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17 July 2013

How to Grow Huge, Lush Ferns


Whoa. Are you seeing this? My ferns are huge and healthy-for the first time ever!



I love having ferns hanging around the porch of our old house. But the problem has been that every year I have to buy four new ferns, because the previous year's ferns dried and shriveled up halfway through the summer. I would water, mist, and fertilize in vain just to get them to stay green, but they would never last past the Fourth of July.


Until now. I've discovered the secret to huge, beautiful, bright green ferns.

This year when my ferns started to turn brown, I went searching for advice on watering or fertilizer. I came across this tip on Pinterest, and I was really surprised. I traced the tip back to this blog, but it wasn't part of an article. It was just the tip, and nothing else, and I hadn't seen any other source recommend this, so I was a little unsure how reliable it was. But since my ferns always die, I decided I really had nothing to lose to try it.



Here's what we've been doing: Every other day, we take the ferns down and completely submerge them in a bucket of 3-4 gallons of water and 1/4 cup of epsom salt. We use paint stirring sticks to hold the ferns down into the water until they stop bubbling (listen closely). Then we take them out and leave them on the sidewalk, out of the sun for about 1-2 hours until they're done dripping, and we hang them back up on the porch.

Here's Rand to demonstrate:


I've been doing this for about three weeks and the results are pretty amazing. At first, my ferns all started to look like they had mullets, because the new pieces on top started to grow crazy fast, but now the new growth has nearly caught up with what was already there. In three weeks! All the new growth is huge, soft, and a much brighter green than the old leaves. I read that epsom salt has magnesium that helps make the leaves greener, and you can definitely see a difference in the shades of green.

An old bungalow definitely needs bright green ferns hanging from its porch. These make me so happy every time I look at them!




























+ How successful are you with keeping plants alive at your house?

+ Have you had success with any other Pinterest tips? I know some tips work, and some are just ridiculous.


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24 comments:

  1. I need an aloe vera growing tip. Mine looks terrible.

    And I love your house. Love. Love.

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    1. Thank you! My cats eat aloe vera plants, so that's something I'm not allowed to have. :(

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  2. Wow those look great! I have absolutely no green thumb, but maybe next time I try to buy a plant I'll give this try!

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    1. I'm the same way! I think that's why I was so excited to share this on the blog, because I'm finally able to keep them alive! :)

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  3. I'm loving this tip as I've been wanting ferns for the longest time but was afraid I'd kill them. Maybe I'll start with one and see how it goes!

    xo Mary Jo
    http://MagicalMined.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you for stopping by! I was the same way, and I have killed a lot of ferns in the past. They're not cheap, so I was hesitant to buy more, but we had great success with this method. Good luck!

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  4. Wow-that is so interesting! I wonder why that works and if it would work with other plants or if it's just a fern thing? Thanks for sharing this! Stopping by from SITS Girls ~Krissa (http://www.morethanmundane.com)

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  5. Do you save the water and Epson salt? or do you make it fresh every other day?

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  6. Doesn't anyone keep Boston Ferns indoors year round? I just love how they brighten a room. If it's a no no please tell me as I really don't want to kill this huge one I just bought.

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  7. Hi!! My ferns are in big pots so I can't take them out and submerge .. What else can I do?? My leaves are turning yellow at the bottom!!

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    1. Just a thought: What if you put Epson salt mixed with water in a spray bottle and mist them everyday. I spray my lawn with an Epson salt water mixture.

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  8. Oh no! Do the pots have good drainage at the bottom? I would take them outside and water them thoroughly until they are soaked and water is running out the bottom. These ferns are so thirsty. :)

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  9. I do the same every other day. It's amazing!! Only I just use a couple Tablespoons in a 2 gallon bucket and just set them in and leave them for 1-1 1/2 hr each. They drain after I put them back. I know that most people think you water them from above like other plants. But ferns need watering from bottom up.

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  10. Hello, I have tried the Epsom Salt soak for my ferns and it WORKS. I bought three ferns that were ready for the dump, after a month they look GREAT. Keeping them out of the sun really helps.

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  11. Is this recommended for them during the winter when you being them inside? I live in Illinois.

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  12. I have had three ferns all summer long hanging outside on my front porch and have been doing this Epsom watering all summer long. We have had an unusual 90-100 heat most of August and the ferns are still doing great! I call it the "Epsom Bath" for my ferns and I love it. I also have used on a couple of small "rescue" ferns that I am totally unsure of what they are but they are both doing great too with new growth every day. I want to plant them in the ground when the heat wave is over but since I have been babying them I am wary of what will happen once I put them in the ground near the porch. But anyone who does this Epsom bath will love the results.

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  13. So how can I do this with ferns in the house? I live in a place where winter is much longer than not winter. And I really good at killing ferns shortly after I bring them home.

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  14. I Tried this tip and my Ferns started of in 1 Gallon pot, 12 in diameter. They are the 3ft in diameter. Hope to preserve them over the winter

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  15. If the pots are bubbling, it just means that the potting mix has dried out, which happens very easily. It is likely that it is the submerging of the pots that is helping, (ie giving them enough water), not the epsom salts. Epsom salts is good for plants but not every second day. Every 2 weeks is plenty.

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  16. Ferns hate over fertilization, so be careful. Your ferns were probably just happy to be nice and wet, as they are potted, not in-ground. One nice bath of Epsom salts in the spring is good, and then maybe one more in summer as well as regular watering - remember not to fertilize in fall! Just cut the ferns back. If you have in-ground hardy ferns, they are deciduous - that means that like most trees, they lose their leaves and die back as they send all of their nutrients to the roots to help stay alive through winter. They look pretty dead during cold winters, but they will come back beautifully in spring, and grow back quite quickly; any spores that are buried over winter that are mulched will also provide new growth. :)

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  17. Does this include staghorn ferns?

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  18. Thanks for this helpful tip.

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  19. This was exactly what I was looking for! I'll be doing this tomorrow!

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