I was hoping to find a fern houseplant at the gardening store, but the next best thing I could find was a potted evergreen fern, Dryopteris Affinis Crispa.

I would have thought it's small size and shady conditions would be suitable for indoor use, but I'm having difficulty watering the plant sufficiently without it flooding the tray beneath the pot. Not much information is given on the plant label.

At the moment, the plant is in a medium sized pot filled with multi-purpose compost in the garden.

  • 1
    Ferns are often grown indoors and generally like cool damp conditions. It shouldn't matter if there is water is in the tray as long as it doesn't sit in water day in day out. This is often a safe way to water: put water in the tray and let it be soaked up.
    – winwaed
    Commented Mar 13, 2012 at 19:35
  • @winwaed: I'd also like to use something other than a serving tray to hold all the water, but I don't have a bigger pot without holes.
    – Ambo100
    Commented Mar 13, 2012 at 20:33

1 Answer 1


Get a decent sized pot, at the bottom of the pot put a layer of large stones, broken roof tile or something similar, then put a layer of smaller coarse material on top of that, then fill the remaining 80% of the pot with your potting mix / soil. This will ensure that water will drain freely and you can easily keep the soil both moist and free draining as listed on the page you linked.

The next issue is collecting the excess water. I have used two methods either having a larger more suitable tray at the bottom or I put my plant initially inside a smaller pot and then put that into a slightly larger pot. This larger pot can then be emptied once a week or so.

I've seen these grown indoors, but you are going to want to have it somewhere where it can still get some sunlight via a window etc.

And as with any indoor plant, I take mine outside at least once a fortnight where I spray the leaves with a mister and wipe off dust and also for the purpose of giving them some fresh air.

  • I've already planted the fern in a larger pot and I'm worried that I might disturb the roots if I wish to add drainage. I like the idea of taking the plant outside for sunlight, I think I'll keep it outside whilst it matures.
    – Ambo100
    Commented Mar 14, 2012 at 22:04

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