Ferns wintering in pots outside over the winter.


We have ferns in pots on our deck. Will they survive the winter in Toronto?


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.

Without knowing the type of fern that you purchased it is difficult to say whether your fern is able to survive our winter conditions. There are a variety of perennial ferns available from your local garden center which are able to survive our climate. ‘Lady in Red’ fern (Athyrium filix-femina ‘Lady in Red’), Japanese painted fern ( Athyrium niponicum), Wood fern (Dryopteris spp.), and Soft Shield fern (Polystichum setiferum) are just a few.

If on the other hand, you purchased  hanging baskets of Boston ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata) these ferns are definitely not able to survive outdoors during the winter. If you wish, you can bring these plants indoors and given the proper light, water and humidity, you will be able to keep them over the winter and bring the plants back outside next year.

Two of our earlier posts give instructions on the proper care of  Boston ferns:

Bringing Boston Fern Indoors and Winter care for hanging ferns