Wyevale Garden Centres

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When is the best time to buy and plant ferns? Also, can I divide large ferns?

The very best time to buy and plant ferns is during the spring months from March to mid-May. But they can be bought and planted throughout the so-called growing season, which runs from March to October. The key to success is watering for the first season, and then once established ferns require virtually no care.

Ferns planted in the ground are rarely split, the larger the clump the better the display! Only when they form large clumps and the growth at the centre starts to look weak should one consider it. Ferns grown in containers however are a different matter and will need to be split unless you continuously pot on into larger and larger pots.

Ferns can only be split during the spring months, don'™t split during the dormant months (i.e. winter), this will often kill the fern as the fine fibrous root system needs to grow away immediately after splitting, if it is cold this cannot happen. Tease the plant out of the pot or dig up using a sharp knife or old saw and simply chop up into clumps. Once the root ball is cut through tease the fronds apart carefully - the fibrous roots are very tough, the young tender growth is much more delicate! Plant in fertile, moist, free-draining soil and water regularly for the first year.

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