What to Do With Outdoor Fern Plants in Winter


Ferns impart a backdrop of leafy greens for gardens and are a fairly hardy plant. But winter temperatures can wreak havoc on any plant, including ferns. Keeping your ferns thriving and healthy through the winter is simple, provided you make appropriate preparations. Depending on your residental climate, ferns can ride out the winter outdoors with extra precautions or inside your home or garage.

Determine Your Fern Type

  • Deciduous ferns actually die back to the earth during the winter months and sprout again in the spring. These ferns are typically native to your area and are already growing in the ground. They lose their fronds during cold temperatures and come back when the weather warms up again. These ferns don't require any care during the winter.

    Evergreen ferns, such as Boston ferns, need extra care to weather the winter. Most evergreen ferns are sold in pots or hanging baskets and easily can be brought indoors during cooler temperatures.

Winterize Your Fern Indoors

  • Ferns thrive in humidity and partial shade and require humus-rich soil for nutrients. Creating this environment indoors is fairly simple if your ferns can be moved inside. If your ferns are not in pots, they are probably native to the area and don't require extra care during the winter.

    For potted ferns, hanging the plants in the bathroom or kitchen can provide the humidity necessary for a healthy plant. If you choose to display your ferns in a drier room, mist with a spray bottle daily to provide the moisture the plant needs. Water it when the soil gets dry.

Keeping a Fern Healthy Outside

  • If you live in warmer climates, you can put your ferns underneath a porch for the duration of the winter. As long as the temperature doesn't fall below 50 degrees, the plants should be fine. Covering the fern's soil with pine straw keep the temperature steady and appropriate for the plant. If you don't already have an abundance of pine straw in your yard, visit your local garden center or nursery.

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