The Best Place To Hang Your Ferns For Maximum Growth

Bringing a lush overflowing fern home from the nursery is a great feeling. You can't wait to get it hung up so it adds life and greenery to your home, and like many folks, you may be focusing on what you believe to be its primary need: sunlight. But have you ever brought a healthy plant home and then found yourself with a distressed shell of what it once was only a few weeks later? We certainly have, and in the case of ferns, this could likely be due to where we decided to place them.

According to the fern growing experts at Fern Gardening, it's possible for some species to thrive under a wash of sunlight. On the whole, though, this is a group of plants with varying degrees of tolerance for the big yellow orb in the sky, with most of them appreciating some level of protection from it as opposed to direct exposure.

Of course, all plants need access to the sun in order to initiate photosynthesis; it's just that ferns can be thought of like humans with extremely fair skin who get a crispy red sunburn after an hour on the beach. Ferns are equally sensitive to those rays, and too much harsh sunlight can burn their foliage and cause them to dry out. In order to achieve maximum growth, you'll need to be strategic when hanging a fern, whether it's inside your house or out on the patio.

Outdoors in partial shade

Hanging baskets are a staple on porches and patios, but, as mentioned above, a fern's placement ultimately decides if it amounts to tropical vibe-inducing decor or a sad sack of shriveled nightmares. Per Fairview Garden Center, early morning beams from the sun will do any fern good. That's because, as Kansas State University Research and Extension explains, sunlight is less intense early in the day and cooler than it will be come the afternoon.

A spot that allows plants to sunbathe first thing and then take the rest of the day off is ideal. If you already have a covered porch, you may be good to go. But if all of your outdoor areas are fully exposed, you'll need to get creative in figuring out the best way to shade your patio. Ferns under a pergola will receive an artificially created version of the dappled light ferns naturally receive in a dense forest. Just make sure that, wherever they are, you can reach them with the garden hose.

Once you're set up, watch the light as it moves through the yard over the course of a day. With a little observation, you'll find the perfect place to hang your ferns so they receive those early hours of less intense direct light followed by a break from the sun. By simply being outdoors, they should be guaranteed ample indirect brightness to keep them healthy and generating for the rest of the day.

Indoors away from direct sunlight

Ferns are absolutely one of the best low-light plants to grow indoors. A potted fern will not be desperate for the sunniest spot by the south-facing window like your other houseplants will. In fact, your fern will be happier set back from all the hubbub. According to plant care expert Amanda from Planterina, outdoor shade-loving ferns do best with that dense-forest dappled sunlight, but when you keep them inside, you'll want to ensure a more evenly, yet indirectly, bright experience (via YouTube).

She notes that most ferns can handle relatively low light situations so long as they are in view of a light source, and she puts more emphasis on sufficient watering to maintain consistently moist soil. For this reason, you should give some thought to where you hang your basket in regard to making sure it's easy for you to access on a regular basis. As with all container plants, proper drainage is important, so keep that in mind too.

In the event that you start to see yellowed leaves, Planterina says your fern may have been placed somewhere a little too dark. A strong dose of harsh sunlight is not going to perk it up; you'll want to inch it closer to an indirectly bright area of the house instead.

In the bathroom

Because ferns thrive in high humidity, they're one of the best choices when you want to bring a touch of nature into your bathroom. Your daily shower alone will increase the moisture to a level they adore. Dare we say, the steamier, the better!

If you want to move your ferns permanently into the bathroom, at least one small window will be necessary to reach a minimum amount of light exposure. Securing a removable film to the glass might make it even better because it will diffuse the light while giving you added privacy. You can find durable, waterproof options that can handle the steam all day long from a company like Campbell Window Film.

Don't forget that grow lights can help your indoor plants, so if your bathroom doesn't have a window, you may still be able to keep greenery alive and well in there. There's bound to be a grow light setup that works for your space, and perhaps you'll put them on a timer for consistency. Another option is to switch up which plants live in the bathroom on a revolving weekly basis. Costa Farms includes ferns on their list of best plants to put into this type of rotation, saying a few days in the dark is unlikely to cause major damage.