Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Plants: Delicate ferns

Ferns are one of my favourite type of plant. They are often delicate and graceful, although some are more tough and architectural instead. There is a lushness about them that feels fresh and clean.

However, ferns don't always love me as much as I love them.

Ferns like medium light, imagine their natural environment growing below trees in a woodland- it isn't dark but the sun is filtered a little so it isn't burning bright.

They also like humidity, which most of us don't have in our homes. One way around this is to mist the plant with room temperature water in addition to watering.  Another is to set the plant on a tray filled with pebbles that you keep some water on, so the moisture evaporates up into the leaves. You need to keep the soil lightly moist, drying out stresses the plant immensely, so if you are a once  in a while water-er they might not be friends with you either.

I'm going to 'fess up- I've never successfully kept a fern alive in my house. I start out well, placing it in one of my precious few areas of decent light in the house and give it tender care twice a week, checking to keep the soil moist, even misting on occasion. But in general I forget to water eventually, and the plant gets too dry before I water it again. It perks up once I show it some love, but eventually it gives up on me, or I give up on it. But I still find my eye being caught by a lovely delicate frothy specimen once in a while and I forget my fern killing ways and bring another one home for the slaughter.

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