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Can I Overwinter My Fern? If So, Please Advise Me…

Jeff Asked

Can I overwinter my fern? If so, please advise me how.

The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, Jeff in Kentucky: Over-wintering your tropical fern indoors is a great way to keep your plant from year to year. This can be done quite easily in the right environment. Even though most ferns are shade-lovers they can and should be placed in a brightly lit room or window; south-facing would be ideal. We want the fern to get as much light as possible during the winter months and since the light levels are much lower this time of the year it is fine to place them in the sunniest room of your home. Plant growth slows down when temperatures are cooler, and in response less light and water are required. Your fern will not likely put on any new growth during the winter months. The idea is to keep the roots alive so it can put on new growth next season. Ferns can be one of the messiest tropicals to bring indoors because they tend to continuously drop their foliage. Placing a drop cloth or a piece of plastic underneath them may not be very aesthetically pleasing, but it makes for an easy cleanup. Another option is to cut back the foliage since the root system is the main concern at this time of year. It will take them longer to become full and lush for next growing season, but the trade-off is less maintenance in terms of cleanup while they are indoors. Remember to cut back on watering as well as fertilizer during the winter months. Your watering schedule will depend on the temperature and humidity of your home, but every seven to 10 days should be sufficient. Be careful not to over-water. The soil should be never be sopping wet.

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