How does one go about keeping the Kimberly Queen ferns over the winter here in Kentucky?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Pamela: Over-wintering our tropicals indoors is a great way to be more economically savvy when it comes to the summer garden. That being said, some tropicals are easier to over-winter than others, but the Kimberly Queen fern is one of the easier ones. The one downfall to keeping then indoors for the cold months is that they will likely drop a lot of their fronds, thus more maintenance on your part in terms of cleaning up after them. I have found that if you can put them in a space that is not well lived in and has good filtered light, it is not such an eyesore. You can put a piece of plastic under them and let the foliage drop without having to pick it up on a regular basis. Another option is to cut back all the foliage when you bring it inside. This solves the high-maintenance problem but again it does not look great, so keeping it in a room or basement that still provides light but not a main living space may be a good idea. Either way, these ferns do not like to completely dry out so watch your moisture levels. This will depend on the temperature and humidity of your home, but watering every seven to 10 days should be sufficient. You will want to cut back on your fertilizing during the winter months but after our frost-free date (May 10th ) passes, take your fern back outdoors, give it a dose of your favorite fertilizer, water it well, and watch it grow. It will likely take a few weeks for them to put on new growth so be patient, but they will once again look lush and beautiful. It is well worth the effort to keep them from year to year.