How to keep your ferns green and growing even in the summer heat

How to keep your ferns green and growing even in the summer heat

There is something about living in the south sitting on the front porch and ferns hanging in the breeze that just speaks to me.  I LOVE plants, flowers, nature and all things beautiful and I love having hanging ferns on my front porch.

How to keep your ferns green and growing even in the summer heat

When spring finally comes around and there isn’t much threat of freezing temps during the night, the first thing I do is head to the store to get 2 ferns for my porch.  Seeing those there means the beginning of spring to me. 

The only problem is as much as I love those ferns and as hard as I try to remember to water them and take care of them, by July this is usually what they look like…

(That isn’t my ferns, source for the picture here, although I could have taken this exact same picture in previous years.)

Our front porch gets a TON of morning sun and from Memorial Day through Labor Day here in GA we usually have 90+ degree temperatures.  It is probably not the ideal place to hang ferns but I love them!  Plus ferns only thrive when they can have a TON of water.  I am sure you have had the same experience … even when I did water them, the soil was so dry and had sort of “shrunk” in the hanging pot so the water just ran right along the edge of the inside of the hanging bucket and right out the bottom.  It didn’t even get a chance to soak into the soil giving the fern the water it needed.  Even though this year we have had a cooler summer and a lot of rain, my ferns were getting wilted looking if I wasn’t watering them every day (and who has time for that?) 

So I figured out a way to help the ferns get the water they need and cut down on my need to water them as much. 

Once a week (usually the day I cut the grass and am doing outside yard work), I fill 2 large buckets with water, take the ferns down, and dip the ferns into the water.  I fully submerge the hanging bucket into the water until the bubbling and gurgling of the water soaking into the dry soil stops.    Then I leave them soaking in the bucket of water the rest of that day, overnight, until the next day – usually about 24 hours. 

How to keep your ferns green and growing even in the summer heat

I can usually already tell a difference in the color of green in the fonds by the next day.  They start turning a deeper green and are firmer to the touch.  They will weigh a ton cause they have soaked up lots of water!  I just hang them back up and let them drain naturally.    I use the leftover water in the buckets to water my other potted plants and flower gardens. 

How to keep your ferns green and growing even in the summer heat

I usually don’t have to water them for 2-3 or even 4 days after that.  I just check the soil and it still feels cool and wet for several days afterwards.   Once they have dried, I will water them every day or every other day until it is time to “dip” them again.

How to keep your ferns green and growing even in the summer heat

My ferns have never looked this good near the end of July!

How to keep your ferns green and growing even in the summer heat

So hope this helps you too!  I am sure it probably saves on water too and I know it saves on time.  Here’s to green, huge, luscious ferns!  And southern porches with a glass of sweet tea in hand. Smile


  1. Thanks Christina. I have a BIG one in the sun room. I moved it in the dining room earlier this year and had to put it back. Now I know what to do 🙂 Who knew??
    I am tempted to get a few more now…
    Hugs, Gee

  2. JeanetteC says:

    Hey that’s pretty smart. I wish I could have ferns but I live in dry, hot climate. I even have a pretty nice porch, but it gets tons of sun.
    I’ve been stopping by your blog for a while now. I really enjoy it.

  3. Kelly Palmer says:

    This is a great tip Christina, thanks for sharing!

  4. I do something similar except I take mine down and put them in a pot and water from the top. Then the excess drains into the pot and I let them soak in it for 12-24 hours. I do water more often though so I may try this next! I also find rainwater does the best on mine. I really need to get a system in place!

  5. Great tips, Christina! And this works on other plants that have been forgotten, too. I have ferns hanging from the rafters of the outdoor pool room, they get the humidity from the pool which helps them a lot. And I have to admit, I water daily, I have numerous containers I plant up in spring, plus I bring out all my indoor plants to enjoy the summer weather. We have an underground well with a hose hooked up so I am able to save on water. With the heat of our summers I need to water daily…especially the tomatoes in containers.
    I love the look of your ferns, a couple of mine don’t look as good, but that’s because I overwintered them indoors and they ‘hate’ that! (I’m cheap, I hate buying new when I can bring them in lol) But the pool looks like a tropical oasis with all the ferns hanging above it!
    Debbie 🙂
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  6. We just recently moved, and we now have a back porch that faces west, and a postage size front porch that faces south. The front porch gets lots of shade and no foot traffic as everyone comes in and out the back porch. The back porch that faces west has entirely to much sun. A few weeks ago my mom brought me two pretty good size hanging ferns. Well, I have yet to get them hung and they are getting burnt on the fronds where they have been touching the ground, even though I have them sitting on old milk crates. Help, how can I get these things back into shape?? They are still green but are starting to turn that lime green color right before they turn brown and die. I am gonna try your bucket trick, but like you too, I can’t seem to find time to water or for that fact even remember to water. Mom will be here in two weeks ago I have two weeks to bring them back to life. She knows better then to give me plants, unlike her I can not grow roses on rocks.

  7. I am going to do this! I’d love to have ferns on my front verandah that don’t just die everytime I forget to water them for a day. Excellent tip, thanks.
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  8. Your ferns look like my now deceased mother n laws used to look in south ga. She had a huge wrought iron hanging “tree” for lack of the correct name,. The iron hangers fanned out like a weeping willow tree and each had the most luscious green HUGE ferns you’d ever see. She wintered in a tool shed over winter ( because there was always so many and so big she had no place inside for them. But I do know she watered often and they were shaded by several huge oaks. But she also mentioned (I think) that she used water with Epsom salts in it to water them at least once a week (the rest some regular hose water ) and I was wondering if you’d ever heard of that? I’m scared to try on mine yet without hearing from others who have! These two huge ones are new because my others (many) hanging and pots were left outside all winter as I spent two winter months in Rochester,Mn at Mayo clinic , my son and husband bring in the big pots that can’t handle even the green house (they never turn the heat lamp on) when I came home i was too sick still to walk around outside to see what was where and what I need at least to cover when nights where freezing or below. I live on La Ms GulfCoast but the winters past two years have been colder than normal. When I went it I saw most of my ferns out and browned or on their way. The hangin ones I took out of the pot and simply set on the ground where nice composted soil had been put by my son. On days I can move around I finally got most of the brown things cut and amazingly this year all have started growing nicely siting the original potted soil and shape lol . Going to cut open the roots now that they have a good start. But if you’ve heard of of experienced the Epson Salts feeding I was going to water around their roots with it, sorry such a long post! I have a tendency to get happy talking of my outdoors .

  9. Just watch out using your hand pushing the fern down into the bucket, I got wasp stung! I now use a thick stick to do the pushing.

  10. Halo…
    Greetings from Indonesia. Thank you for sharing useful tips. Iam going to do this coz I love to have fern on my front porch.

  11. they look great!!! We have 18 of those so it keeps me busy babying them

  12. I love this!!! Thank you so much! I cant wait to try it!!!

  13. I use the water from our horses watering tanks. It works great. I wait until the tanks have about 6 inches left. Then I use 12 of my gallon milk jugs for my hanging baskets. The jugs I’m using now are about 4 years old. Did I mention I recycle too?

  14. barbara says:

    If you will tear up a kids diaper and place this in your dirt (minus the plastic) the fiber in the diaper will hold water usually 3 times its size and stay wet for a few days. I do this to all of my potted plants and it helps with holding the water in. I also use an automatic mister above the ferns which they love.

  15. My ferns are beyond BEAUTIFUL thanks to your watering idea

  16. Love this idea, will try it! mine went once without enough water, not as perky as it was.Thanks!

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