Houseplants forum: Dull and overgrown Kimberly Queen Fern

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Name: Amanda David
Michigan
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asanderd
Aug 17, 2016 1:53 PM CST
My family was gifted with a Kimberly Queen Fern as a bereavement gift for my Aunt's passing. This is the first houseplant we have had in decades because we have cats. After calling a few nurseries and confirming the plant was safe, only then did we bring it home. We are houseplant ignorant and have no idea what to do with it. To me it looks like a hot mess and overgrown. I placed some Miracle Grow houseplant food sticks in the pot and noticed several spot where's there's gaps between the plant and the pot there is no soil in these areas. I know it needs more soil, but there is no space at the base to fit handfuls of soil to getvthe gaps filled. Should I pull it from the pot to make sure there are no gaps in the bottom and replace it with more soil or do I divide it and in several pots? This plant is massive. My uncle said that with the soil and pot was easily 80lbs. I want this plant to thrive but it just looks dull and overgrown to me
Thumb of 2016-08-17/asanderd/5c6ad3

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[Last edited by asanderd - Aug 17, 2016 2:48 PM (+)]
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Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
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Bubbles
Aug 17, 2016 2:04 PM CST
@asanderd Kimberly Queens can get huge. It's hard to see the pot, but I would think it needs a larger pot. It may also like to be outside if you are in an area where the weather is warm and sunny. I usually take a large bread knife and divide mine in the spring. They bounce back quickly. Not knowing your zone or country, I would guess you could take it out of the pot and see if adding more soil is feasible. Welcome to NGA!
Name: Amanda David
Michigan
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asanderd
Aug 17, 2016 2:08 PM CST
I live in Michigan in zones 5 and 6. I thought about putting it out on our covered porch, but my mom is afraid of whet we'll bring in with it come fall. The pot is huge as well, it's probably almost 24" at the widest spot.
Shoot for the Moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the Stars! - Les Brown
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Master Gardener: Texas
Region: Texas Tropicals Plumerias Ferns Greenhouse Garden Art
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Bubbles
Aug 17, 2016 2:22 PM CST
Well, I'd pull it out of the pot and see if it needs more soil. I'm sure someone else will come in and help you also, but if you can put it outside (maybe on a stand) it will be much happier than in the house. You can always check it for bugs before taking it in for fall by shaking it and giving it a good spraying with the hose. As for the space at the bottom of the pot, it won't hurt the fern if you need to cut off the bottom of the fern if it has filled the pot. Take maybe 2" off, fill space with fresh soil, and replace fern. Fill in space around the fern with fresh soil.

More importantly, is it getting enough light?
Name: Amanda David
Michigan
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asanderd
Aug 17, 2016 2:54 PM CST
We have it in front of our fireplace right now, but that is right next to two western facing windows. Our covered porch is shaded for the most part. It gets some sun in the morning but then all shade.
Shoot for the Moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the Stars! - Les Brown
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Master Gardener: Texas
Region: Texas Tropicals Plumerias Ferns Greenhouse Garden Art
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Bubbles
Aug 17, 2016 3:40 PM CST
Well, hopefully someone with more expertise with house plants will come in and answer your question. I have all my ferns outside, so I'm not going to be much help on keeping one indoors. Thumbs up
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
Aug 20, 2016 11:33 AM CST
Your Fern looks neither dull or overgrown to me. It appears to be quite healthy, so I would be very careful about trying to "fix" it unnecessarily. The less you disturb the roots, the better the plant will be.

If there are spaces between the sides of the rootball and the inside of the pot, then it was probably repotted recently and maybe not done very well. Use a peat-based potting mix and push it down into the spaces along the sides. Don't worry about the space beneath the rootball. If there is such a space, the soil will find its way down there via gravity.

Keep the soil of your Fern damp, but not constantly wet. Fertilize sticks tend to create "hot spots" and can damage nearby roots so I suggest removing them.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Name: Alyssa Blue
Ohio (Zone 5b)
Bloom where you're planted
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AlyssaBlue
Aug 23, 2016 8:20 AM CST
I agree with Will, it looks good to me in the photo. Perhaps it looks different in person? I water my Boston fern with a very low dose water soluble fertilizer every time I water and it does very well. I mix it up in gallon containers and have it ready to go for watering all my plants, that way they have a constant level of nutrients. I don't like the fertilizer sticks, they become an area of green mush in the soil.

Additional thought- ferns take dividing easily, so if it's too cumbersome as a giant fern, and you want say, 4 smaller plants, that's ok to do too! Take the plant out of the container and use a knife to divide into however many pieces you would prefer. If you decide to do so, I wouldn't wait too long- best time to do this is spring/summer.
[Last edited by AlyssaBlue - Aug 23, 2016 9:03 AM (+)]
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