Ferns forum: Autumn Fern Issues

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Name: Lauren
Minnesota (Zone 4b)
Jul 18, 2017 10:26 AM CST
I am new to the gardening community and am trying my hand with ferns to start as houseplants. I bought an autumn fern from a local nursery about a month ago. I was keeping it in the shade (north facing window) and watering when it felt dry. Then, it started to look wilty. I put it in the bathroom to get more humidity and still nothing.

I was told to replace the soil with new soil since it has like white mold growing on top. I used some from our vegetable garden and pulled some moss from the lawn. But it is still getting shriveled up frons.

Any help please!? I really like how small this is and I am worried I killed it!
Thumb of 2017-07-18/PharmD/69e12d

Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Region: Alabama
Jul 18, 2017 4:42 PM CST
PharmD, Welcome!
I don't think garden soil is ever a good idea for indoor plants or potted plants of any kind. Of course I can't grow anything indoors, I always overwater or underwater. I have several large autumn ferns but they all grow outside. The only fern I tried to grow in a pot was Blue Fern and it died after a few years and never looked healthy. Maybe others can steer you in the right direction.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Jul 18, 2017 10:09 PM CST

I agree with @Seedfork about not using garden soil. I also have some large Autumn Ferns that grow outside. (Sorry that I can't give you the botanical name.)

I do know that some ferns like to live indoors and some prefer being outside. If your fern is indeed an autumn fern, then you might plant it outside and find a nice indoor fern. There are so many. One of my favorite local nurseries has a room dedicated to indoor ferns and it's really fun to walk thru there and see them all. (Don't tell anyone but sometimes I can't resist touching some of the ferns.)

One thing that indoor ferns love is to be misted. Get yourself a little spray bottle with water and lightly mist the plant daily. Might help.

Good luck.
Name: Lauren
Minnesota (Zone 4b)
Jul 19, 2017 1:51 PM CST
Thanks for responding. I originally bought the little autumn fern because my local nursery said they could be used indoors or outdoors and I found an article saying the same. I have a link to show you, but since I am still new it won't let me post it here

I used garden soil, which was a couple months fresh from miracle grow soil. We have more clay here where I live, so I knew if I could mix it in with soil, it would still retain moisture. But I just checked my little guy, and I have two little fiddle heads sticking up! So I must not have killed it!!!! I am so excited! I have learned my lesson in overwatering I think.

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