Fern In A Hanging Container: Care Of Ferns In Hanging Baskets

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

Ferns have been a popular indoor plant for decades and ferns in hanging baskets are especially charming. You can also grow ferns in hanging containers outdoors; just be sure to bring them inside before temperatures drop in autumn. Check out the following tips for growing hanging ferns.

Where Do Hanging Ferns Grow Best?

Growing conditions may vary somewhat depending on the type of fern; however, most ferns don’t appreciate intense sunlight. Outdoors, a fern in a hanging container will generally do well with morning sunlight but needs afternoon shade.

Indoor ferns in hanging baskets usually do best in bright, indirect light such as a spot a few feet from a sunny window. Ideal temperatures are between 60-70 degrees F. (15-21 C.).

Most ferns appreciate humidity, and the bathroom is an ideal spot for ferns in hanging baskets. Otherwise, increase the humidity in your home with a humidifier or spritz the plant with a fine mist from time to time. Be sure your fern isn’t located too near a drafty door or window, air conditioner, or heating vent.

Tips on Hanging Fern Care

Plant your fern in a container that has a drainage hole in the bottom. Most hanging baskets have some type of drainage to ensure the roots don’t become waterlogged. Fill the container with a peat-based potting mix.

Moisture requirements depend on the type of fern. Some like the potting mix evenly moist, while others do better if the mix dries out slightly before watering. Either way, ensure the soil never becomes bone dry. Ferns in hanging baskets tend to dry out quickly and require more frequent watering, especially during the summer months. Be careful not to overwater during the winter.

Feed a fern in a hanging container every month during spring and summer using a balanced, water soluble fertilizer mixed to half strength. Never apply fertilizer to dry soil.

Move the fern to a slightly larger container when the plant gets rootbound, usually every couple of years. Your fern may be rootbound if growth appears stunted, the potting mix dries out faster than usual, or water runs straight through the pot. You may also notice roots on the surface of the potting mix or poking through the drainage hole.

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  • Leaves will wilt, but they will also lose color and start to turn yellow.
  • Their texture will become soft and soggy.

These symptoms may sound similar, but as you work with these ferns, you will soon become adept at differentiating between the two.

If the plant itself does not offer enough tell-tale signs, feel the soil. Dry soil will probably indicate an under watering problem wet soil talks of overwatering or waterlogging.

How to Care for the Staghorn Fern

Light & Temperature

Staghorn Ferns prefer to grow under bright but filtered light. Mount it somewhere it can get about 4-6 hours of bright light from the sun each day. The leaves need protection from intense heat. Being a tropical plant, it would be hard for it to withstand frosting conditions. So, you’ll need to keep the room temperature from falling below 12 degrees Celsius.

Watering & Feeding

You’ll need to water your Staghorn Fern quite often, especially during the warmer months. Being native to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and Africa, it’s clear-cut that this houseplant prefers to be grown under high humidity levels. But that’s not to mean it should sit in wet soil for too long.

Place it somewhere with enough air circulation but not close to an air conditioner. You can water your Staghorn Fern once every week during summer, then cut back the frequency to 10 days when winter closes in. To make the watering exercise a whole lot easier, remove the houseplant from its mount, then soak it in water for about 20 minutes.

During summer and spring, you want to feed it with soluble fertilizer that’s rich in nitrogen after every three watering sessions. Or better still, you can depend on organic kitchen waste such as banana peels to give your Staghorn Fern the essential nutrients it needs throughout the year.

How to Care for Ferns in Hanging Baskets

  • Get a container that has good drainage holes at the bottom. Most hanging baskets come with drainage holes to ensure the roots don’t become waterlogged .
  • Fill the container or pot with peat-based potting mix or well-drained soil mixed with organic manure. The moisture content level depends on the type of fern you are growing. Some ferns like the soil or potting mix dry while others like moist. Take time to know what kind of fern you are growing requires. Either way, ensure the soil never becomes too dry.
  • Water them often. Ferns in hanging baskets tend to dry out fast. Plan to water them often especially during the summer months. Be careful not to overwater during winter.
  • Use water-soluble and slow-release fertilizer to feed the ferns. Every once a month during spring and summer, use a balanced water-soluble fertilizer. Do not apply fertilizer on dry soil, always water it first before application.
  • Repotting. Move the fern to a larger container after it grows and gets root-bound. This may take a year or so from the day of planting. Your fern gets root bound if it appears stunted. Or if water runs straight through the pot without getting absorbed. Or if the soil dries out faster than normal. You may also notice the fern’s roots on the surface of the potting mix dangling through the drainage hole.

Point to Note: Place your fern in an area that has little activity such as touching. Too much contact can excessively cause damage to the plant.

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