How to Grow Ferns in Water | Can Ferns Grow in Water?

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Ferns are beautiful and you should not miss a chance to display them–One of the best ways is to use them as centerpieces and this happens when you learn How to Grow Ferns in Water!

How to Grow Ferns in Water
Tara Millar

One of the best plants for hanging baskets, Tracheophytas can also be an amazing choice to display in a vase and decorative terrariums! If you don’t want to grow them in pots, then these plants can be great centerpieces, too, if you know How to Grow Ferns in Water!

Table of contents

Have a look at the best types of ferns you can grow here

Can Ferns Grow in Water?

Ferns are easy to grow in water as long as you keep the following points in mind:

  • Fern fronds, without attached roots, will not grow in water. However, they’ll last for some days.
  • To successfully grow ferns in water, make sure that you keep the plant along with the roots in a vase or a glass bowl full of water.
  • You’ll see the best growth if your fern plant in water will receive at least a couple of hours of the gentle morning sun, and bright indirect light every day.
  • Change the water regularly.

How to Grow Ferns in Water?

  • Select a section of the plant while dividing it. It should have some roots and fronds.
  • Place the roots under running water and lightly remove any potting medium. Snip away any damaged or rotten roots, too.
  • Take a vase or a glass bowl and put the plant in it. Add stones or gravel to keep the roots in place. This will also help the plant to be fixed in its position. Fill with non-chlorinated water!
  • Do not allow the gravel to cover the upper fronds and leaves of the fern.

Requirements for Growing Ferns in Water



Place the plant where it receives bright indirect light. Always avoid direct sun exposure, especially in the afternoon.


Keep the plant safe from algae by changing the water every week. Also, change the water when you notice it turning cloudy. Add a bit of aquarium water once in a while to provide additional micronutrients.


Clean the bowl or vase once in 3-4 weeks. Gently take out the fern, scrub the container from inside, and rinse it well with water.


Ferns require very little fertilization when grown in water. Feed the plant once a month in summer with a weak balanced liquid fertilizer dose. Just a pinch of powder every couple of weeks in the water would do.

How Long Ferns Can Survive in Water?


As long as you take the proper care of the plant, you can grow it in water indefinitely. Just make sure that it gets plenty of bright, indirect light and change water once every 4-7 days.

If you’re just keeping fronds in water without any roots, it may not last that long and wither in 1-4 weeks.

Benefits of Growing Ferns In Water

How to Grow Ferns in Water 3
  • By growing ferns in water, the plant will be very easy to maintain. This way, you can use it as a centerpiece. You also have the option to cut the fronds and keep them in vases for a beautiful display.
  • The roots will be devoid of soil, they will stay healthy in water as it will be regularly changed.
  • The plant will also be less susceptible to fungal and bacterial infection as a fresh growing medium (water) will be added every few days.
  • Growing ferns in water will also save them from the fears of over or underwatering, which can harm the plant’s growth.
  • These plants need humid surroundings that require regular misting. While growing in the water, you do not need to perform this.

Best Ferns to Grow in Water

Asparagus Fern (Asparagus setaceus), Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata), Japanese Lace Fern (Polystichum polyblepharum), Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus), Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum), Asian Water Fern (Bolbitis heteroclita), and Java Fern (Leptochilus pteropus) are some of the best ferns to grow in water.

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