Fertilize ferns properly - Tips for ferns and ferns in the garden

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Ferns - whether as a houseplant or outdoor specimen - are particularly attractive when they grow vigorously and lush. Unfortunately, this does not work without regular fertilizer in the growth phase. Because the extra nutrients need ferns to become more resilient and able to grow. Ambitious gardeners do not necessarily have to resort to specialty fertilizers. Sometimes small home remedies such as coffee grounds, fingernails or milk help to strengthen the plant and make it grow.
Main components of fertilizers
In addition to light, water and carbon dioxide, plants need above all nutrients. The main nutrients are phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen and magnesium.
Nitrogen (N)
  • ensures growth in root tips, more shoots and leaves
  • is taken up mainly as nitrate and to a lesser extent as ammonium from the soil
  • Recording generally via roots
Phosphorus (P)
  • indispensable for chlorophyll formation
  • ensures strong roots
  • promotes development of leaves
Potassium (K)
  • stimulates metabolism of the plant
  • ensures firm cell walls
  • promotes resilience
  • regulates water balance
  • helps with photosynthesis
  • provides lush green fern fronds and fern growth
Differences in fertilization


Now ferns are Humuswurzler and therefore salzemfindlich. For that reason, the concentration of the fertilizer must not be too high. With commercially available fertilizer, a fertilizer concentration of 50 percent of the manufacturer's data is sufficient.
The intervals at which fertilization should take depend primarily on the substrate. As a container plant planted in peat, the fern needs a fertilizer every 14 days. If the fern is cultivated in compost soil, it is sufficient to fertilize it once a month. If the fern grows weak in the winter months, plant friends fertilize their protégé at longer intervals. If the fern hibernates, it is not fertilized at all.
After fertilizer application, the substrate should not dry out. For a few days, the soil should be medium moist. Only then can the nutrients be absorbed by the roots.
Long-term fertilizer makes sense?
Long-term fertilizer is offered in the form of organic fertilizer mixtures such as horn shavings, bone meal or blood meal and can be mixed with the repotting the soil. Since these organic fertilizers decompose only slowly in the soil, there is no high salt concentration at the roots of the ferns. This decomposition process is called mineralization and provides ferns with sufficient nutrients over a longer period of time. However, hobby gardeners should give up after the gift of a long-term fertilizer on additional fertilizer.
Those who do not want to resort to chemical fertilizers can fertilize and fortify their plants with conventional household agents. Here are the most diverse materials that can either be collected or even produced yourself.
  • Black tea
  • milk
  • coffee grounds
  • eggs water
  • Fingernails and toenails
  • potato water
  • beer
Suitable home remedies in detail
Black tea
Tea lovers will not have to throw away their used tea bags. These are ideal as a natural fertilizer for ferns. Teabags are great for collecting in a closed container.
  • simply brew again if necessary
  • Allow to cool to room temperature
  • Water the fern two to three times a month
  • brings the leaves to shine and ensures rich color

Sword Fern

Tea leaves and tea set can also be used for fertilization. But mainly with ferns in the garden. Regardless of the variety (chamomile, stinging nettle, black tea, herbal tea) tea set or tea leaves are easily raked in the soil.
Milk not only makes tired men happy again. Plant friends with milk also do something good for the fern. The roots absorb the amino acids of the milk and thus ferns thrive magnificently.
  • use homogenized, low-fat milk
  • Mixing ratio - one part milk and three parts water or
  • Dilute residual milk from bag with water
  • do not pour over leaves, otherwise it will stain
  • fertilize with milk once or twice a month
coffee grounds
Why throw away the coffee grounds? This also offers a successful alternative to commercial fertilizer and protects the way even the wallet. The coffee grounds are even high-quality fertilizers, which is just as suitable for carpenters as for outdoor specimens. It is rich in nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. In addition, it neutralises lime-containing irrigation water and thus keeps many a pest away.
  • Dispose of pads and filter bags as usual
  • Allow to cool before use
  • Apply dry to prevent mold growth
  • Do not fertilize with coffee grounds too often
Coffee grounds can also be diluted with plenty of water and used as irrigation water.Do not pour the leaves, just the stem.
Tip: If you collect your coffee grounds over a certain period of time, you can mix it as a long-term fertilizer when repotting with the fresh soil and plant the fern in it.
eggs water
If breakfast eggs are cooked classically in the water, the result is an excellent irrigation water for ferns. Because the shells release not only oxygen and carbon, but also valuable calcium, which is a natural fertilizer.
Fingernails and toenails
Sounds funny at first, but makes sense. For grated hooves and horns of slaughter cattle as a nitrogen-rich fertilizer are probably known to everyone under the name horn meal or horn chips. So why not use cut human and toenails as fertilizer? For aesthetic reasons, they should, however, be undermined something.
potato water
  • contains many trace elements and minerals
  • stimulates the plants to grow
  • cool and pour ferns once a week


Beer has a number of valuable nutrients. Whoever finds one or the other started bottle from his last party should not dispose of the barley juice carelessly. Simply pour the stale beer into the watering can and water the fern once or twice a month.
In addition to the traditional home remedies, there are also funds, with the plants not only fertilized, but also strengthened.
plants manure
Such a remedy is vegetable manure. It can be easily made from dandelion, horsetail, gerbera, chamomile, garlic, onion and, above all, stinging nettle:
  • Plastic, wood or stone vessel
  • Collect plants and mince
  • Add rainwater
  • Mixing ratio 1:10 (one kilogram of plant residues to ten liters of water)
  • put in a sunny place and cover with a grid
  • Wash it once a day
  • The addition of stone dust eliminates odors
  • Fermentation completed when no more bubbles form
  • diluted or pure applicable
frequently asked Questions
My Zimmerfarn looks powerless and a bit miserable for some time. What can I do against it?
As already described above, it is sufficient if the fern is regularly poured with a mixture of milk and water. He usually recovers quickly.
How often are ferns allowed to be fertilized with coffee grounds?
If the fern is outdoors it is sufficient if it is fertilized with coffee grounds up to four times a year. However, ferns should only be supplied once a year in the winter and once in the spring with this high-quality fertilizer.
Pouring and fertilizing tips
  • Most ferns do not like dryness. They should be watered regularly but not put under water.
  • The soil should never dry out!
  • Ferns also like a high humidity, so always spray!
  • Do not use limescale water!
  • A good fertilizer for ferns is Oscorna Animalin.
  • Do not use mineral fertilizers!
  • Fertilize potted plants with organic liquid fertilizer!

Video Board: Basic Gardening Tips for Beginners | How to Care for Ferns in 12 Steps.

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