Posted in category: Ferns, Miniature Plants.

The Great Fern Experiment

miniature ferns

For me, the ultimate fairy garden is one with ferns and moss. Unfortunately, I am finding they are two of the fussiest things to keep alive, indoors. In this and a few other posts, I’ll share our adventures in our great fern experiment.

Finally, Ferns in the House

Christmas 2016. It had been a rough year for me health-wise and most of my tiny green garden plants paid the ultimate price. This year, for Christmas my wish-list was primarily miniature ferns. Fortunately, there’s a wonderful store in nearby Asheville called B.B. Barns. It’s generally not a store for finding bargains. But, they consistently have some of the healthiest and most beautiful plants in the area. Plus, their houseplant selection includes many miniature plants.

We purchased 6 ferns! Six different kinds, including what I think is a heart’s tongue. I was in fern heaven.

Ah, but, it was short lived. I quickly learned keeping miniature ferns alive was truly a fern experiment.

Mom bought three for herself and three for me. We quickly learned that these “shade lovers” do not take kindly to windows that do not provide a lot of sun. We also learned they don’t like windows with too much sun. They are picky about moisture and well, they are the most high-maintenance indoor plants we have ever owned.

Old Ferns

These aren’t our first ferns. Our next door neighbor gifted us with one of those beautiful, large potted ferns that often grace porches in the southeastern United States. Living in western North Carolina, that means replacing them every spring. Or, trying to coax them to live inside during the winter months. It has to be the healthiest fern plant we’ve ever seen. It’s 3 or 4 years old now. It looks as big and lovely, perhaps even better, than it did when it was purchased.

Then there’s my poor asparagus fern. It’s over 15 years old. At one time, it was abandoned for months.  I suspect my apartment maintenance fellow gave it a drink or two during that time. It, of course, had some die-off, but it is still going strong. A cross-country trek in sub-freezing temperatures didn’t even phase it.

Miniature Ferns & The Great Fern Experiment

Oh, but these tiny little ferns, in their 2 inch pots. phew.

Of mom’s three – one has survived. One has been replaced with a nice little patch of moss – it’s tried several times to come back but the shoots just don’t seem to survive once they fully pop out of the soil. And, the other one is pretty much toast – I keep watering it in hopes that one day it will send out new growth, but I think I’m just wasting water at this point.

My three are still with us but one false move and they pout. They pout, the leaves die off and I wait to see if it will come back or will give up completely on me. Oh, and they sit on my desk, between two windows, in the brightest room in the house and still are only happy when sitting directly under my fluorescent desk lamp. And, I better not forget to turn that light on for more than a day at a time or they get into a snit and sacrifice some of their fronds to show their displeasure.


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