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5 Tips for Front Porch Fern Care

5 min read | May 11, 2016 | Plants 

I can’t have Boston Fern Hanging Baskets on my front porch. As a born and bred Southerner, that’s hard to admit. Fern-flanked porches are a staple of the Southern landscape. 

While our front porch faces due South and a beautiful Boston Fern can’t take the scorching heat of the afternoon sun, you better believe our shady back patio is filled with the luscious green fronds in pots and hanging baskets! The good news is that I can also select Kimberly Queen Ferns to pot in upright containers around my front door as they can tolerate several more hours of sun.

Given the proper care, ferns are surprisingly easy to care for and grow.

How to Care for Ferns on Your Porch

Here are a few tips for how to care for ferns so you can add them to your porch easily. Pretty soon, your porch and home garden will be beautiful and thriving! Whether you’re looking for fern care best practices or need tips for picking the right type for your porch, we have some guidelines below.

1. Select The Right Fern

fern with hydrangeas

Boston Ferns and Kimberly Queen Ferns are the most popular selections for porches. Depending on the look you desire, you’ll want to purchase the right fern that not only looks good but also will grow well in your planting environment. Contact our team of expert gardeners if you have questions about growing a specific type of fern on your porch.

Boston Ferns are great in hanging baskets or on plant stands because of the gentle weeping nature of the vibrant green fronds; they thrive in humid climates and when their soil has consistent moisture. Kimberly Queen Ferns have more rigid, upright fronds and are perfect in pots flanking a pathway or entrance. Kimberly Queen Ferns can tolerate much more sun than a Boston Fern.

2. The Right Light

Ferns prefer bright, indirect light. A few hours of morning sun or gently filtered light through the cover of trees is the perfect scenario. Avoid direct sunlight that can burn a fern’s more delicate fronds, especially during the hot summer months.

A basic rule of thumb for selecting front porch ferns:

  • Shade: Boston Ferns
  • Part Shade to Part Sun:  Macho Ferns
  • Part Sun to Sun:  Kimberly Queen Ferns

If you have full, afternoon sun on your front porch, check to see if your side or back porch would provide a less harsh environment for your plants. At our garden center, we can help you find a different plant to better tolerate the full sun. We also offer classes and events for people looking to become better, more informed gardeners!

3. Water Your Fern Regularly

ferns on a front porch

Knowing how often to water ferns is essential to their growth. The secret? Ferns like moisture. Keep in mind that their natural habitat is under the shady, wet canopy of a rainforest. Consistent and evenly moist soil is key in order to maintain a bright green, healthy glow. 

Your watering schedule will depend on how you plant your fern. If you choose to place your fern in a hanging basket or pot, remember that they can dry out quickly. Soil should be kept damp but not wet to the touch.

Check your fern daily at first to determine the frequency with which you’ll need to water your ferns. Keep in mind that watering schedules and general fern care will vary whether your ferns are growing outside or indoors.

4. Fertilize Monthly

entrance fernsFerns like a monthly dose of plant food for nutrition, especially in the warmer months. Choose a water-soluble, nitrogen-rich fertilizer for best results. If you need assistance selecting the right fertilizer, visit us at Fairview Garden center and we would be happy to help!

5. Follow These Overwinter Steps

Ferns are tropical plants and will not tolerate cold outdoor temperatures. You might be wondering, then, how to care for ferns outside during the winter. To maintain your fern’s evergreen color, you can try to overwinter your fern by cutting it back in the fall and placing it in a light-filled area indoors.  

Location, humidity, and water are essential for an attempt at overwintering. Remember that even a dormant fern likes moisture, and a heated home can dry out a plant quickly. Give your plant a good soaking in the shower a few times throughout the winter months.

Add Ferns To Your Porch Today

We hope you’re feeling excited about adding ferns to your Southern porch with these tips for how to care for ferns! Check out a few fern styling ideas here if you’re looking for inspiration.

Give us a call at 919-851-6821 or send us a message here if you want to learn more, or stop by any time. We’re always happy to help you locate the perfect plant for your garden!

Page updated July 19, 2022