Repotting a Sword Fern

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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.

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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.

Easy Repotting

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.

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  1. marlenebertrand · October 25, 2013

    My neighbor had some of these sword ferns growing in her yard. They crept over into my yard and I really enjoyed them. Then, she cut them down because she thought I was upset that she had let them grow over into my yard. I should have told her how much I enjoyed them.

    • Arlene Poma · October 26, 2013

      They are so easy to grow! She can always split them and share them with you. Seems like I’m splitting those ferns every year. Maybe one day, I’ll get smart and stick all of them in the ground.

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