Hardy ferns are perennial plants that can grow in nearly any region, as long as they receive plenty of moisture and shade. These fast-growing plants can withstand extremely cold temperatures, some varieties being hardier than others. There are many different species of hardy ferns, including deciduous and evergreen varieties. Despite these various species, the care of hardy ferns is the same. Some popular hardy fern varieties include the Autumn Fern, Christmas Fern, Crested Lady Fern and Northern Maidenhair Fern.
Plant hardy ferns in a shady area with well-draining but moist soil. Mix into the soil 4 inches of organic compost or peat moss and 1 inch of humus (leaf mold) before planting.
Spread a 2-inch layer of organic compost on top of the soil around the hardy ferns. Spread a fresh layer of compost once each year in the spring.
Water the hardy ferns deeply once or twice a week during the first growing season to keep the soil thoroughly moistened. Water the hardy ferns more frequently during hot, dry spells in the summer.
Spread a 3-inch layer of bark mulch around hardy ferns in the fall to protect them, if you live in a region where winters have prolonged deep-freezing temperatures. Remove the bark mulch in the spring, after the last frost.
Trim the evergreen hardy ferns in early spring to remove any winter-damaged foliage.