The Kimberly Queen fern (Nephrolepis obliterata 'Kimberly Queen'), often nicknamed the "Kimberly fern," is a low-maintenance, dark green fern native to Australia that is prized for its dense, sword-shaped fronds. It can be grown in outdoor containers or in the ground in USDA zones 9 through 11, but can easily be grown indoors in cooler climates. These basic care tips can ensure your Kimberly Queen fern will stay healthy, full, and beautiful all year round no matter where you live.
Basics of Kimberly Queen Ferns
Compared to some other popular types of ferns, the Kimberly Queen fern is fairly compact yet dense, making it perfect for a smaller space where you want a clean look. The fronds are relatively straight and narrow, growing in an upright direction, and the plant rarely sheds leaves. They grow well in containers, including hanging pots, making them a beautiful way to add greenery inside your home.
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Choose a Bright, Humid Spot
In most areas, the Kimberly Queen fern is grown as an indoor plant since it won't survive frost, but it can grow outdoors as a perennial if you live in a tropical or subtropical climate. In other areas, you can move a potted fern outdoors for the summer or grow the fern in the ground outdoors as an annual.
While the Kimberly Queen fern can handle direct sunlight, it prefers a spot with lots of bright, indirect sunlight. Placing it near a north-facing window gives it the brightness it loves without the direct sunlight. If you put it in direct sunlight, make sure you keep it well watered. The ideal temperature for this fern is 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid spots that are drafty or near heat sources, such as fireplaces, where the temperature might fluctuate outside the ideal zone.
These ferns also do well in moist environments. Without adequate humidity, the fronds can turn brown or get crispy as they dry out. Hang one in your kitchen or bathroom to soak up the natural humidity in those areas. You can also add moisture to the air near your fern with a pebble tray or humidifier. Another option is to mist your fern regularly with a spray bottle of water.
Water Kimberly Queen Ferns Consistently
Consistent moisture without overwatering keeps the Kimberly Queen fern happy. You'll generally want to water your plant when the top 25 to 35 percent, or a few inches, of the soil is dry. If the fronds start to turn pale green, it could be a sign you need to water your fern. Potted ferns should be watered thoroughly — enough so that the water flows out of the drainage hole. Empty the saucer of excess water to avoid root rot.
Other Fern Care Tips
Occasionally, you'll notice dead fronds on the plant. Remove them to encourage new growth and to keep your plant healthy and green. Kimberly Queen ferns don't need a lot of food, but you can fertilize them every three months or so. Use a houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength and apply it to wet soil to avoid burning the fronds.
Only use a pot that has adequate drainage to prevent the soil from becoming waterlogged. Your pot should be just a little bigger than the root ball. Repot the fern when its roots become tight in the current pot.