How to Grow Ferns from Cuttings [Tips & Tricks]

If you’re a plant lover, growing ferns can be an exciting addition to your indoor or outdoor garden. Not only are ferns exceptionally beautiful, but they also purify the air and create a tranquil atmosphere.

This blog post will guide you on how to grow ferns from cuttings effectively.

Also, Read: Fern Garden Design Ideas for Small Spaces

Understanding Ferns

Before diving into the propagation process, it’s important to understand the nature of ferns. They are ancient plants that belong to the Pteridophytes group and thrive in humid, forest-like environments.

Although there are thousands of fern species, most share common characteristics such as lush, feather-like fronds, and unique propagation methods.

Materials Required

Here’s what you’ll need to grow ferns from cuttings:

  • A healthy parent fern
  • Sharp, sterile scissors
  • A container with a lid or plastic bag
  • Quality potting soil or peat moss
  • Rooting hormone (optional)

Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Ferns from Cuttings

Follow the Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Ferns from Cuttings:

1. Selecting and Cutting a Fern Frond

First, you’ll need to choose the appropriate fern frond from a mature, healthy fern. Look for fronds that are mature, which means they have fully unfurled and are not still coiled or in ‘fiddlehead’ form. Younger, less developed fronds will have a harder time establishing roots.

Take a pair of sharp scissors that have been cleaned and sterilized to prevent any bacterial or fungal infection. Cut the stem, also known as the stipe, as close to the base of the plant as possible. Ensure the cut is clean and doesn’t crush the stem, which could hinder the rooting process.

2. Preparing the Cutting

Trim the stipe to about 1 to 2 inches in length. This shorter length can help the cutting concentrate its energy on root production rather than maintaining a long stem.

Applying a rooting hormone to the cut end is an optional step. This hormone stimulates the growth of roots and can help increase the success rate of your propagation. Simply dip the cut end into the hormone before planting.

3. Planting the Cutting

Choose a suitable container for planting. It should be small and have drainage holes to prevent waterlogging. Fill it with a moistened, well-draining potting mix or peat moss.

Make a small hole in the soil using your finger or a pencil, and insert the stipe of the fern frond into it. The foliage should be above the soil surface. Firm the soil gently around the stipe to provide stability.

4. Creating a Humid Environment

One of the key factors in successful fern propagation is humidity. Ferns naturally thrive in humid conditions. To replicate this, cover the container with a clear lid, or place it inside a clear plastic bag and seal it. This setup will maintain a high humidity level around the cutting.

5. Positioning the Cutting

Ferns generally prefer indirect light, so place your cutting in a warm location with bright, indirect light. Too much direct sunlight can cause the frond to dry out or burn. The ideal temperature for fern propagation is around 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

6. Monitoring Growth

Inspect your cutting regularly, at least once every couple of days. The soil should stay moist, but not waterlogged. Overwatering can cause root rot, while underwatering can prevent root development. Mist the cutting lightly if the soil is drying out.

7. Waiting for Root Development

Patience is key in the propagation process. Depending on the fern species and the specific conditions, root development might take anywhere from 4-6 weeks, or even longer. You will see new fronds start to grow when the cutting has successfully developed roots.

8. Transplanting the New Fern

Once the new fern has several fully developed fronds, it’s ready to be moved to a larger pot or into the ground, depending on your preference and the specific needs of the fern variety.

Ensure you handle the young plant gently to avoid damaging the new roots. Continue providing the right care, such as proper watering, lighting, and humidity, to help your fern thrive.

How to Grow Ferns from Cuttings
How to Grow Ferns from Cuttings

In conclusion, propagating ferns from cuttings is a cost-effective and rewarding process. With a little bit of patience and the right care, you’ll have a new fern plant that will add beauty to your garden.

Furthermore, you may like some more gardening articles:


1. Can all ferns be propagated from cuttings?

While many ferns can be propagated from cuttings, some types are better propagated by division or from spores. Always research the specific variety you’re interested in propagating.

2. What is the best time of year to take fern cuttings?

Fern cuttings can be taken any time of the year, but they will root fastest in the warmer, humid months of spring and summer.

3. Why are my fern cuttings not rooting?

Fern cuttings need a specific environment to root. This includes warm temperatures, high humidity, and bright, indirect light. If these conditions are not met, the cutting may not root.

4. How long does it take for fern cuttings to root?

Typically, fern cuttings will begin to root in about 4-6 weeks. However, this can vary depending on the fern species and growing conditions.

5. How do I know if my fern cutting is successful?

The appearance of new fronds is usually a good sign that the cutting has successfully rooted. The fronds will emerge from the base of the original cutting.