Are Your Hanging Ferns the Envy of the Neighborhood? They can be!


My favorite homes here in the South have big front porches with huge hanging baskets of lush green Boston ferns. Apparently I’m not alone.  At this time of year, the garden centers sell out quickly. Renaissance Man and I recently bought our usual six for the front porch … plus the “necessaries” for planting them.


You’ll have better luck if you don’t leave the plants in their original plastic pots.  Instead,replant them using coir-lined wire baskets and a good-quality potting mix.  The pics below show you how.  Step 7 isn’t always necessary, but you want to be sure your chains are secure before hanging. Ferns get very heavy when wet, and you don’t want them to fall!  Step 8 is an absolute “must” when it comes to ferns.
Click pics once — or twice! — to enlarge.


Hang each basket on a sturdy hook screwed into solid wood … and then keep them watered all Summer long … twice a day … every day.  [record scratch]  Who has time for that?


YOU do!  See the black tube Renaissance Man is positioning in the fern?  It’s an automatic drip watering system on a timer — and it waters our ferns all Summer long … twice a day … every day … even when we’re not home!


The system is made by Rainbird, and we bought the components at Home Depot (but this is not an advertisement for HD and you can probably get them elsewhere as well.)

In the big picture below, you can see a black tube running horizontally near the porch ceiling.  One end connects to a water faucet.  The other end is capped.  Wherever we have a hanging fern, Renaissance Man added a vertical drip line.  One end (Steps 1-7) connects to the horizontal tube while the “loose” end gets a drip nozzle added to it then hangs in the fern.  We’ve found it works best to zip-tie the drip line to the hanging chain so it doesn’t blow out and water the porch. (Step 10)


On the faucet connection end, we added a timer.  Right now, since it’s still fairly cool here in East Tennessee, ours is set to water once a day for 5 minutes.  By mid-Summer, we’ll be watering for 10 minutes twice a day.

Our system is hooked up to the faucet in the basement, but yours can be anywhere.


Before hanging ferns, this is what the watering system looks like.


After …


After just a couple of really good drinks …
You can’t imagine how large and lush these babies will be by October!  I’ll have to remember to show you.  With just a little measuring and easy installation, yours can, too!  Go ahead … “pin it” — and try it!
You can use this system for any kind of hanging baskets; just be sure to adjust the amount of water depending on what plants you use.
UPDATE:  If your hanging baskets will drip/splash on a wood surface, don’t make the mistake we did!  READ THIS POST FIRST.
* * * * *
Thanks to all of you who prayed us to the Summit last week!  It was a great few days, and I’m sure I’ll share some things with you before long, but right now there’s a lot I’m still processing in my mind.
I hope you all have a fantastic week  Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I always enjoy and appreciate your visits!
I’ll be joining:
Mosaic Monday @ Little Red House
Blue Monday @ Smiling Sally
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch


  1. I’m envious of your system as my pots are not close together but spread around the yard. I would like to see your ferns in October, hope you’ll post about them again.
    Even to have ferns indoors, I have no luck but do enjoy their form and beauty.

    • We also use this basic system for pots on the back patio — and they’re spaced several feet apart. You might think about where you can connect to water and also where you can perhaps bury the primary tubing. Then you just tap into the primary with the smaller tubing and run it UP into your pots.

      We use a similar drip system in most of our flower beds. Perhaps I’ll do a post about that someday…

  2. Wow, your ferns are beautiful. I do not have a place to hang them or I would try this. Thanks for sharing, have a great week!

  3. Your ferns are lovely! I’d love to hang some but alas I’ve nowhere to put them. Yours certainly add to the beauty of your home! Have a wonderful week! Cathy

  4. Hi Susan…Wow, your ferns are so beautiful and lush. What a great post in so many ways…photos, planting ferns and water system tutorials. I am an Envious Neighbor!

    Sue CollectInTexasGal
    Blue Monday~Texas Chicken Farm Photography

  5. Hey there, Susan! Your ferns look fantastic!!!! We have such monstrous winds around here, I’m always afraid to put up hanging plants. We don’t have a covered porch of any sort, so I’d have to hang them close to the house. That could spell disaster if that wind caught one of ’em just right. I’ll just have to admire yours (and those of our neighbors with porches) from afar. 🙁 You gave some really great tips here on the hanging and care of them. That Rainbird systems sounds like it might work for some other plants we’ll have going if we ever actually get something that resembles Spring or Summer around here! 🙂

    Have a wonderful week!!!!!

  6. Good Afternoon Susan, Oh how I would love to display hanging ferns from a porch, but here in England we do not have porches, but I do grow ferns in the garden. I keep them in the shady part and they grow away happily. A couple of years ago I visited my daughter, who then lived in Atlanta, and I saw the most beautiful houses with porches and hanging ferns, they were such a delight.
    I have written this tutorial down, because you never know, if my daughter returns to Atlanta she might just be glad of the information.
    I have really enjoyed my visit and I have become a new follower. I look forward to getting to know you.
    I would like to invite you to visit me at Ivy, Phyllis and Me! as you would be most welcome. I look forward to seeing you there.
    Best Wishes from England

    • Welcome, Daphne! Your ferns sound wonderful, and I know they’re happy in the shade! You may not have porches where you are in England, but I’m sure you have many other beauties! My daughter lived in England for several years, and I always loved visiting.

  7. Really pretty! Such a great idea – i wish I had something to hang plants from, I love the ones that drape down from the basket too

  8. What a helpful guy R-man is. Those ferns are already lush; please do remember to show us how they improve. I like your blue watering system; thanks for sharing.

    Happy Blue Monday, Susan.

  9. thanks for posting this. last year I finally gave up on having pretty hanging ferns on my front porch. Every year I would buy ferns and hang them out there. Every year they would start off looking great and by mid July they’d be looking pretty crispy and sad. I always end up removing them from the porch and tucking them somewhere in the shade in the back yard to nurse them back to health. Last year I even tried buying 4and rotating them between the front porch and back patio. The front ones just didn’t make it past the end of July.

    I went out and bought a couple of Kimberly Queen ferns and plopped them into some urns for the front porch. But maybe I’ll give the hanging Boston ferns one more try. I’m going to ask for a watering system for Mothers day.

    • Jeanne, I know exactly what you mean about “crispy and sad” by mid-July! For several years we just stopped wasting our money and refused to buy ferns. Then we decided to do this DIY watering project and give ferns one more try. I’m so glad we did! Maybe your Mother’s Day wish will come true and you can say the same thing a few months from now!

      I’m sure your Kimberly Queens look great in the urns. They are fantastic in full-sun areas like my back patio; much easier to keep looking good!

  10. Very clever idea! I love ferns!

  11. How beautiful….and I love porches and ferns!!! Six Flags use to have the most beautiful hanging baskets. Yours are wonderful…enjoy them.

  12. You have TOTALLY inspired me Susan! I did pray for you and am so thankful things went well. Please post an update and give me a shout out if I don’t stop by. Better yet, like me on facebook (there is a link on my blog) and you could message me there. That is if you are into facebook!
    So…I wonder what these beauties would do in the Pacific Northwest? I really do like them. I’m not sure I can rig up that incredible watering thing but I can water them twice a day. When it is really hot, most plants do need that. Your porch is similar to mine, and I can see how these just make the porch. So I am really thinking of trying to find some ferns!

    • Gayle, you would love having ferns on your porch! They add so much visual texture and “pretty” that I can’t imagine a Summer porch without them anymore. The Rainbird watering system isn’t that difficult to install, so you might want to check it out before giving up on it. 🙂

      Thank you for the prayers! I’ll be posting an update soon. (I’m not on FB, but I’ll do my best to let you know when my post is up.)

  13. I think I’m all caught up here at last. I need to chase myself down from running in 6 directions and slaying dragons of all sorts.

    I had never heard of this, and I am VERY VERY intrigued! I’m a fern killer because they DO need water and I am so lame about that. I can’t wait to show this to the husband. I also wonder if this would be great for the Duchess.

    I just read about Summit and will like to hear more.
    And crawfish… crawfish… Believe it or not, I have never had one. That might just make it to the sand pail list this summer. Hmmmm.

    • I’m afraid we were Faithful Fern Killers too until my husband said “ENOUGH!” a few years ago and rigged up the watering system. What a difference! We now have gorgeous HUGE ferns all the way until our first freeze — usually late October.

  14. Happy Belated Blue Monday!

    Your ferns are beautiful. My babies would love some hanging plants on our porch. You have really inspired me to go with ferns.

    Many blessings to you!

  15. Funny, I’ve kind of been thinking of ferns this year, but the last one I had on the screened porch made such a mess!! They’re beautiful; I love them. I had no idea they needed to be watered twice a day! That is some fancy watering system you have, Susan!

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting on the Duck Egg theatre seat. I truly am loving it, so there are no regrets, and not one person has told me I shouldn’t have… 🙂 ~Zuni

  16. Hi Susan, I love the detail about potting and watering them. I hang 4 Boston ferns across my deck each spring. Last winter I saved my ferns by placing them in my garden tub in my master bath. They did great until…I put them out and we had a bad frost. All that work down the drain. Sigh. I bought new ones and hope I learned a lesson about spring freezes. Your ferns are beautiful.
    xo, Jeanne

    • Jeanne, I feel your pain! Year before last we moved our ferns into the garage — and the one night we forgot to close the garage door, it froze. (Of course, it did!) Then last year we moved them into the basement, but they still got too cold; I suspect we’re not going to try again. This just reminded me… I still need to clean up the crispy leaves in the basement. 🙁

  17. Beautiful ferns!! Great Tip! I must pass this one along to my daughter. She just purchased two large ferns.
    Now I’m off to buy some cocoa mats and wire baskets…..But I’m going to wait till
    next week…We had snow here yesterday!!

  18. My ferns do well outside during the summer as long as I water them daily and give them a mist bath.
    However, when I take them inside during winter, they end up dying or looking so pitiful, I toss them.
    What care do you give yours when you take them inside for winter..?

    • Well… I’d like to tell you we successfully over-Winter our ferns, but we don’t. No matter how hard we try to keep them from freezing, something always seems to happen, and we start over with new ferns every Spring.

  19. Michelle says:

    Hello! Maybe a silly question but how did you “attach” the tubing along the top of your porch. I see it running along the inside of the porch roof but how is it secured? Thanks!

  20. what size basket did you transplant into?