How to Grow and Maintain Fern Houseplant?

Fern Houseplant
Photo by asundermeier

Indoor ferns are some of the most popular plants to grow, but they can be challenging to keep healthy and lush.

Over-watering or under-watering your fern houseplant can cause it to wilt. Not only that, you even kill it in short order if you don’t notice immediately and make the necessary adjustments.

Follow these dos and don’ts on how to care for your fern houseplant, and you’ll be enjoying its vibrant greenery in no time!

List of Different Types of Fern Houseplants

Many types of fern houseplants are perfect for indoor spaces. These ferns can be tricky to care for, but with the right steps, you can make sure your plant grows healthy and lush. 

  • The most common fern houseplant is the Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) which has graceful arching fronds that reach about 2 feet tall. This plant does well in low light, so it’s perfect for being near a window or living room without many windows.  However, you should water this plant once a week when the soil feels dry to the touch or every 10 days if you have moist soil. When you’re watering, use moderate water so that the root ball isn’t sitting in any standing water.
  • The Western Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum) also reaches heights between 2 and 3 feet tall. It likes lower humidity than other plants and prefers indirect sunlight to full sun exposure. 
  • Another great option is the Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum), which requires high humidity levels and lots of indirect sunlight. Also, it reaches heights between 8-12 inches tall. 
  • One last popular choice is the dwarf lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina ‘Gladwin’), which grows up to 18 inches tall. It has sword-shaped fronds that droop toward its base as they mature. For this type of fern, you will want to water them less frequently because these plants prefer drier soil conditions. Each type of fern is slightly different, but all need plenty of indirect sunlight and moist soil.

How to Develop Fern Houseplant?

The fern houseplant is the perfect addition to any home or office, especially if you want to add an earthy feel to your space.

It’s a low-maintenance plant, making it a desirable option for busy people who don’t have much time.

This guide will teach you how to care for your fern to thrive in your space. Thus, making you happy each day.


In general, ferns like moderate watering. This means that you should water your fern houseplant every 5-10 days or when the soil is dry to the touch.

It’s important not to overwater your fern, as this can cause it to rot. They need less water than most indoor plants, making them ideal for people who live in areas where water restrictions are necessary or preferred. 

Moreso, when watering, you’ll want to drench the soil until it has about an inch of moisture in the bottom of the pot. This will ensure that all parts of your plant get enough water without overdoing it! 


The first time you fertilize your fern houseplant is when it arrives in the mail. To do this, place a small amount of fertilizer around the base of the plant’s pot.

It’s best to use a water-soluble fertilizer for this process as opposed to a slow-release one. Why? Because you want to ensure that the fertilizer is immediately available to your plant. 

When choosing which type of fertilizer to use, ensure that it has 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 in its contents.  Also, when fertilizing a potted fern, liquid fish emulsion fertilizer will break down easier than other types of fertilizer.

Furthermore, try to avoid using any fertilizer with weed killers as they will kill off beneficial insects while providing no benefits to the fennel plant itself. 

Light Requirements

Light exposure is the most important factor in determining your fern’s appearance. Ferns that grow indoors will need to be placed close to a window.

Or at least where they can receive six hours of light per day while those grown outdoors can handle more sun exposure. 

In addition to light, ferns also require adequate watering. You should water your plant every few days by thoroughly soaking the soil until water drains from the bottom of the pot. 

As with many plants, it’s important that you fertilize your fern houseplant every month or so with a weak solution of water mixed with plant food.

This will help ensure healthy growth and maintain its beautiful green color. Fern houseplant has many species and varieties, including hens and chicks and sword fern.

Many gardeners enjoy growing them indoors since they thrive in low-light environments.  

Pruning and Repotting

Pruning can be done at any time during the year but is most commonly done in the spring. Pinch out the tips of new fronds growing to maintain a compact size.

Remove any brown or wilted leaves from the fern houseplant and discard them. Fertilize monthly with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer diluted according to package instructions.

Fern houseplants should be repotted every two years. Plus, a general rule is that they will need more frequent repotting as they get larger.

Air Circulation

Place your fern houseplant in a room with as much air circulation as possible. This includes near an open window but not directly in front of it. If you don’t have a window, use a fan to circulate air around your fern. 

Also, ensure your fern isn’t sitting next to anything that might block the airflow, such as a wall or bookshelf. It needs to be able to take in fresh air for healthy growth. 

Some people place their plants outside in springtime to enjoy the outdoors during warmer months. However, most experts say it’s best to keep them indoors because outdoor conditions are too harsh for most indoor plants.

Humidity and Temperature

Your fern’s indoor humidity should be between 40% and 60%. If you notice that the leaves are starting to turn brown, this means that the humidity is too low.

You can increase it by putting your fern in a room with a humidifier or by placing wet sponges near it.

If you notice that your fern’s leaves are wilted or turning brown at their tips, it may be because the temperature is too high (over 70 degrees).

If this is the case, try moving your fern houseplant to a cooler location. Alternatively, you could try spraying water onto its leaves to cool them down.

Potted ferns should not be placed near window sills where temperatures may fluctuate excessively due to direct sunlight exposure.

Instead, consider an east-, south-or west-facing window placement where temperatures tend to remain more constant throughout.

Maintaining the Right Soil Temperature

It is important for the healthy growth of a fern houseplant. A temperature range between 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit is best.

If you find yourself with a houseplant with brown tips on its leaves, it is likely being exposed to too much heat.

Move it out of direct sunlight and provide plenty of water until it recovers. Also, ferns do not require fertilizing because they store nutrients in their rhizomes. Hence,  makes them more difficult to overfeed than other houseplants.

Common Pests

Pests affecting your fern houseplant include aphids, spider mites, mealybugs, scale insects, thrips, and whiteflies.

Aphids are one of the most common pests because they are attracted to the color green. Spider mites like to feed on new growths or where leaves touch the ground.

Mealybugs can be found on the underside of leaves. Scales lay their eggs in clusters on stems and leaves. Thrips feed by sucking sap from leaf tissue.

Whiteflies excrete honeydew which attracts ants. To treat these bugs, you will need insecticidal soap spray, neem oil spray, or horticultural oil spray. 

In addition, dry soil causes root rot, which is a common disease for fern houseplants. It can be prevented by watering your plant at least once a week and making sure the potting soil is never completely dry. Be sure to use distilled or filtered water to prevent mineral buildup in the soil. 

Moreso, fern houseplant needs plenty of indirect light to do their best in east-facing windows. Too much sun will cause yellowing leaves.


Many people are drawn to the fern houseplant because it’s unusual, beautiful, and easy to care for and maintain.

However, if you aren’t sure how to care for your fern properly, you might end up with an unhealthy plant that doesn’t last very long.

To help you take good care of your fern houseplant, there are some Dos and Don’ts of proper plant maintenance.

If you want to ensure that your fern houseplant thrives, you need to pay close attention to its care and maintenance.

Ferns are beautiful and elegant plants, but they aren’t very tolerant of the conditions in which most people keep their indoor houseplants.

Meaning that if you don’t know how to care for them properly, you’re likely to lose your fern altogether.

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