Ferns for Hanging Baskets: Complete Guide

Some ferns love to hang out - they look amazing in hanging baskets in your house or on the porch - Read this guide to find out the best hanging ferns.

Ferns love moist soil and shady conditions, but some are even known to thrive in hanging baskets.

While a fern requires more devotion and routine care when placed in a container environment than when planted in the ground, this extra labor has a definite payoff in the form of a lush and healthy fern.

Ferns in hanging baskets can dramatically improve the curb appeal of your home or add botanical charm to your patio space.

As long as you adhere to their specific sunlight, water, and fertilizer needs, the following ferns are among the ideal choices for hanging baskets.

Boston Fern

A happy and healthy Boston fern is a marvelous sight to behold. These old beauties pair amazingly well with even minimalist and modern home structures. Boston ferns do best in settings with full to partial shade. It’s common to find these ferns hanging beneath awnings or within screened porches where they have some protection from the sun.

Line your basket with rich organic soil before placing your greenery within it. These plants require consistently moist soil but take care not to overwater so that the earth becomes waterlogged.

The Boston fern is a light feeder, so you want to go easy on the fertilizer. A diluted, water-soluble fertilizer works best.

Boston ferns can grow quite large (up to three feet high and four feet wide), so be sure to hoist your plant up in a medium-to-large basket to accommodate its growth habit.

Lady Fern

The lady fern, known more formally as Athyrium, is a real charmer with its ornamental fronds and medium-green hue. Lady ferns require full to partial shade to thrive. One of the great things about this fern is its low-maintenance care requirements.

Outfit your basket with decent potting soil and be sure to water your lady fern routinely so that the dirt stays moist but not boggy. Lady ferns grow to about 20 inches tall so be sure to hang them with their growth habit in mind. Plan to fertilize your fern about once each month with a water-soluble fertilizer.

Although this fern looks beautiful on its own, it pairs well with other plants to create an eye-catching mixed arrangement.

Kimberly Queen Fern

The Kimberly queen fern is a real showstopper, which is why it often gets a prominent spot on front porches or patios. Kimberly is sometimes called a sword fern because its straight, narrow fronds grow outward.

This fern, striking for its dark green hue, will add both color and texture to any exterior space. This shade-loving tropical can grow to a height of 3 feet, so be sure you plant it in a basket that provides room for expansion.

The Kimberly queen fern tolerates general potting soil well, but be sure to keep it well-watered without waterlogging the soil.

Also, don’t over-fertilize this fern; experts suggest fertilizing this plant every six months. If you don’t have a shady spot for your basket, this fern will tolerate partial sun quite well as long as you consistently meet its watering needs.

Hay-Scented Fern

The hay-scented fern is an interesting choice for a hanging basket, but certainly a good choice. As its name implies, this fern features a hay-like fragrance that can leave your porch area with a fresh, country-inspired smell that’s pleasing.

The hay-scented fern can grow up to three feet tall, so be sure that your hanging basket is at least ten inches deep to provide sufficient room for growth. This fern does well in partial shade or partial sun, but it requires rich, well-draining soil and consistent moisture.

In the fall, this beauty’s lovely green fronds take on an orange hue that will add loads of curb appeal to your home’s exterior.

Maidenhair Fern

The maidenhair fern is a container-loving stunner that boasts unique, feathery foliage, but it has to be noted–it’s a bit of a diva. Insistent upon good air circulation as well as some humidity, the maidenhair fern should be placed in full or partial shade and provided with fertile, well-draining soil.

Be careful not to overwater this plant, or it could be susceptible to rot. If possible, water the maidenhair fern with distilled water and feed it with a liquid fertilizer about once a week.

If you need to bring this fern indoors during the winter, you can avoid fertilizing it. This fern features dazzling blue-green foliage that is sure to enliven your outdoor space. It will grow up to three feet, so be sure its basket allows for this potential growth.


Ferns are susceptible to freezing, so if you live in a setting that experiences frost, you should plan to bring your ferns inside for the winter. With these care tips in mind, these ferns should thrive in your basket and enhance the look of your home’s outdoor space.

Hollie is a life-long gardener, having started helping her Dad work on their yard when she was just 5. Since then she has gone on to develop a passion for growing vegetables & fruit in her garden. She has an affinity with nature and loves to share her knowledge gained over a lifetime with readers online. Hollie has written for a number of publications and is now the resident garden blogger here at GardenBeast. Contact her at or follow on twitter

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