How to Divide Overgrown Ferns – Detail Guide from The Expert’s


It’s getting close to autumn, and it’s the perfect time to trim and split your overgrown ferns to ensure they can continue to grow next year. It will help you save money on your gardening expenses and provide you with an additional set of ferns to embellish within the coming spring and summer! Often the conclusion of the growing season is an end for Ferns. Particularly ferns that are growing in hanging baskets or containers. At the beginning of autumn, many ferns have reached the point of being so large that they’re impossible to maintain. In the beginning, while stunning with their huge foliage and fronds, most ferns start to develop their roots, so at the end of the season, they’ve occupied all the space in their container. This article will explain how to divide overgrown ferns.

How to divide overgrown ferns

This can make watering the plant a challenging task. The root-bound, overgrown soil can absorb any water when it is watered. The water given to the plant goes straight through the plant’s roots and then to the base of the container or basket. The plants have increased to such a massive size that it’s challenging to locate the space needed to bring them inside for winter. Unfortunately, all of these problems usually lead to the majority of ferns being destroyed to be discarded.

Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be this way for your ferns. The process of saving the ferns is much more straightforward than you think! Over-sized ferns can be cut in early autumn to produce smaller plants. Doing this in late summer or early autumn will leave ample time to allow new transplants to establish some new leaves. Afterward, they can be moved indoors to stay warm and used the following year again.

Read below tips to divide overgrown ferns.

Trimming your fern back

While ferns can be divided at any time in the growing season, division in the fall allows you to grow plants that are manageable to keep inside. A few days before the time to divide your ferns and stop watering the plant. This allows root growth to decrease a small amount, making cutting the roots much easier. Start by cutting the plant. Then, with a quality pair of scissors, hedge shears, or clippers, cut the entire plant to just a few millimeters.

This can be beneficial both ways. The first is that it makes division and transplanting much easier. With lesser fronds and foliage in your way, a plant’s work is much easier. In addition, it allows the growth of new plants to develop quicker as it does not need to work through the old leaves. After cutting the fronds from the plants, put the cut pieces in your compost pile. They are not only great for your compost pile, but they are also another way that your plant will contribute to the landscape!

Removing the fern

It’s time to take the fern from its pot. At this time of the year, it’s just a matter of turning the container over and gently pulling the fern out. It is possible to use a knife to rid the roots of any which have developed through the holes in the bottom of the container for easier removal. Don’t worry if you have to pull a bit on the plant to take it off. The ferns are sturdy and can take a little jolting to let go. If you remove a handful of roots during your process, you won’t cause harm to it in any manner.

Dividing the fern

Now is the time to cut the fern into smaller divisions. With a sharp shovel or knife (A Hori Hori Knife is ideal for this, as are numerous other gardening chores!) Divide the roots from the fern into equal parts to make new plants. The majority of potted ferns can be divided into three pieces for an ideal-sized transplant. These plants are easily repotted to keep them warm and remain a good fern in spring and summer.

Re-Potting the fern

It’s time to plant your divisions of ferns! The first thing to consider before planting is the container size. Ferns don’t thrive when there’s too much space in a container, so choose containers around one-quarter to a third more significant than the root division of the plant for the best results. Start by filling the bottom of the container with high-quality potting mix. After that, put the transplant down in the container. It is then filled to the edges with the potting soil, gently firming it until it reaches the plant’s roots. There is no reason to fertilize ferns right now. Ferns need minimal extra nutrients to flourish. Selecting a top-quality, good-quality potting soil will have sufficient nutrients to support healthy growth.

Bringing indoors

If you do it early enough in the fall, and if temperatures aren’t freezing at night, put it in a shaded outdoor area. The warmer weather can help start the new growth before bringing it indoors—the typical time to notice new growth within a couple of weeks. When the possibility of frost appears in the future, it’s time to bring your plants inside. Don’t worry if there isn’t any new growth yet. Ferns will continue to grow and grow indoors and then get ready for spring.

Ferns are winter-hardy and do best indoors with moderate, indirect lighting. A cool basement with indirect light from a basement well window is ideal. Also, the corner of the room gets a little light from a nearby window. Avoid facing windows to the south, or place the plant right within the window. The delicate leaves of ferns are prone to get burned from sunlight’s rays and the warmth that enters through the glass.

Indoor care

In indoor gardens, the ferns are more affected by excess watering than they do from not receiving enough. Therefore, water is only when the soil is arid. This will allow the roots of the plant to grow as they please and not die because of excessive water. As spring begins to return and the plants are brought back outside once the risk of frost has gone. Allow them to acclimatize gradually, and by the mid-spring season at its peak, your plants will be flourishing! It is time to stop throwing the ferns you have this year. Instead, try to divide your ferns so that they get even more attractive in the coming season!

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