it reduces the amount of oxygen the roots can access. However, signs of overwatering are usually accompanied by other signs, such as discoloration.
Tips for Watering Your Ferns
Now that you know how often you should water your ferns, let’s talk about what else you should do to keep them growing and healthy.
Although the frequency and amount of water are the biggest factors in how often you should water your plant, there are other factors that also dictate the quantity and frequency of water.
Here are a few additional watering tips to help you take optimal care of your ferns:
- Check the temperature of your water – You should always water your ferns in room temperature water. Water that’s too hot or too cold may damage your plant and its roots.
- Add humidity – If your fern is in a dry room, or you live in a drier climate, consider getting a humidifier to add moisture to the air. However, make sure that the level of humidity isn’t too much.
- Water according to the weather – Weather plays a part in how often you should water ferns, especially if it’s an outdoor plant. In the summer, or if your fern’s room is hot, be sure to water your plant more often. Likewise, when temperatures are lower, water it less.
Ferns are a wonderful plant to keep indoors and outdoors, but you have to ensure you’re taking proper care of them if you want your growing ferns to become as lush as they should. Knowing how often you should water ferns is a good first step toward having a healthy, abundant plant that stays happy throughout the year.