I bought two Kimberly Queen ferns about three weeks ago for my deck this summer. They are not looking good in terms of color of foliage. I can’t tell if they are too wet, too dry, or have had too much sun. They receive direct morning sun until about noon. I don’t know what I should do to try and save them.
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Brian: What is going on with the foliage, is it turning yellow or brown and crispy? Plants perform best when grown in specific conditions; each plant has its own idea about what this is and Kimberly Queen ferns are no different. We typically think of ferns as being shade-lovers but this is not the case for these upright sword ferns. They are sun-loving tropicals, which means they would be happiest growing in a location where they receive at least six hours of direct sun. So from what you mentioned they may not be getting enough light. How often are you watering? Depending on rainfall amounts you should water your ferns every other day during the hot summer months. It may get to the point where you will have to water every day but this will depend on temperature, humidity, and rainfall. Make sure the soil is not sopping wet. Too much water can be just as bad as, if not worse than, lack of moisture. If the soil is really wet then let it dry out before adding additional moisture. When the soil dries out you can water it until you see excess water coming out the drainage holes. This will give it a good soaking all the way through. The easiest way to check the soil for moisture is to use your fingers. If the plant is so root-bound in the container that you cannot get your finger in the soil it is probably too dry.