Skip to Content

When To Transplant Ferns [And How To]

It is incredible how quickly ferns reproduce, even without flowers and seeds. So to enjoy the most benefit of these lovely plants and keep them healthy, you might wonder when is the best time to transplant ferns. We have conducted our research on when and how to transplant ferns to help you keep your landscape flourishing. 

The ideal time to transplant ferns is in early spring or fall. And it would be best to transplant them just as the fiddlehead begins to develop.

If you want a more detailed explanation about when you should transplant ferns, we suggest you keep reading. We will also share in detail how to do it correctly. So, without further ado, please read on and enjoy!

Closeup hands of Woman transplanting a fern, a houseplant. Concept of home garden. Flower and garden shop - When To Transplant Ferns [And How To]

When Should You Transplant A Fern?

close up of green ferns in a botanical garden

Fall or early spring is the best time to transplant a fern because the temperature is generally cool, and a lot of moisture is present. Ferns love to be in a cool and moist environment to grow healthy.

Beautiful Close Up View Of Fresh Green Young Wild Ferns Plantation Bud In Spiral Form With Shallow Depth Of Field In The Forest

Additionally, you must be very cautious and gentle with fiddleheads while transplanting the ferns because they are vulnerable to damage since they are too delicate. Lastly, while transplanting it during fall, it would help to wait until the fronds of the fern become brown.

How To Transplant Ferns?

Closeup hands of Woman transplanting a fern, a houseplant. Concept of home garden. Flower and garden shop.

There are various species of ferns. And it would be best to know what species of fern you are going to transplant and what are the growing requirements you should consider before starting the process.

Excavate a hole around the fern first. Draw the fern out by the roots instead of the fronds, which will rip the plant. Moreover, accumulate as much soil as possible with the fern while pulling it.

The safest period to transplant ferns is when they are dormant in the early spring or fall. Lastly, it would greatly help if you ensure that you fulfill the particular soil and light necessities of the destination location.

Step-by-step Method On Transplanting Ferns

Man hand with scissors to prune green fern on garden table in apartment balcony

Before anything else, you should prepare the tools and materials you will need for the transplanting process.

  • Prepare a sharp and clean shovel or spade.
  • A knife will also come in handy to cut off any stuck fronds or undesired roots on the ferns.
  • Additionally, you should also prepare organic mulch and compost for them.
  • And lastly, provide a watering can and plant food. You will need them after you finish transplanting the ferns.

1. Dig Around The Fern

With your shovel or spade, excavate a circle around the fern. We suggest digging straight down to allow you to remove the majority of the root ball. Then remove the fern cluster and its roots. In addition, you should brush the soil away from the roots with a brush or your hands as you do this step.

Gently cut and divide the fern's roots into halves or quarters with a knife. And as you split the roots, you must take note that each batch of roots has some leaves maturing on it.

As mentioned earlier, it is crucial to know what species of fern you are working on to understand its growing requirements. Also, to have a successful Fern transplanting, considering the growth environment required by the fern can result in the death of the plant.

It will help if you find a new location with soil that is the same as the one you have dug out.

Furthermore, you should prepare the new location with an adequate amount of organic mulch. Also, you must verify that the location doesn't get direct sunlight. Ferns favor soil that is abundant in nutrients and drains well.

At the new spot, you have chosen, excavate a hole the same size as the previous one. And as you dig, you must add compost into the soil to improve its fertility.

Now, you will need to place each batch of Fern into the holes you set up. After that, you should cover the roots with compost. And to make the Ferns adjust to their new surroundings, you need to cram them down.

3. Water The Ferns 

Woman watering a fern, a houseplant. Concept of home garden. Flower and garden shop.

For the third step, you will have to give your freshly transplanted ferns adequate water. It will help if you water them weekly until you notice they are already well-established.

Always remember that ferns grow excellently in a moist environment, so, as much as possible, don't let them dry out! Lastly, note that if you place the newly transplanted ferns in full shade, you may not need to water them a lot.

4. Organic Mulch Requirements

If you provide your ferns mulch, you should give them a thick layer. And it should ideally have cedar bark and pine needles in it.

It would be best to give them mulch during the growing period. Doing such will keep the soil have adequate moisture and protect it from weed growth.

5. Fertilization

Ferns need only a little fertilizer since they grow well with enough moisture and thick layers of organic mulch. If you give them too much fertilizer, they might obtain growth problems.

To assist your fern plants in flourishing, you can add compost, leaves, or worm castings to improve the soil. As much as possible, avoid utilizing commercial fertilizers on the transplanted ferns.

How To Transplant Ferns From Ground To A Pot?

1. Prepare The Gardening Pot

To begin with, you should prepare a pot that contains drainage holes. Using this kind of pot will help help your ferns remove excess water, thus preventing root damage.

As much as possible, avoid putting the fern in a pot that has too much space because there is a possibility that the plant will drown due to excess water. Additionally, you don't need a deep gardening pot for your ferns since they have shallow roots.

2. Prepare The Potting Mix

To prepare the potting mix for your ferns, you should put gardening soil, peat moss, and sand in equal parts. And once you finish mixing the three elements, we'd like to remind you that you next need to pasteurize it to ensure that no bacteria will exist in it.

3. Pasteurize The Potting Mix

To pasteurize the potting mix, you will need to cover it using foil and bake it in an oven. Note that the temperature you should set is at 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Be sure to allow the potting mix to cool before transferring it to the pot. Then dampen the potting mix by adding water.

4. Dig The Fern Out

Using your shovel or spade, dig the fern out. Carefully pull the root system and break the soil gently. Moreover, you need to shake the root ball to lessen the remaining soil from it. You can refer to the previous instructions we'd provided for transplanting for easy removal tools and tips.

5. Replant The Fern

For the last step, you will have to replant the fern in the gardening pot and cover the root ball with more  potting mix. Keep watering the fern until the soil is already moist and the gardening pot releases excess water out of its drainage holes. Lastly, place your newly transplanted fern in a location with low light.

How To Transplant An Overgrown Fern?

Examine your fern plants and determine if they need replanting. The ideal time to transplant your fern is when they have already expanded out of the pot.

Fill a shallow pot with a soil-less growing medium. The gardening soil should have a peat content of 50 percent. Allow enough space for the roots to grow because you should not let them suffocate in a small pot.

Snip the large fern into smaller pieces, halves, quarters, or thirds. Put each piece in individual pots. If you choose a larger pot, halving it will work perfectly. Wrap the roots of the ferns with the soil-less medium after placing them in the gardening pots. Lastly, water them continually to keep their soil damp.

Can I Transplant Ferns That Came From The Wild?

Unfortunately, no. It is generally forbidden in most areas to transplant Ferns from the wild. Illegally transplanting ferns from the wild results in the extinction of some fern species. The only fern plants you can transplant are the ferns growing on your property or inside your home.

Wrap It All Up

Beautiful fern leaf texture in nature. Natural ferns background Fern leaves Close up ferns nature. Fern plants in forest Background of the ferns Nature concept. Green ferns nature. Natural floral fern

Now that you already know when is the best time to transplant Ferns and how to do it, then maybe you can start transplanting and produce more of them. Fern is a great plant that can excellently contribute to the visual appeal of your property!

We hope you find this post enjoyable. And if you want to read more, you can visit our website anytime, or you might want to check the articles below. Additionally, if you have further questions, you can leave a comment below, and we'd love to answer you!

5 Best Fertilizers For Norfolk Island Pine [And How Much To Use]

How Much Does It Cost To Rent A Lawn Mower? [Is Buying One Cheaper?]

When Does Bermuda Grass Grow? [And When Does It Go Dormant]