Caring For Your Japanese Fern Tree

  • By: Succulents Plants
  • Date: December 25, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.
Japanese fern tree
Photo by courtesy of Michel VIARD

Are you looking for an easy-to-care-for, beautiful ornamental plant to bring life to any room? Look no further than the Japanese Fern Tree! This majestic and graceful tree is an excellent choice for those who want a low-maintenance yet attractive addition to their home. This article will explore the delicate art of caring for a Japanese Fern Tree, covering light requirements, humidity requirements, pruning tips, and much more. Keep reading to learn how to care for your Japanese Fern Tree properly!

What is a Japanese Fern Tree?

A Japanese Fern Tree is a shrub or small tree native to Japan and other East Asia. It is evergreen with distinctive fern-like foliage, making it a popular choice for landscaping projects and gardening. The Japanese Fern Tree has a unique form that is both striking and attractive. It is known for its low-maintenance needs and ability to tolerate cold temperatures.

Japanese Fern Trees grow up to 15 feet tall and 12 feet wide, and they prefer partial shade and sandy soils. They are an excellent choice for creating a low-maintenance landscape with minimal effort. They are cold-tolerant and can survive temperatures down to -10 degrees Celsius.

Caring for Your Japanese Fern Tree

A Japanese fern tree in your garden or house is a great way to add natural beauty and elegance to your home. These trees are known for their large, lacy fronds, as well as their air-purifying qualities. But, like any other plant, they need proper care and attention to thrive.

Light Requirements

This tree thrives best in bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight or keeping your fern tree in the dark corner; these environments can cause damage to the leaves and stunt the tree’s growth. When positioning your fern tree, choose an area with plenty of natural light that doesn’t receive too much direct sunlight. A south or east-facing window is usually a great spot – the light may be bright, but the sun won’t shine directly on the leaves.

Depending on the season, you can also move your tree around throughout the year. During winter, the tree may thrive better in slightly lower light levels. During the summer months, the tree may require more light than usual. Keep an eye on the leaves – if they begin to yellow or look droopy, your tree may be getting too much light and would benefit from being moved to a more shaded spot.

One of the great things about the Japanese fern tree is that it can fare well in various light conditions. While it does best in bright, indirect light, it can tolerate low light levels. Remember that if you opt for a lower-light environment, you may need to provide supplemental light, such as a grow light or fluorescent light, to ensure the tree has enough light to thrive. Like most plants, the more light they receive, the healthier and lusher they’ll be.

Humidity Requirements

Japanese fern trees thrive in high-humidity environments and should be kept below 40%. Keeping your fern tree in the proper humidity is key to its health and growth.

The best way to ensure proper humidity levels for your Japanese fern tree is to mist it with a spray bottle or damp cloth at least once a week or more often if needed. You can also place a humidity tray near your fern tree, a shallow tray filled with gravel and water. The water will evaporate and help keep your fern tree’s environment humid.

Watering and Feeding Requirements


Japanese Fern Trees need to be watered frequently and consistently. Check the soil around the tree every few days, and if the soil becomes dry, it is time to give the tree a good soak. You can water your tree with a garden hose or a watering can. Make sure that the water reaches down to the roots.

Once the tree has been thoroughly watered, allow the soil to dry out before watering again.


While Japanese Fern Trees do not require much feeding, they need some nutrients to stay healthy and thrive. During the growing season, feed your tree with a general-purpose fertilizer once a month. Always follow the directions on the package to ensure that you are providing your tree with the proper amount of nutrients.

In the winter, you can provide your tree with additional nutrients by adding a slow-release fertilizer to the soil every few months. This will provide your tree with enough nutrition to survive the cold months.

Repotting Guidelines

First off, we need to choose the right potting mix. Japanese fern trees prefer soil that drains well, so you’ll want to pick one made with high-quality organic ingredients. You can find premixed soil formulated explicitly for Japanese ferns that are an ideal choice. Secondly, pick a pot between 1-2 inches more significant than the tree’s current size. This will give the tree enough room to grow, and the pot should have one or two drainage holes for excess water to escape.

When it comes to timing, the best time to repot is when your tree’s environment is relaxed and without extreme temperatures or weather. Late winter to early spring is an excellent time to repot your Japanese fern tree.

When repotting, be sure to handle your tree with care. Gently remove it from its current pot, and use your fingers to loosen up any compacted soil. Then, place the tree in the new pot and fill the new pot with your chosen soil mix. Firmly press the soil around the tree and water the soil, so it is evenly moist.

Finally, you’ll want to provide your Japanese fern tree with some fertilizer. For an extra boost after repotting, use a liquid fertilizer formulated for indoor plants. Be sure to follow the directions on the package and use it sparingly, as too much fertilizer can damage the roots of your tree.

Pruning Tips

First things first: prune your Japanese Fern Tree during its dormant period. This is usually during late winter or early spring before the new growth starts to appear. During this time, the tree is in a state of rest, and pruning won’t interfere with its growth.

Before you start pruning, it’s a good idea to inspect your tree for any dead or damaged branches. Having a friend or family member help you check for dead or damaged branches that you may have missed can be helpful. Once you’ve identified any dead or damaged branches, you can start pruning.

Remember that pruning your Japanese Fern Tree will help it stay healthy and vigorous. This means that you should remove any dead or damaged branches, as well as any branches that cross each other or rub against one another. This will help the tree grow in a balanced and healthy manner.

When pruning your Japanese Fern Tree, you should also consider its size. If the tree is large, you can prune the branches to keep the tree’s shape intact. However, if the tree is small, you should reduce the pruning to maintain its shape.

Pruning your Japanese Fern Tree is a matter of preference. If you’re looking for a more formal look, you should prune the tree more heavily. If, on the other hand, you prefer a more natural look, you can prune the tree lightly.

Common Pests and Diseases

Common pests that affect Japanese fern trees include aphids, spider mites, mealybugs, and whiteflies. Aphids are small sap-sucking insects that can cause deformed leaves and stunted growth. Spider mites feed on the undersides of fern fronds and can cause discoloration, webbing, and even leaf drop. Mealybugs are small, white, cottony insects that produce honeydew, which can make the leaves sticky and distorted. Whiteflies are tiny white insects that fly around when the tree is disturbed and can cause discoloration, wilting, and leaf drop.

Common diseases to look for are yellowing foliage and browning of the leaves due to over-watering, fungal leaf spots, stem canker, and root rot. Yellowing foliage is caused by too much water and can be remedied by careful watering. Fungal leaf spots are caused by excessive moisture and can be treated with fungicides. Stem canker is a bacterial blight that affects the Japanese fern’s stems and can be managed by applying a fungicide. Root rot is caused by waterlogged soil, so adjust your watering accordingly.


You have now learned all the basics of caring for a Japanese fern tree. You can enjoy watching your fern tree grow and thrive for many years with suitable soil, light, humidity, and water requirements. Prune your fern tree regularly to keep it healthy and free of pests and diseases. And remember to repot your fern tree every one to two years to ensure its growth. Now that you know the basics of caring for a Japanese fern tree, why not try it? Grow your Japanese fern tree and enjoy its beauty today!


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