Answer

Bringing Ferns Indoors

Question

I have a Boston fern and is has been outside all summer and has grown quit large. Can it be brought in for the winter? If so, how do I care for it inside? And how do I make sure it does not have bugs that will get into my other houseplants?

Answer

As the temperatures around the country begin to drop, many gardeners will be bringing their houseplants back indoors. A handy rule of thumb to remember is that when temperatures outside become similar to those inside your house, it's a good time to make the transition.

When you bring your houseplants in you don't want to bring in insects as well. To prevent this I spray them with an insecticide. I use an insecticidal soap because it is safer than others with harsh chemicals. I saturate the plant and always make sure to spray the underside of the leaves. After spraying, I leave the plants outside for two or three days, then give them one more check before I take them inside.

Keeping certain houseplants in good shape during the fall and winter can be quite a challenge. Some of the most difficult for me are the ferns, Boston ferns in particular. I love its delicate, fresh appearance but whenever I bring it inside it inevitably begins to shed its tiny leaves.

Now there's really not much I can do about this. It's basically just the nature of the plant, whether it's inside or out. But what I can do is give it a good shake periodically and try to remove as many of the dead fronds as I can. Putting down some newspaper will always help make this process a little tidier.

I've found that no matter what houseplant you're dealing with, you'll have more success if the conditions inside can closely match the conditions it had become accustom to outside.

Most ferns need moderate, indirect light indoors. Never put them directly in a south or west facing window. The heat and intense light will scorch the leaves.

When it comes to moisture, watering is really no big deal, but humidity is another issue. This time of year when the air in our homes is becoming drier, lack of humidity can present a problem to the plant. One of the simplest ways to increase the moisture in the air immediately around the plant is to place the container on a saucer of gravel and water. Just make sure the bottom of the container is above the water line.
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