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How Deep Does Fern Plant Need to Be Planted?

Updated: May 6, 2022

Ferns are a beautiful and versatile addition to any garden or home. They come in a wide range of varieties and can thrive in many different environments. But one of the most important aspects of growing ferns is knowing how deep to plant them. This article will provide all the information you need to get started with planting ferns.

Understanding Fern Plants

Before we dive into how deep to plant ferns, it’s important to understand what they are and how they grow. Ferns are a type of vascular plant that reproduce via spores rather than seeds. They have stems, leaves, and roots, but they don’t produce flowers or fruits like other plants.

Ferns typically prefer shady, moist environments, although there are some varieties that can tolerate more sun and drier conditions. They also require well-draining soil and regular watering to thrive.

How Deep to Plant Ferns

The depth at which you should plant your ferns will depend on the type of fern you have and whether you’re planting it in the ground or in a container.

In the Ground

When planting ferns in the ground, you’ll want to dig a hole that’s slightly larger than the root ball of your fern. You should aim for a hole that’s about twice as wide as the root ball, but only deep enough so that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil.

If you plant your fern too deeply, it could suffocate and die due to lack of oxygen. On the other hand, if you don’t plant it deeply enough, the roots may not be able to establish themselves properly and the plant may not thrive.

In a Container

If you’re planting your fern in a container, you’ll want to choose a pot that’s slightly larger than the root ball of your fern. Fill the pot about two-thirds full with well-draining potting soil and place the fern on top, making sure that the top of the root ball is level with the rim of the pot. Then, fill in any gaps around the root ball with more potting soil.

Again, it’s important not to plant your fern too deeply or too shallowly in a container. If the plant is too deep in the pot, it may not have enough room to grow or its roots may become waterlogged. If it’s too shallow, the roots may dry out too quickly.

Caring for Your Ferns

Once you’ve planted your ferns at the appropriate depth, it’s important to care for them properly to ensure their continued health and growth. Here are some tips for caring for your ferns:

  • Water regularly: Ferns need moist soil to thrive, so make sure to water them regularly. However, be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot.
  • Provide shade: Most ferns prefer shady environments, so make sure to place them in an area that gets partial or full shade.
  • Fertilize occasionally: While ferns don’t require a lot of fertilizer, you can give them a boost of nutrients every few months with a balanced fertilizer.
  • Prune as needed: If your ferns start to look overgrown or ragged, you can prune them back to encourage new growth.


How do I know if my fern is planted too deeply?

If your fern is planted too deeply, you may notice that it’s not growing as well as it should be. The leaves may be smaller than normal, or the plant may be yellowing or wilting. You may also notice that the soil around the base of the plant is constantly wet or waterlogged.

How often should I water my fern?

Ferns need moist soil to thrive, so you should aim to keep the soil consistently damp. However, be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot. A good rule of thumb is to water your ferns when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.

Can I plant different types of ferns together?

Yes, you can plant different types of ferns together as long as they have similar growing requirements. Just make sure to space them out enough so that they have room to grow and don’t compete for resources.

Do ferns need a lot of sunlight?

Most ferns prefer shady environments and can actually be harmed by too much direct sunlight. However, there are some varieties that can tolerate more sun, so make sure to research the specific needs of your fern before planting it.