How to Grow Hardy Ferns


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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

Trim the evergreen hardy ferns in early spring to remove any winter-damaged foliage.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't plant your hardy ferns in full sunlight or in areas where the soil will dry out quickly. Hardy ferns must have shade and moist conditions in order to thrive.

Things You'll Need

  • Hardy ferns
  • Shovel
  • Organic compost
  • Peat moss
  • Humus
  • Garden hose
  • Bark mulch


  • Heritage Perennials: Succeeding with Hardy Ferns

Who Can Help

  • Thompson & Morgan: Growing Hardy Ferns from Spores
  • Direct Gardening: Fern, Hardy
Keywords: grow hardy ferns, plant hardy fern, hardy fern growing tips

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.