Three years ago, I rescued two small sword ferns from a charity event. The ferns were used as part of a fall display, and when the event was over, the plants were scheduled for deposit in the nearest dumpster.
I now have several sword ferns because of these original plants. Each year, I have split the ferns or placed them in larger pots. Sword ferns can be grown indoors or outdoors, but I don’t like constantly picking up after an indoor fern. I was told to occasionally fertilize sword ferns with fish emulsion, but in the years I’ve had these ferns, I don’t even bother.
Signs of a Healthy Sword Fern
Last year, an unexpected frost seemed to kill all of my ferns. Instead of throwing them out, I continued to water them. To my surprise, new growth quickly replaced what had died. Another sign of a healthy sword fern is the presence of firm bulbs in the soil.
The Ideal Place for a Fern is Directly in the Ground
Because of the valley heat in the summertime, I try to put most of my plants, shrubs and trees directly into the ground. Otherwise, I’d be spending all of my time going from pot to pot with a garden hose. Unfortunately, most of my suburban soil is comprised of clay. Although there is plenty of shade for ferns in my front yard, I prefer to keep them in large pots. One day, I’ll truck in fertile soil and sink my ferns into it.
I simply turned over the pot, and the fern and its soil came out in one piece. After placing some soil in the larger pot, I threw in a handful of started fertilizer before planting the fern. Once there was enough soil to hold the fern in place, I soaked the soil. Then I moved the sword fern to its new spot in the yard. Next fall, I will probably split the plant and create more ferns for my landscaping.