Ferns add a lush, green, tropical look to your home. They grow well in hanging pots when proper growing conditions are met. Part of caring for a fern is transplanting it to a larger container when necessary. This gives the roots the right amount of space to grow well. Your fern is ready for transplant when it completely fills up the container.
Choosing a Pot
The first step is choosing a properly sized pot for the transplant. It seems logical to go extra big, but all that space leaves a lot of moisture surrounding the roots in the soil. That can be dangerous for ferns. Choose a new pot that is about 1 to 2 inches larger than the root system of the fern. This might mean repotting more often, but it will also help your hanging fern stay healthy.
Filling the Container
Give your fern new, fresh potting medium so it can grow well. For ferns, the general recommendation is a mix of equal parts of sand, garden soil and peat moss, according to the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service. You’ll want to bake the mixture at 200 F in a roasting pan for about 20 to 25 minutes to pasteurize it. You can also buy a potting mix to skip the pasteurization process. Put some of the mix in the container, leaving enough room for the fern’s root system.
Transplanting the Fern
Now that the pot is ready, you can remove the fern from its old container. Tip the container to the side and give it a gentle shake to ease the fern out of the pot. Keep one hand on the fern so it doesn’t fall out and get damaged. Loosen the dirt that is on the fern’s roots after you remove it from the pot.
If you want to divide the fern into smaller plants, now is the time to do it. You’ll need a sharp knife to cut through the roots to divide the plant in halves, thirds or quarters. You’ll need a new container for each section of the fern.
Place each section of the fern plant in its new container. Spread out the roots so they aren’t all bunched up or crowded. Fill in the container with additional potting medium. Press down the mix gently around the fern’s stem.
Your transplanted fern needs plenty of moisture to help it grow well after being transplanted. Water the plant thoroughly as soon as you transplant it. Misting the leaves also helps maintain the right humidity for the fern.