How To Overwinter Ferns. Best 3-Step Guide

If you want to know how to overwinter ferns, you can simplify the process into three steps. More than splitting ferns as part of maintenance and propagation, every gardener must learn the proper winter care for ferns. Remember that growing ferns is a year-round responsibility. 

You can treat ferns as house plants and grow them indoors, but some gardeners have them in their gardens. Therefore, you must have a greenhouse to shelter these plants, especially when your location experiences harsh winters. Much like with overwintering other plants, it’s advantageous to have a greenhouse for year-round growing. 

 

How To Overwinter Ferns. Best 3-Step Guide

How To Overwinter Ferns For Success

 

Step #1. Preparation

 

Dormancy

The first step for overwintering ferns is to encourage them to enter dormancy. You can do this by withholding watering and fertilization. Once you notice new shoots forming, you can resume these practices.

 

Acclimatization

You also want to help them get acclimated to the new indoor location for the winter. The greenhouse or any sheltered area would be best for overwintering ferns. However, the emphasis is necessary to never immediately move the plants in the new location without gradually getting them used to the conditions.

Therefore, the best time to bring the ferns indoors is before the first frost to give them enough time to adjust. More so, it’s impossible to recover plants that froze. Gardeners often use the garage for acclimatization before placing ferns indoors for the winter.

 

Plant arrangement

It would help if you also pruned the ferns, so only the new fronds will remain. This practice is necessary to prevent a mess from excessive growth when you bring them indoors. You don’t want to bring in any dead fronds.

Besides pruning, you also want to spray the plants to eliminate potential insects hiding in them. Check the underside of the leaves and inspect every part of the plant. More so, those who have potted ferns should repot them to a container one-third larger if they are rootbound to make watering easier later on. 

 

Step #2. Know your fern

The next step for overwintering ferns is knowing the plants you have. This will enable you to understand the ideal practices for them during the winter months. You must check your varieties’ specific needs, but you can also classify ferns into evergreen and deciduous.

 

Evergreen ferns

For example, evergreen ferns typically grow in zones 3 to 19. Therefore, these plants will remain green in the winter, hence the name. The winter practice you can do for evergreen ferns includes maintaining soil moisture and trimming back the fronds they have grown. 

 

Deciduous ferns

On the other hand, deciduous ferns are more likely to die back in the fall because they don’t stay green in the winter. Therefore, you must cut back the dead fronds and place them somewhere warm during the winter. You can also mulch them for further protection against the harsh winter temperatures. 

Overall, it’s worth noting that you can leave some ferns to dry up during the winter. With these species, you can let them naturally decompose, and they will still produce new fronds. You can then remove the dead fronds in the next spring because they will protect the crown anyway. 

 

Step #3. Adjust accordingly

The final step in overwintering ferns is the adjustment of their new location. In general, you must keep the indoors warm, but ensure that the ferns are not receiving direct light or heat. Remember that too much light or even a full sun will damage the plants and burn the foliage. 

Another practice that you must do is checking their soil and prevent it from drying. However, be mindful not to overwater the plants to avoid diseases. This is the reason why during repotting before overwintering, you should not select an overly large container. 

Do you need to fertilize ferns? Ferns don’t have to feed during the winter months. However, you may need to cut back the dead fronds by the end of the season around a few inches of the crown. 

 

How To Plant Ferns Outdoors

When can you place or plant the ferns outdoors after winter? You can resume outdoor growing after the danger of frost has passed. However, you must also ensure that the nighttime temperature is around 50°F before placing the plants outdoors to prevent problems. 

You should be aware of the ideal growing conditions of the fern species you’re growing at this point. For example, do they prefer shade or some sun? Either way, choose an area with fertile and well-draining soil and maintain soil moisture. 

 

Conclusion

The winter season doesn’t have to be a challenging time of the year for fern growers. Knowing how to overwinter ferns should help you keep these plants happy year-round. However, you must know your fern species’ specific conditions and requirements since some ferns should do well amidst the challenges in winter. 

Otherwise, it would be best if you encouraged them to undergo dormancy. Prepare the plants by pruning and hosing them down before acclimating them gently indoors. It would help if you also repotted rootbound ferns before overwintering them. 

Then, place them in the greenhouse to protect from extreme cold. You don’t need direct lights or heat as it can damage the ferns more. Maintain soil moisture, and you should be able to place the plants outdoors by spring after the danger of frost has passed. 

 

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How To Prevent Root Rot In Hydroponics: 3 Useful Tips

If you’re a newbie gardener who’s looking to find ways to hone your skills, you’d want to learn how to prevent root rot in hydroponics even before this problem affects your plants.

Hydroponics can be advantageous to crops in more ways than one. However, it also comes with risks of diseases, such as root rot, which can be destructive or even lethal to your plants.

Unfortunately, there are no effective methods to recover the wilted parts that were affected by the root rot once it hits your plants. The only thing you can do if you do not want this catastrophe to befall your crops is to prevent it before it happens. Read on to learn more about this subject.

 

What is Root Rot?

Root rot is a disease that attacks the plant roots and causes them to suffer decay. This usually happens when a lack of oxygen supply occurs in the substrate.

To give you an idea, think about plant roots that are submerged in water that only has a little oxygen in it. Over time, the plant suffocates and dies.

Aside from rot and decay, this disease also leads to the proliferation of fungi that are naturally present in the soil. These include Rhizoctonia, Alternaria, Pythium, Botrytis, Fusarium, or Phytophthora. As soon as fungi colonies start to grow, they tend to target the weakened roots and infect your precious plant babies.

Once the plant becomes infected, they won’t be able to take in what they need to grow – water, oxygen, and other nutrients. When this happens, it won’t be long before the plant dies.

 

What is Hydroponics?

In case you’re not aware, the term hydroponic is derived from a Latin word that means “working water”. To put it simply, hydroponics is an art that involves growing various types of plants without soil. If you’re like most people, the first thing that comes to mind when somebody talks about hydroponics would be a picture of plants with roots suspended into the water without using any type of growing medium.

 

Avoiding Root Rot in Hydroponic Systems

Detecting and identifying root rot can be tricky. When your plants get infected, their leaves and roots gradually wither until the whole crop itself dies from the lack of nutrients, which is a common symptom of many diseases.

 

What causes root rot in hydroponics?

One of the requirements in hydroponics systems is oxygen. Without it, your plants are basically on the road to death. On the other hand, lack of such is one of the major triggers for root rot, and it must be avoided at all costs.

Just like when planting in soil, you loosen up the ground so that your plants’ roots can have their required intake of oxygen. That is the case for crops grown in aqueous solutions as well. If they cannot breathe, they would not be able to grow.

Another agent for root rot is the temperature. The last thing you would want in your system are parasites that leech nutrients intended for your plants and infect the water during the process. In common terms, these fungi are called molds.

One of the best breeding grounds for these is warm and moist areas. For this reason, if the water temperature inside your reservoir is high, then you are susceptible to it. Something as minor as letting the solutions exposed to sunlight can already be a risk factor.

 

3 Useful Tips on How to prevent root rot in hydroponics

There is good news! Root rot in hydroponics can be prevented! Just follow these tips:

Tip#1: Use the right air pump

If you do not want root rot to affect your plants, you merely have to avoid its causes. If you need oxygen, keep the water bubbling by providing an air pump of appropriate size, and also give importance to proper ventilation in the room.

 

Tip #2: Maintain the temperature

The temperature should be maintained within the 70 to 80 degrees F range. Get rid of any materials that can make your system vulnerable to infections, and make sure not to disturb your crops while they are trying to grow.

 

Tip #3: Get rid of the rotten parts

However, if you failed in preventing the disease, then the rotten parts should be removed immediately. Cut them off as there is no chance of reviving them, and focus on the potential new growth instead. Fix your hydroponics system and eliminate the risks.

 

Why Give Greenhouse Gardening a Try?

Greenhouse gardening offers numerous benefits to greens aficionados who dare to take their gardening experience to the next level. Aside from acting as a shield against the effects of inclement weather, a mini, hobby, or semi-pro greenhouse can also serve as a protective layer that keeps harmful bugs and critters at bay.

What’s more, its enclosed structure allows you to control your plants’ growing conditions including the temperature, light, moisture, and ventilation of the greenhouse’s internal environment. With a controlled environment, you’ll be able to extend growing seasons and grow plants that aren’t native to your area.

 

Conclusion

No matter how well-informed you are about how to prevent root rot in hydroponics, you cannot completely eradicate the risks. Therefore, to avoid the worst-case scenario, you should be prepared to sacrifice the infected for the sake of others. While you’re at it, consider trying your hand at greenhouse gardening as well.

 

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