Winter care for hanging ferns

(Question)

I just brought my hanging ferns in to the basement, which stays around 60 degrees F (16 degrees C) during winter, and the ferns will get some indirect sunlight. What are some tips for keeping them healthy in the basement? How often should I water them in 60 degree temps? Should I re-pot them at some point?

(Answer)

Generally, for hanging baskets, the nursery trade uses Boston ferns, which require 12 to 16 hours of light each day – which can be indirect or diffused, or even artificial natural light; however they require from twelve to sixteen hours of light each day. Maintaining proper levels of temperature and humidity are necessary for successful growth of these ferns.

Boston ferns like cool locations with lots of humidity. If the air in your home is too dry, use a humidifier or mist daily. The Ortho Encyclopedia of Houseplants recommends that ‘Boston fern is allowed to become dry between times of watering in fall and winter months’. It is also recommends using distilled water (not tap water), as chlorine can be harmful to ferns.

Ferns are usually potted in a hummus-rich soil and do not need to be repotted frequently. Water soluble fertilizer is usually applied during warmer months.   You could also keep the ferns in the upper floors of the house, where bathrooms and kitchen can provide the right amount of humidity.