QUESTION: Is there a way to save Boston ferns over the winter without bringing them into the house? The ferns I had on my porch this year were large and beautiful. Indoors, they drop leaves and make a mess. Can I keep them in the garage?
Most experts suggest the best way to keep Boston ferns over the winter is to bring them in and treat them like house plants. Unless your garage has a window that allows bright light to enter, it’s probably not the best option.
Southern Living Garden Book provides a method that may minimize leaf drop: “In fall, use sharp scissors to cut back all side fronds to the rim of the pot, leaving the top growth about 10 inches high. Place the pot indoors next to your brightest window and keep the soil fairly moist. By spring, your plant should be bushy again and ready for its return to the porch.”
Houseplant expert Barbara Pleasant (The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual) adds that Boston ferns need high humidity in addition to bright, filtered light, so daily misting is helpful. A light dose of balanced houseplant fertilizer every couple of weeks keeps them healthy.
It’s normal for them to shed leaves, she says, so keep scissors handy for clipping broken or brown fronds.
Fall is here and winter is on the way, but there’s still gardening to be done. Check out the Winter edition of the Garden Calendar in Saturday’s Tennessean.
Garden events in Middle Tennessee
Nov. 11: The Tennessee Gesneriad Society will meet at 2 p.m. in Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall. The program will be an African violet workshop. For more information contact Julie at Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-364-8459.
Nov. 17: The Nashville Tree Foundation hosts ReLeafing Day. Volunteers meet at 8 a.m. at Coleman Park, near Thompson Lane and Nolensville Road, to plant trees in the Woodbine area. Find more details and sign up to volunteer at www.nashvilletreefoundation.org or call 292-5175.
Nov. 20: The Perennial Plant Society meets at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall, with the program “Winter Landscape Maintenance for Woody Ornamentals” presented by UT Extension agent David Cook. Refreshments and plant swap at 6:30 p.m., meeting and program at 7 p.m. Open to the public.
Dec. 14: All About Gardening, 9 – 10:30 am. at Warner Park Nature Center. Learn when and how to grow an organic garden from naturalist Deb Beazley. Class is limited to 15 adults; call to register, 352-6299.
Jan. 6: The Nashville African Violet Club meets at the Green Hill meets at the Green Hill Women’s Center, 10905 Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet. For more information, contact Julie at Julie.email@example.com or 615-364-8459.