The Best Ferns for Hanging Baskets

leaf of fern image by Yurok Aleksandrovich from

Ferns planted in hanging baskets add grace and interest to lofty spots both indoors and out. Choosing a fern with a cascading growth form will ensure that the plant grows successfully in a hanging basket. With different ferns to choose from, gardeners can easily select a plant with the foliage colour and texture they desire.

Asparagus Fern

With long, arching stems and fine, needle-like leaves, asparagus ferns are ideal plants for hanging baskets. Asparagus ferns should be hung in bright light or semi-shade; scorching of the leaves occurs if the fern is placed in full sun. Asparagus ferns require frequent watering and will yellow and drop leaves if allowed to dry out. Asparagus ferns are vigorous growers and should be repotted every season. If they become too large, divide the plant into clumps and pot them individually.

Boston Fern

Boston fern, also known as sword fern, has been a favourite indoor fern since the Victorian age. Boston ferns have long, cascading fronds and are great for hanging baskets. Boston ferns prefer bright, indirect light and consistently moist soil. Allowing the plant's roots to stand in water leads to root rot. The amount of water can be reduced in the winter, and plants can dry slightly between waterings.

Rabbit's Foot Fern

Rabbit's foot fern, also known as squirrel's foot fern, has lacy, green leaves and fuzzy, above-ground roots called rhizomes. Hanging baskets show off the curious rhizomes as they creep over the side of the pot. Rabbit's foot ferns are adaptable but prefer filtered sun in the summer and full sun in the winter. Soil should be kept moist, but not soggy and plants should not be allowed to dry entirely. Rabbit's foot ferns are not fast growers and only need repotting every 2 to 3 years.

Staghorn Fern

Staghorn ferns do not look like typical ferns. They develop large, greyish-green fronds that resemble antlers and an additional type of leaf at the base of the plant that looks like brown, parchment paper. Fronds grow to be 1 foot wide and 3 feet long, or longer. Staghorn ferns prefer filtered light and do not tolerate direct sun. Soil should be well drained and kept evenly moist at all times. Staghorn ferns benefit from being placed in the shower with slightly warm water running over them.

Wart Fern

Wart ferns develop fronds that grow 2 to 3 feet long. Wart ferns prefer moist soil at all times but should not be kept saturated. Temperatures above 15.6 degrees C and medium light are ideal conditions to hang wart ferns. Wart ferns can tolerate drier atmospheres than most other ferns.

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