Updated at: 14-05-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

Keeping and storing your hanging basket and container ferns for the following year is surprisingly simple!

Patios, porches, and other shady areas of outdoor spaces look great when decorated with ferns. They not only prefer, but flourish in, the shade, unlike other outdoor plants.

Having to buy and redecorate with new ferns every year can be expensive, unfortunately. Because of this, you don’t have to do it.

One of the most straightforward plants to overwinter is the humble fern. Ferns need only a little attention in the fall, and a chilly, but well-protected, indoor environment to thrive.

Furthermore, recycling them not only saves you money but also allows you to grow more plants!

How To Save Ferns – The Simple Secrets To Success

Avoiding A Hard Frost or Freeze

Get them out of harm’s way before the terrible cold sets in. That’s the first step towards protecting ferns. Frost and freezing are not good for ferns, but they can take a little chill.

How To Save Your Ferns! Bringing Ferns Indoors For The Winter

Plants should be taken indoors or covered when temperatures begin to decrease in the middle to late fall.

It’s too late to salvage a fern once it’s been damaged by a heavy cold or frost. It’s a good idea to get your fern ready for overwintering now, before it gets too cold.

Cutting Back / Pruning

Pruning is the first step in getting your plants ready to spend the winter indoors. Anyone who has ever raised a fern knows that during the hot summer months, they can surely get rather huge.

To get a more manageable indoor plant, start by trimming back any long strands of leaves. If necessary, don’t be afraid to shave off several inches of extra growth. It will, in fact, regrow over time.

It’s time to give your plant a vigorous spray with your garden hose to remove any remaining bugs. Any clippings will be removed, as well as any bugs that may have set up camp in the plant.

Remove the leaves and spray the plant completely to kill it. Nobody wants to give any outdoor insects a second chance at life!

You can bring your plant indoors at this point, unless it’s grown too large and needs to be split. We’ve given step-by-by-step instructions at the end of the article to address this concern.

Bringing Indoors – Saving Ferns

Before bringing your fern home, make sure it is completely dry and free of splits. To ensure they are entirely dry, we place them on our clothesline and let them air dry for an entire afternoon.

Next, it’s time to look for a place to spend the winter. In order to keep the area from freezing, it must be kept at a reasonable temperature. Although a basement is a popular choice, a garage or an unoccupied nook in a cool room can also serve as an ideal storage location.

Ferns can survive the winter without the need for direct sunlight or intense light. In fact, the plant’s leaves can be burned by too much light coming in via a window.

As a result, avoid placing them near windows that face south. They’ll do OK with just a little light from a garage window or even a basement well window.

Winter Care

There is no need for fertilizing, or for much care at all for that matter beyond an occasional watering. Check the soil every 5 to 7 days, and water only when the soil has completely dried out.

You don’t need to fertilize, and you don’t need to give it any attention beyond watering it every now and then. The soil should be checked once every 5 to 7 days, and water should be applied only if the soil is absolutely dry.

Be prepared for the plant to look less than its best. Until spring returns, the leaves will develop a darker shade. In addition, some will be blown away and land on the ground. You don’t have anything to worry about!

As warm temperatures return, allow your plant to go back outside to regain it’s strength, vigor, and color. Protect it from spring frosts and freezes as well. Let’s move on to the ferns, shall we?

How To Overwinter Ferns. Best 3-Step Guide - Krostrade

Saving Ferns – Repotting & Dividing

This time of year is ideal for splitting and transplanting if your ferns are very huge or have outgrown their pots. Generally speaking, if you want to preserve the fern the same size for the following year, divide it into three equal parts.

You should remove all of the foliage from the base of the plant while splitting and dividing it. Repotting the fern is as simple as filling in the container with a quality potting soil and watering it thoroughly. Making Great Homemade Potting Soil: A Step-by-Step Guide

Additional plants can be added by repotting the remaining divisions. Over the winter, the cuttings will help the ferns regenerate some, but once they’re in the ground, they’ll grow fully again.

Visit our sister site This Is My Garden for further instructions on how to divide. See: Fall Fern Division

Saving your ferns for next year and reducing your gardening expenses are two great reasons to do it. Jim and Mary wish you luck in the garden.

As always, you may reach out to us via email at [email protected] with any thoughts or inquiries you may have. Sign up for our free email list in the middle of this article to receive our three Home, Garden, Recipe, and Simple Life stories each week. Please be aware that this content may contain affiliate links.

What is the lowest temperature ferns can handle?

Unlike most ferns, the Boston ferns are unique.

They don’t tolerate the cold all too well. Some ferns can handle temperature dips to the extremes (-45F), but Boston ferns are the opposite.

They can’t handle the cold very well. There are certain ferns that can withstand temperatures of -45F, but there are other Boston ferns that can’t.

40F is the lowest temperature that can be recorded. Any lower, and you’ll end up with a Boston fern that can’t handle the cold.

Can Boston fern survive winter indoors?

Overwintering your Boston fern in your home is one of the most common methods.

A place that is warm, dark, and devoid of excess moisture is the ideal place to winterize your vehicle.

It’s a good idea to store the items in a garage, living room, or basement. It can’t be pitch black, but there must be some illumination. It works best with soft, filtered indirect light.

Make sure you don’t use grow lights or place them near windows that are too bright.

Can Boston ferns survive a freeze?

Not at all. Keep your Boston warm all year round. Ever.

If you want it to go dormant, you should expose it to the first frost, but this is just playing with fire. It’ll wilt if it’s exposed to low temperatures for an extended period.

How to overwinter Boston ferns

To properly winterize these adorable little ferns, you need to know when to begin preparations, prune them, and then relocate them to a protected location.

If you’d want to know exactly what to do, we’ll walk you through each step.

When to cut back

The first thing you should do to make them ready for the winter is prune them.

Because Boston ferns can’t handle the cold, it’s best to cut them back in the fall.

It’s best to prune them back in October or November if you’re growing in hardiness zone 10-12.

Here are some guidelines for the pruning process:

Begin a clean pair of your favorite pruners and get to work. In order to sterilize them, soak them in rubbing alcohol. This prevents any fungal or plant viruses from infecting your fern’s newly cut leaves.

Pruning tools are needed. Remove the largest clumps of vegetation. Cutting across these strands should be simple. It’s as simple as making a sandwich, then folding it and slicing it in half.

Cut a few inches off your measurements. It will regrow. The more leaves you leave out, the greater the chance of pests and disease-causing organisms feasting on them throughout the winter.

Afterwards, clean out the plant of any clippings that may have gotten stuck in there.

To shake the plant, hold it firmly in place in a container and then flip it upside down. In order to make this work, you’ll need a smaller Boston.

Using a garden hose, rinse your plant well to remove any remaining particles. Make sure there is no lingering foliage. These are bug traps.

It’s time to call it a day. Your fern should still have a few inches of leaves left when you’re finished.

You don’t have to reduce it to nothing if you want to get a jump on next year.

But don’t be afraid to trim it back with your pruners. After all, you’ll need to trim back your Boston fern to bring into your home for the winter if it’s grown too large. In the end, it’s useless if it’s cumbersome.

The type of Boston fern you have may necessitate slightly different trimming methods. Keep this in mind.

Even so, the process should be quite identical to the preceding procedures.

Bringing it inside

The position where you place your Boston fern is crucial.

To keep an eye on your plant on a daily basis, you’ll want to position it wherever you can see it. There’s little doubt about it: Fern-lovers agree.

The ideal spot to store your Boston fern for the winter is:

  • That’s great!
  • No draughts
  • Only a sliver of light
  • Keep pets at a safe distance from your home.
  • avoiding physical contact with surfaces such as walls and other objects
  • Tile would be ideal.

The ideal temperature is between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

During the winter, Boston ferns don’t need light. Make sure the light is filtered if you keep it near a window, or it will burn your plant leaves.

Keep them away from windows that face south or any other light source. They don’t need any additional light from you. Boston ferns enjoy shady conditions.

Fortunately, the lights in your home will suffice.

Keep an eye out for signs of stress, but don’t neglect them. If the weather has been particularly gloomy recently, you may need to supplement with additional lighting.

How To Keep Ferns Over The Winter - Dividing, Re-Potting & Winter Care


Watering ferns in the winter isn’t necessary. Only water it if the top inch of soil is completely dry. Take care not to overdo it with the watering.

Bugs, mildew, and fungus are the only things this attracts. Water your plants once a week at the most.

Plant food

During the winter, no fertilizer or plant food is required.

When it’s dormant it doesn’t need nourishment, so don’t do it.

After a few months of rest, it’ll be ready to start producing those precious greens for you all over again in the spring.


Your Boston fern won’t look its best in the winter.

Whatever color or shape it takes will be indicative of how unhappy it is. Wilting isn’t a problem. There isn’t any sunlight or plant food like there used to be, so why should it?

It won’t be able to produce the lush, vibrant greens that it can in the height of summer if these elements are missing.

Is that clear to you now?

Pruning away the unappealing leaves will allow the plant to continue its work. If you’re storing them indoors, it’ll help keep out bugs that might prey on them.

You don’t want your kitchen to be infested with pests! No, I’m afraid not.

When to bring your Boston ferns back out

Plants go into hibernation in winter so that they can start growing when spring arrives.

When the weather warms up and there are no more symptoms of frost, it’s time to slowly harden it off outside.

Over the course of a week, bring it out for a few hours each day.

You can then return it to its natural habitat in your yard, patio, or other outside area.

It will take some time for that foliage to grow back. This is a good time to resume fertilizing, watering, and normal photoperiods.

For it to lose those yellow or brown leaves from the winter, this is perfectly normal During the height of summer, it will be replaced by a canopy of dark green leaves.

How do I protect my Boston ferns from frost?

There are a few things you can do in your garden to keep it warm if you can’t bring it inside during the winter.

Some people choose to leave their plants in the ground, while others prefer to keep their ferns in a larger pot.

If you’re growing your Boston fern permanently outside, you’ll have to work extra hard to keep it vibrant and healthy over the winter.

Do what you can to bring it in. If this isn’t the case, things get complicated.

The following are some suggestions for keeping your garden warm in the winter:

  • Build a small-scale cold frame from scratch.
  • Make sure your plants are protected by coverings.
  • Apply 2-3 inches of organic mulch to the roots.
  • Put one to good use.
  • Utilize row coverings
  • Heaters should be used.
  • The DIY method is to build a small shelter with a few posts and a tarp.

There’s always the possibility of leaving your fern outside in the winter in a milder hardiness zone. As long as you live in a zone 10 or higher, you may be allowed to do this.

However, if you live in a lower zone with temperatures that fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, you may have difficulty keeping your fern outside during the winter. Too cold to do that.

Can you overwinter Boston fern in garage?

For the winter, your fern will thrive in your garage.

Why? It’s a sweltering, drizzly day. Exactly what the Boston Fern is looking for, in fact

Besides a few hours of light from the garage, there’s nothing else. You only need to water it once a week to keep it healthy.

Naturally, you should keep pruning it because it will eventually wilt its leaves if you don’t do so. Don’t let the bugs eat your fern because of these.

As long as you keep it there, keep an eye out for any rot or fungus.

If your garage lacks natural light due to the absence of window slits, you can temporarily install artificial illumination.

This ought to do the trick, I think. It’s not necessary to have a lot of light; a few hours a day of daylight spectrum illumination should suffice. Enough blue light at 6500 K.

How to make a Boston fern go dormant

When you prepare your Boston fern for the winter, it will naturally enter a dormant state. Winter dormancy begins when the ambient temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

When plants go into dormancy, they need less water, food, and light.

When to bring Boston ferns inside

Your Boston fern has to be brought indoors as soon as the weather gets colder.

This normally occurs in the late autumn or early winter, depending on your hardiness zone.

Bring it in before the first frost date, if possible. Check your weather prediction for cold spikes that could occur before the first evidence of frost.

Will Boston ferns grow back after winter?

There’s no reason they shouldn’t if you overwinter them properly. Due to their perennial nature, Boston ferns have a built-in mechanism for self-renewal each spring.

However, if your fern doesn’t seem to be recovering, the following possibilities exist:

  • Too much time was spent in the cold.
  • It was perished by the first few frosts.
  • Mold or a fungus was the source of the infection.
  • It was mishandled when it was being stored.
  • During the procedure, a plant vector became involved.
  • Moving it around caused it to experience plant shock.
  • It wasn’t thoroughly dried out before use.
  • Inadequately prepared for planting
  • In storage, it was not adequately hydrated.

Despite their tough character, Boston ferns can’t withstand long periods of cold.

Bringing Ferns Indoors For Winter - How To Save Ferns For Next Year! | Easy plants, Hanging herb garden, Plants

Will my Boston fern come back?

Boston ferns are perennial, so if it was overwintering well, it should return the next year.

After reading this tutorial, you should be armed with all the knowledge you need to keep it going!

When to put ferns back outside

When you bring your ferns back inside after the frost has thawed, be sure to gradually adapt them to their new surroundings.

You may then want to think about getting them a bigger pot if they’ve outgrown their current one.

Just in time for a new season, they should be relocated to a larger planter to allow their roots to expand.

Choose a fern that is 13 the size of the container. It will thrive in this environment.

It’s simple to divide a fern. At the base, you just make a 1 or 2-inch-deep cut.

As a result of your winterization efforts, it has already been sufficiently reduced.

After that, you acquire a fresh container, fill it with substrate, and then put it in. Fern-friendly soil should be used while repotting.

It’s also a good idea to divide your fern at this time for the same reasons.

If you need to divide it, go ahead and do it now, buddy. It’s already been chopped.

A Boston fern in a hanging container requires special care.

Can hanging ferns survive winter?

As with Boston ferns in the ground or pots, hanging ferns also need to be removed and brought indoors.

Even if they’re flying, that doesn’t mean they’re exempt from the effects of the weather.

For the winter, you’ll want to keep them inside in a dark, warm place.

Keep them from being exposed to the elements. You’ll have to get a new one in the spring because they’ll likely die from the cold. If you can keep it clean/tidy, you can hang it in your garage or anywhere in your home.

Otherwise, remove the hanging baskets and store them in a place that is protected from the rain and wind. Taking a break from the air for a year won’t bother it.

This procedure applies to both hanging and non-hanging varieties of Boston fern.

Further reading/references

  • Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’, the Boston Fern
  • Advice on Overwintering a Boston Fern? – The Houzz website
  • Bringing a Boston fern inside during the winter? – The Houzz website

Now you can save your Boston ferns for next season!

To keep your ferns happy and healthy all winter long without having to buy a new one every spring, you need to know the basics of winterizing them.

Overwintering Boston ferns is a cinch and requires little effort. Once you know when to prune and store them, it’s just a matter of timing.

A little bit of water and a little bit of light will suffice. That’s all there is to it.

When the large green leaves regain their color, take advantage of them. Enjoy it while you can, since it will get better when the weather improves. You’ve earned this.

If so, please let me know. Is this information useful to you in any way? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a remark if you’ve learned anything from your fern-overwintering experiences and can share it with the rest of us.