How to Grow a Japanese Painted Fern

The vibrant colors of a Japanese painted fern look beautiful growing next to other flowers or under any tree. The fern thrives on partial sunlight and highly acidic soil. The Japanese painted fern is fairly easy to take care of, and it grows next to other plants without fighting over root space or water. Many gardeners consider this fern as the prized jewel in their gardens.

Tools You May Need:

(Read through entire article to determine which tools you need.)

    * Japanese painted fern

    * Compost or mulch

    * Garden shovel

    * Sharp kitchen knife

Step 1 - Plant or Transplant the Fern

Whether you are planting a new Japanese painted fern or are transplanting an existing one to save it, finding a good spot for the plant is the hardest part of caring for it. Japanese painted ferns need to have partial sunlight, so planting the fern under the east side of a tree will give it the perfect morning sunlight and shade it from the harsh noon sun. Plant the fern with plenty of natural compost or mulch to give the fern acidic nutrients.

Step 2 - Water the Fern

Make sure to water your fern right after planting, to eliminate any air pockets that may have formed during planting or transplanting. Make sure to water the fern about once every 2 weeks, or once a week if you live in areas with extreme heat, such as in the desert. Japanese painted ferns are hardy plants, and they do not need to be watered often, but if you forget to water your fern every 2 weeks, it will lose it color and begin to droop.

Step 3 - Deal with Bug Problems

Any garden can encounter a bug problem, especially if the garden hosts plants that harvest food. If you encounter a bug problem with your Japanese painted fern, you can use a weak bug spray or buy some ladybugs to remove other bugs without harming any plants in your garden. If you realize this bug problem too late, the bugs will eat the leaves completely off the fern. If this happens, don’t panic; the fern should grow back next year just as full as it was before.

Step 4 - Divide Your Fern (Optional)

Dividing your fern is completely optional, but it can be a good way to have more Japanese painted ferns around the yard without you buying more. To divide the fern, remove it from the soil and cut right down the middle of the fern with the sharp knife. Make sure to cut down the middle of the bulb as well so there are roots on both sides. If the plant is not properly divided, the smaller half of the fern will die. After dividing the fern, plant both sides of the fern separately. If you are planting the ferns side by side, make sure to leave about a foot between them.

After you replant the ferns, make sure to care for them as explained above, and you can enjoy the painted ferns for years to come.