How To Keep Ferns Alive Indoors in Winter- Winter Fern Care

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Bringing your ferns indoors this autumn and safeguarding them through the chilly winter months is not only straightforward and convenient, but it’s also a fantastic way to make significant savings on your gardening expenses come next spring!

Ferns serve as a splendid adornment for porches and outdoor living areas, adding a touch of lush greenery. Whether they’re thriving in containers or suspended in hanging planters, they’re exceptionally undemanding. This is especially true considering their infrequent encounters with pests and their lower watering requirements compared to other potted plants. However, it’s undeniable that replacing them year after year can add up in terms of cost.

Unfortunately, ferns simply aren’t resilient enough to endure climates that plunge below-freezing temperatures. In fact, a single severe frost or freeze can swiftly extinguish a fern overnight!

Ferns offer a simple and delightful means of adding vibrancy to outdoor areas during spring, summer, and fall. However, the waning of warm temperatures doesn’t have to signal their demise. It’s quite simple to overwinter ferns indoors, ensuring they can be reintroduced outdoors next year!

While ferns may struggle in the cold outdoor winter months, they thrive when overwintered indoors. This transition requires minimal effort and care. With this in consideration, let’s explore the steps to bring your ferns indoors this autumn, ensuring they’ll thrive again next year.

Bringing Ferns Indoors For Winter – The Simple Steps To Success

To effectively overwinter ferns, a handful of straightforward guidelines can make a significant difference in keeping your plants robust and thriving. And the paramount tip of all? Bring them indoors prior to the arrival of the initial frost!

Bringing Ferns Indoors Early

While ferns can endure cooler temperatures to some extent, exposing them to frost can lead to significant damage. Not only does frost have the potential to kill off the foliage, but it can also stunt and harm the roots. If, by unfortunate circumstance, a fern is left out during a severe freeze, it’s more likely to end up in the compost bin than experiencing a second year of growth!

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To ensure your ferns thrive next year, it’s crucial to bring them indoors before the arrival of a severe frost or freeze.

If an unanticipated early-season frost or freeze is looming, relocate your fern to a partially sheltered area like a barn, shed, or garage. If that’s not feasible, at the very least, cover it with a blanket or sheet. The crucial goal is to shield it from harm until you’re ready to transition it indoors.

Now, why not just bring it directly indoors if cold temperatures are anticipated? As you’ll discover in the following steps, investing a bit of time in preparing your fern can avert potential issues for both the plant and your indoor space!

Hose Down The Plant – Bringing Ferns Indoors

Before transitioning your fern indoors, thoroughly spray its entire foliage using a garden hose. Make sure to lift the fronds to reach the undersides of the leaves.

This step is absolutely crucial in eliminating any potential insects or pests that may have taken up residence in your plant. Keep in mind that your fern has been outdoors throughout the summer, so everything from moths, spiders, and aphids to even a bird’s nest could be hiding within its foliage.

Not only does this spraying process help keep unwelcome guests out, but it also aids in hydrating the plant. Once your fern has had a chance to dry off a bit, it’s time to give it a little shaping before bringing it indoors.


It is always a good idea to spray your ferns off before bringing them indoors. Not only will it help to remove dirt and dust on the foliage, but also prevent any pests from hitchhiking indoors as well.

Pruning Ferns – Bringing Ferns Indoors For Winter

During warm, arid summer temperatures, ferns can experience significant growth. Before bringing them indoors, allocate some time to trim back the excess foliage. A good pair of hedge shears is ideal for this job.

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Heavy pruning isn’t necessary. Begin by trimming away long, sprawling stems that might make indoor placement tricky. Conclude by giving the plant a gentle overall trim, ensuring to trim back any fronds that could pose an issue when positioning the plant on a stand or table.

Re-Pot Root Bound Plants

When a potted plant becomes densely packed with roots, it can complicate the watering process. Ferns are no exception and can quickly suffer from being root-bound.

Examine the pot of your fern to check if its roots have filled the entire space. If there’s little soil remaining or the roots have completely encircled the sides of the pot, it’s time to take action.

A good guideline is to transplant ferns into a new pot that’s one-quarter to one-third larger than its previous container. Use high-quality, lightweight potting soil during the repotting process. Avoid the urge to provide ferns with too much additional space.

When left in pots with excessive soil around their roots, ferns can become overly saturated. The surplus soil retains an excess of moisture, potentially causing the plant to struggle. Fertilizing is unnecessary. Ferns don’t require much to thrive. In fact, an excess of nutrients can lead to more problems for a fern than a deficiency.

Dividing Overgrown Ferns – Bringing Ferns Indoors

If your ferns have outgrown their pots, you have the option to divide them into new starts. This is a fantastic way to generate even more exquisite, lush, shade-loving plants for your outdoor space next year!

To divide a fern, use a sharp knife or cutting tool to create sections for new plants. For most oversized ferns, quartering the plant is an effective method to yield four new plants.

Fern roots are remarkably resilient and can withstand this process. As long as the plants are transplanted into a high-quality, lightweight potting mix, they will likely establish themselves in their new environment swiftly.


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