Winter Care Guide: Protecting Your Ferns Indoors

Ferns, with their delicate fronds and lush greenery, are cherished houseplants that bring a touch of nature into our homes. However, as winter approaches and indoor conditions change, caring for ferns can become a bit more challenging. To ensure your ferns remain healthy and vibrant throughout the winter months, it's essential to provide them with the right care and attention. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to protect your ferns during the winter season.


Understanding Your Fern Variety

Before diving into winter care, it's crucial to identify the specific type of fern you have. Different fern species have varying care requirements, so knowing your fern's unique needs will help you provide the best care during the colder months. Some common indoor fern varieties include Boston ferns, Maidenhair ferns, and Bird's Nest ferns.

Maintaining Proper Humidity

Ferns are native to tropical and subtropical regions, where humidity levels are typically high. Indoors during the winter, however, the air can become extremely dry due to heating systems. To protect your ferns, consider the following humidity-boosting methods:

Use a Humidifier: Placing a humidifier near your ferns can help maintain the necessary moisture levels in the air.

Group Your Plants: Position your ferns close together to create a microclimate of increased humidity.

Misting: Regularly misting your fern's fronds with water can mimic the moisture they crave.

Providing Adequate Lighting

Limited natural sunlight during winter can affect your ferns' growth. To ensure they receive the appropriate lighting:

Indirect Light: Place your ferns in locations with bright, indirect sunlight. Avoid exposing them to direct sun, which can scorch their delicate leaves.

Supplemental Lighting: Consider using grow lights to provide consistent, controlled light for your ferns, especially if natural light is scarce.

Adjusting Watering Habits

With reduced growth during the winter, your ferns' watering needs will change:

Allow Soil to Dry Slightly: Let the top inch (about 2.5 cm) of soil dry out between watering sessions.

Check Soil Moisture: Use your finger to gauge soil moisture. Water only when the soil feels dry to the touch.

Use Room-Temperature Water: Avoid using cold water, which can shock your ferns. Opt for room-temperature water for watering.

Avoiding Drafts and Temperature Extremes

Ferns are sensitive to temperature fluctuations and cold drafts. Protect them by:

Positioning Away from Drafts: Keep your ferns away from drafty windows, doors, and heating vents.

Maintaining Stable Temperatures: Strive for a consistent indoor temperature. Ferns prefer temperatures between 60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C).

Pruning and Cleaning

During the winter, ferns can accumulate dust on their fronds, hindering their ability to photosynthesize effectively. To keep your ferns healthy, periodically clean the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust and allow them to breathe.

Be Patient

It's essential to remember that ferns may naturally slow down their growth during the winter months. Don't be alarmed if you notice reduced frond production or some browning of older fronds; this is often part of their seasonal cycle.

By following these winter care tips, you can protect your ferns and ensure they thrive year-round. With a little extra attention and care during the colder months, your ferns will reward you with their graceful beauty and vibrant green fronds, even when winter's chill is at its peak.


In conclusion, safeguarding your ferns during the winter is achievable with thoughtful care. By understanding their unique needs, maintaining humidity, providing proper lighting, and adjusting watering habits, you can ensure your ferns remain vibrant and healthy even in the coldest months. Patience and attentiveness are key, as ferns may naturally slow down their growth during the winter. With these strategies, you'll enjoy the grace and beauty of your indoor ferns year-round.