The Q&A Archives: Ferns & Fertilizer

Question: I have an area in my yard that is quite shaded by a grouping of five birch trees. I have planted several varieties of ferns beneath them. What is the best type of plant food/fertilizer to assure healty, productive ferns?

Answer: Ferns thrive in shady spots, in rich, moist soil. You can spread a few inches of aged-compost or peat moss over the bed to provide nutrients to the ferns and help suppress weed growth, or you can feed lightly every two weeks during the growing season with a diluted fish-emulsion or other organic fertilizer. Ferns are sensitive to salt-burn so if you use pelleted fertilizer formulations, apply very lightly to the soil, keeping the fertilizer away from the fronds and centers of the plants.

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