How to Balance the pH for a Royal Fern

Balancing the pH for a Royal Fern plant is crucial for its optimal growth and health. By maintaining a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH, typically between 5.5 and 6.5, you can create the ideal conditions for your Royal Fern to thrive. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process to balance the pH for your Royal Fern, ensuring it receives the right nutrients and environment it needs.

Soil Testing

The first step in balancing the pH for your Royal Fern is to determine the current pH level of the soil. You can easily do this by using a home soil testing kit or by sending a soil sample to a local extension service for analysis. This information will be crucial in deciding the appropriate amendments needed to adjust the pH.

Amending the Soil

royal fernImage source: Pixabay

Based on the soil test results, you can take the necessary steps to adjust the pH level.

Lowering the pH (Acidic Soil)

If the soil is too alkaline (high pH), you can lower the pH by adding elemental sulfur or a sulfur-containing product. For every 1 point you want to lower the pH, add about 0.1 pounds of elemental sulfur per 10 square feet of soil.

Raising the pH (Acidic Soil)

If the soil is too acidic (low pH), you can raise the pH by adding lime to the soil. For every 1 point you want to raise the pH, add about 5 pounds of dolomitic lime per 100 square feet of soil.

Timing and Monitoring

It’s best to amend the soil in the fall or early spring, giving the pH-adjusting materials time to work before the fern starts growing actively. After making the adjustments, retest the pH every few months to ensure it remains within the desired range of 5.5 to 6.5.

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royal fern 2Image source: Pixabay

Use a balanced fertilizer (e.g., 5-5-5 or 2-1-2) to provide essential nutrients while maintaining the desired pH range. Kelp meal is also beneficial for ferns, as it can help improve soil structure and provide additional nutrients.

Watering and Environmental Factors

Keep the soil evenly moist but not overwatered. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other issues, while underwatering can stress the plant and make it more susceptible to pests and diseases.

Royal Ferns prefer partial shade to full shade and thrive in temperatures between 60°F and 75°F (15°C and 24°C).


By following these steps and maintaining the appropriate pH range, your Royal Fern should thrive. Regular monitoring and adjustments will help keep the pH in check and ensure the plant remains healthy. Remember, patience and attention to detail are key when it comes to balancing the pH for your Royal Fern.


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