Even though some claim frosty fern care can be challenging, they’re a generally low care indoor plant if you know the basics.
But before we get into the basics of frosty fern care, here’s a little background information for your interest.
Frosty fern or the African clubmoss is a vascular plant species that grows naturally in the Azores and in some parts of the African mainland.
It belongs to the Selaginellaceae family.
But, the frosty fern isn’t actually a fern- it’s a variety of spike moss from the group of lycopods. However, it does behave like a fern, i.e. it reproduces through spores.
It’s a popular indoor year-round plant because it looks cute, lacey, friendly, and petite.
It adds a natural beauty to every space. Expect them to reach around 8 inches in height if you keep them inside.
Since they’re small, they’re not too demanding in terms of light. A frosty fern wants to be exposed to a bright area, but not direct sun.
Another important factor to consider is humidity- they love plenty of it, at least 70 percent.
As this is quite higher than the humidity in the average home, you need to ensure proper moisture and increase the humidity.
This can be achieved by placing a tray of pebbles and water or keeping the plant in a terrarium.
However, if you have pets like cats or dogs, keep the plant away from them- some of its parts can be toxic. Some varieties may also be toxic to humans and cause contact dermatitis!
The common name comes from its specific white color on new growths which make the tips look like they’re frosted.
How to Care for Frosty Ferns
Frosty ferns enjoy good brightness; however, they shouldn’t be directly exposed to sunlight.
Go for bright indirect sun-light enough to read a book, but not too much that it harms the eyes.
Make sure you place your frosty fern in an office or a room in your home where the temperature doesn’t go below 50 degrees F.
It will thrive the most when it grows in a temperature around 60 or 70 degrees F; however, anything much higher isn’t recommended.
Water & Humidity
Regularly water your frosty fern to ensure healthy and happy growth. This can be once or twice per week in spring and summer.
In the colder months, water the soil only when it feels dry after you insert a finger into the soil an inch or two.
Also, grow it in a pot that has drainage and carry it out after it begins to leak from it. If possible, use rainwater or purified water.
Frosty fern care also means upping the humidity, especially in the winter when air tends to be drier.
A good way to maximize the humidity is to use a humidifier or fill a tray with pebbles and water and place it underneath the tray.
When the level of water reduces, add more. Avoid using a plant mister too much since it may lead to fungal growth on the foliage.
Opt for a well-drained soil that you’ll keep moist all the time, but not soggy. Its pH range should be between 5.5 and 6.
Make sure you pick a soil which is mostly organic and this will reduce the need for external feeding.
Your frosty fern will do well in a high-quality potting mix and a good drainage system pot.
Frosty Fern Fertilizing
When the soil is lacking organic nutrients, you can apply a houseplant fertilizer, especially one rich in nitrogen.
Do the fertilizing once a week during the spring. In winter, do it once every two weeks. Dilute the fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Don’t forget to check up on it for any possible side effects like yellowing or wilting. If you notice this, stop the fertilizing.
Repotting Frosty Ferns
Frosty fern will keep on growing until it becomes too small for the current pot. So, repotting it properly and regularly will boost its growth.
Do the transplant every spring. Go for a pot that’s 2 inches deeper or 2 inches wider than the current one.
Make sure it has drainage holes and use new quality soil.
Gently take out the plant from the previous pot and loosen it up a bit from the soil, removing most of it around the roots. If there are any damaged roots, cut them.
Spread the plant well into the new pot and add more soil. Pat it down and water it. Make sure you wait for at least 4 to 6 months before fertilizing it.
Frosty Fern Propagation
The multiplying of this plant is done easily through stem cuts.
Cut a part of a stem and press into moist soil and then keep it highly humid by covering the pot with a plastic bag or a transparent dome.
The root will grow in a week’s time.
Best Frosty Fern Species
This compact cultivar is a tender, cushion-forming perennial with trailing stems and well-divided and light green leaves.
It’s also an awesome green mat suitable for small terrariums.
This variation is one of the favorite frosty ferns because of its new growth that boasts lighter color at the tips.
This variety is popular in terrariums thanks to its stiff branching finger pattern and a bright color.
Frosty fern is considered an invasive species in New Zealand or a threat to the native plant life in their country.
A common misconception about this plant is that it’s resistant to cold.
The truth is that the word ‘frosty’ in its name comes from its whitish leaf tips that get brighter when winter approaches.
Trouble Shooting- Common Frosty Fern Care Issues
Problem: Dried or browned leaves & limp foliage
Cause: Temperature swings, too much direct sunlight or lack of humidity
Solution: Move the plant to a less sunlight-exposed area and one with a constant temperature above 50 degrees F. Also, boost the humidity.
Problem: Fungal growth on the foliage
Cause: Low temperature (lower than 50 degrees F).
Solution: Move the plant in an area where the temperature is regularly above 50 degrees F.
Problem: Crispy & brown leaf tips
Cause: Dry air, especially in wintertime.
Solution: Spray the plant occasionally or place a tray with water and pebbles underneath.
I hope you have enjoyed this frosty fern care guide.
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