How Often Do You Water Ferns? (Outdoors and Indoors)

Last Updated on July 16, 2022 by Stephanie

Hanging Ferns are great house plants and are simple to care for, if you are focused on getting the proper watering. Its much simpler than you believe.

It is recommended to spray hanging ferns with water 3 times a week. The fern in your garden should be watered often as you are able to. The indoor fern should be watered every day during the summer. Spraying the leaves every two days to prevent them from becoming yellow. The amount of water you give them will decrease slightly towards close of the summer, as the plant prepares for winter.

In addition, consider the fact theyre tolerant and easy to cultivate Add to that the fact that they are easy to care for and the perfect plant to have in your home. The proper watering is one of the most important factors to keep your fern healthy and in good condition.

Underwatered Versus Overwatered Ferns

As gardeners, you need to be able to read your plants to be able to tell what it needs. For houseplants in particular, knowing what the water needs of your plant are can be vital.

Ferns arent an exception to this principle. If your plant begins to appear unhappy The first thing you need to determine is whether you are it is overwatering or underwatering that is the root cause.



The symptoms might appear like they are however, when you are working with these ferns, youll quickly be able to distinguish between them.

If the plant itself doesnt provide enough warning indicators, try smelling the soil. Dry soil could be a sign of an underwatering issue Wet soil suggests waterlogging or overwatering.

What Factors Affect Watering Frequency

It is appealing for gardeners to establish an exact watering schedule. Humans like to have a schedule.

It removes the uncertainty from things, and we can adhere to the same routine regularly. It would be nice if gardening were that easy.

Rememberthat you are dealing with a living organism here. There are too many variables to make a schedule that is as rigid as a plan.

These are the primary elements that are considered when watering your ferns in hanging baskets:


In summer, ferns will be growing vigorously and the evaporation rate will be very high. In winter the plant will go nearly dormant and evaporation will be extremely low and therefore less water is required.


This vital life source is filled with living organisms and its capacity to store water will differ according to age and the components it is composed of.

It is important to plant your fern in soil that is able to drain easily. Two parts compost two parts sphagnum moss and one part vermiculite are the best options for making your own pot mix.

It is necessary to conduct some research However. Certain ferns prefer soil that is acidic and some that prefer their soil being alkaline. The plant dealer will be able to assist you on this issue. (Source: The University of Georgia)

Container Size

The containers size will directly correspond to the amount of soil that is around your ferns in the baskets. The more soil you have the greater amount of the water that is retained.

Contrary to what you might think your hanging fern is not going to be happy simply because its in the larger size container.

If you are repotting a fern make sure you only plant it in the size of the hanging basket that is next larger. The excess dirt around roots behaves as a sponge, and holds excessive water.

Drainage Holes

Another aspect to take into consideration when hanging baskets. It should have drainage holes. If they are tiny the water will flow slower than if they are larger.

If your fern is placed in an open container like the terracotta pot, then water is also lost through the sides of its pot, which will evaporate.

Nowadays, the majority of hanging pots are constructed of plastic. They are great, as long as the holes on the base are big enough to allow you to insert the point of your finger into.

Humidity is Important

When the atmosphere is too dry, the ferns in the hanging basket is likely to be affected. In modern homes that are well-insulated the dry air is often caused through central heating units and air conditioning. Keep these points in mind when arranging the ferns basket.

If the conditions are dry in your region it is recommended to mist your ferns to ensure they are flourishing. The most effective option is to apply a humidifier to your hanging baskets.

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Lighting Condition for Hanging Ferns

They dont usually appreciate the direct light of a sun. The majority of ferns come from forests that are densely forested in the globe and have evolved to live in the shade, with indirect or dappled light.

If you keep the pots on the hangers in a brightly lit space you can expect the evaporation rate to be greater.


The ideal temperature is at between 65 and 75 deg F (18 24degC). If temperatures rise higher than 75degF (24degC) and then watering should be more frequently.

If the temperature drops below 60degF (15 degC) Then youll have to make sure that the soil is dry prior to watering, as there will be very little transpiration.

How Do You Water Indoor Ferns?

The excessive moisture can be harmful to the soil, since it interferes with normal air exchange.

The roots slowly die and eventually turn yellow or wilting leaves that do not get back to their original positions. Reduce the amount of water you drink.

There are many ways to determine whether you should give your plant a drink of water. The weight of wet soil is greater that dry. But, if the plants are placed in peat, its not enough to base your decision solely on this indicator about their overall health.

The majority of the time, I test the soil by rubbing it (it should be slightly damp and crumbly, but not stuck on your hands).

The sound you hear when you tap on the wall of the pot can be a sign that you should water (if the sound is not audible it means that watering is not done).

Ferns require a lot of water in the summer and spring months when theyre at their most.

Young shoots may die when there is an dryness. Everyday, you should check to determine if your plants require watering.

In summer, when temperatures are hot it is recommended to water your plants early in the morning and late in the evening. Ideally, it is best to perform your primary watering early in the morning.

It ought to get enough water with each watering that the fern covered the entire soil in clods and escaped onto the pot. If you see air bubbles floating on the soils surface Repeat watering until theres no more.

The practice of watering ferns in small quantities daily is not advised as the water only soaks the surface layer, making your roots dry.

The water ferns grow from above, to ensure that any excess magnesium, calcium, and other elements present in the water get absorbed by the soil layer, where there are less roots.

A water with a high amount of calcium salts corrodes soil nutrients (phosphorus manganese, iron and aluminum) by transforming them into substances that can be toxic to plants.

After watering, remove the excess water out of the tray to prevent root rot. This is particularly important during winter and fall.

If the water that is dripping from the tray is not able to go into the tray but is left on the surface the drainage hole could become blocked.

The water may disappear quickly, leaving the soil dry. In this situation it is recommended to intensify the amount of time you water.

What are the Best Watering Techniques

This is the core of good plant care. If you can answer this correctly, youll be able to dramatically reduce the majority of issues that you have to face when growing healthy ferns.

The most interesting part is that its actually much simpler than most people believe that it is.

  • You can water your fern with an irrigation container with an extended spout. This way you can add the water directly on your ferns top potting soil. This is especially important for hanging ferns, where the fronds are often hung in large curtains. It is possible to move the long nozzle through the fronds until its above the soil.
  • Make use of lukewarm water or water that is room temperature instead of using cold water to water your plants, that can cause shock to the roots.
  • Distilled water , or rainwater that has been captured is superior to tap water. Municipal water is often contaminated with chemicals like salts or chlorine. As time passes, these chemicals accumulate in soil, and may make it slightly poisonous. Its unlikely to cause harm to your fern, however it can hinder it from reaching its peak.
  • The bottom of the pot can be watered with an alternative. The entire pot can be put in a pot of water. The water will be absorbed by the process of Osmosis. The issue with this method can be that hanging ferns typically have leaves that trail and tend to hang in the water container and then fall off when taken away. Its also more slow because after the water has been drained for it to be absorbed through the earth, one have to then allow the extra water to be drained away, resulting in an operation that is two-phase.

How Much to Water

  • The water will be absorbed by the soil until you can see the water flowing out of the drain holes in the base of the pot.
  • There isnt a hard and fast rule in terms of amount. Its contingent upon the dimensions of the plants, the dimensions of the container, as well as what the level of soils dryness is.

Rules You Should Follow

  • Your fern should not be a scum-filled. After every watering, dont place your plant in a bowl of water, or it will have difficulty draining easily.
  • Do not let your fern dry out. They like to remain constantly moist, so make sure to make sure to check them frequently. Make sure to water them when the surfaces of the soil are dry to surface.

Watering Frequency

  • Do not rely on a basic schedule to determine when you need to drink water. Its a frequent error and could have fatal consequences.
  • Take a look at the soil using your fingertips, and if the soil is dry, then you need to water. If the soil is still damp, then wait for a few days and check again.
  • If you feel more comfortable using soil probes, you can use it instead of contacting the soils surface.
  • Try to maintain a steady amount of moisture. Plants do not like their environment to be constantly changing. This is an acquired skill that grows through the experience. At first, youll need to be able to feel the soil frequently however, over time it will become a natural.
  • When you have hanging ferns, you can reach up and check if its thin. If it is, it will be a clear sign that you must be sure to water. Theres an art to this. There is the point at which the weight of the pot can tell you whether the plant requires water. Once youve mastered this technique, you can use the method of touching to confirm your findings.

How Much Do You Need to Water

This is a question many people have when they first begin growing ferns in their homes. The truth is that there isnt a solution that is definitive here.

What you want is a consistently moist soil, and there are a myriad of variables that play a role to achieve that goal. The size of the plant and the time of year, the level of humidity, and the longevity that the plant is in all play into play.

Two factors will ensure that your plant is receiving the proper quantity of water. The first is that the soils surface is never dry. The other is the fact that there are plenty of drainages.

If you keep these two points in mind, the amount you offer is no longer an issue. Simply add water as you need it and ensure that it drains easily.

What you must be able to do is distinguish between a constant moist condition and one that is overly wet. If your plant is suffering from whats called in the world of gardening feet that are wet, it is susceptible to all kinds of health issues.

However, they do not like dry conditions. It is possible to use soil probes to determine the amount of moisture the soil in your area are.

I find that using my fingers is more comfortable and secure. Probes typically give various results at various depths or in various areas in the vessel.

Once you have a fern youll soon develop the ability to detect the level of moisture by touching. However, you will have you should place your hands on the soils surface every for a day or two.

Incorrect Watering Issues

Its not difficult to master the delicate art of properly watering. You should now know how to go about it.

In case you do happen to get issues Here are some issues to look out for in the event that your water is not functioning properly.

Water that is stagnant

If youre overwatering your ferns, they will soon be sitting in a watery pot. If you dont flush this water away, the moisture thats within the soil will not be able to drain, and it will cause waterlogging in roots.

This issue is easy to deal by a simple fix. All you have to do is to take the water out of the container for a half hour after you have watered.

In the event that the liquid in your pot remains wet the water will continue to flow to the bottom of your saucer. It is possible that you will have to pour it out another time.

As you gain experience, youll eventually reach a point at which you only need remove the contents of your pot only once.

Root Rot

Root rot is the consequence of excessive watering or a waterlogged soil. Since the roots are encased in soil that is wet it is impossible for them to breathe, and they begin to decay and eventually die. Then comes the death of the upper parts in the plants.

  • If you suspect that root decay has begun, take the plant from the pot.
  • Let the most of the water to evaporate onto a newspaper before gently scraping away moist soil that is clinging to the roots.
  • The roots that are rotten will turn brown and will have a watery texture. They can be removed and then disposed of.
  • Repot the plant in fresh pots and place it in a sunny location that isnt in direct sunlight.
  • Do not water until the top layer of soil is dry. If you plant your seeds in new potting soil, it will be damp and likely to remain so for a few days.

Brown Leaf Tips

The brown tips of the leaves and the dropping leaves indicate that the fern is dry. The plant is sad with a appearance that is easily identifiable. They also possess a rough texture to them.

If the situation isnt addressed soon enough the ferns may begin dropping leaves, and eventually end up dying. Soak your fern in water and let the water evaporate like normal watering.

Dont be fooled into thinking that by adding more water, you will compensate for the lack of water.

The fern will regenerate, however the brown tips are not likely to. The dead sections are easily cut off using scissors.

Common Mistakes

Overwatering is almost always the most frequent issue for those who are not familiar with caring for the ferns. In certain aspects, it is quite reasonable.

A lot of the ferns we encounter in the wild appear to grow in dense forests or along the banks of rivers that are steep. The conditions there are extremely humid. Its only normal to attempt to recreate the conditions.

What you do not consider is the draining soil that is found in these outdoor areas.

Potted soils cannot drain quickly, so it is best to avoid watering as much as you can be drained by rain.

Humidity is yet another aspect which is crucial. In many cases, natural conditions in the wild could provide levels of humidity as high as 70.

It is impossible to achieve these levels in a typical home. However, you can attain levels between thirty and fifty percent that your plant can be able to tolerate very well.

There are a variety of easy methods to increase the amount of humidity in your fern.

  • Buy an indoor plant humidifier. They are a popular choice for those who are serious regarding their plants in the indoor space. There are a variety of choices in terms of price, and youll have to determine which one best suits your requirements and budget.
  • An alternative that is less costly is to put plants in groups to make the microclimate they want to create.
  • Another option can be to fill the saucer of the plant with pebbles, then pour the water in it. The pot will then sit on the pebbles, without its base submerged in water. When the water begins to disappear, itll also increase the humidity surrounding your plant.
  • A different low-cost option that is that is favored by fern gardeners is to put the pot in larger pots. Then, you can fill in the space between two pots using moss and make sure it is kept moist. The water that evaporates will supply the humidity needed.

The lighting must be bright, but the fern must remain away from direct sunlight. This is among the reasons why ferns are the perfect indoor plants.

While south-facing windowsills may be too bright however, windowsills that face the home are usually optimal.

Bathrooms can be great home for ferns provided they are flooded with sunlight. They typically have high humidity, which your fern will appreciate.

Final Words

A few people are scared of ferns due to the fact that they are thought to be difficult to care for. Im hoping that this article has demonstrated the wrong perception.

If you adhere to the rules to water your ferns using the hanging baskets that I laid out, your ferns will be in good health.



Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)