Can Ferns Grow In Low Light

Who doesn’t want a fern in his home that brings the rainforest indoors! But now you are thinking: can ferns grow in low light.

Actually, it is a valid concern. And by asking this question means you will succeed in your gardening journey.

In this article, I will tell you the kind of light that ferns need in order to thrive. And whether your fern will make it in your low light place or not.

But before diving deep into the details I will put the answer for our main question as simple as this: can ferns grow in low light? Ferns can grow and survive in low light conditions. But it will thrive in bright indirect sunlight. While it will not tolerate direct sunlight.

Keep reading to know why ferns need sunlight. And the best locations in your indoor place for your fern in terms of lighting.

Why ferns need light

Ferns need light in order to supply photosynthesis with energy. Photosynthesis is the process of turning water and carbon dioxide into sugar ( Plant’s food).

Therefore light is essential for ferns and all other plants. But the needed light intensity differs from one plant to another.

I believe that the secret to successful gardening is to understand the native environment of your plants. Then trying to mimic it as much as you can.


Ferns are native to the rainforests. In the rainforest, all plants evolve and adapt unbelievable attitudes in order to get the most possible sunlight.

The competition for sunlight in the rainforests is very high. In the rainforests, ferns live under the shade of tall trees.

They cant reach direct sunlight nor direct sunlight can reach them. So they evolved throughout thousands of years to cope with such light intensity. Your ferns have the same attitude and genetics.

So, in the rainforests some ferns get bright indirect sunlight, those are the lucky ones.

While other ferns grow in the rainforest’s ground where there is relatively low light.

How much light ferns need

Ferns will thrive in bright indirect sunlight. A north-facing window is a window that gets bright but indirect sunlight.

There is no direct sunlight in such a window. This is the ideal spot for your fern in your indoor place.

The second best spot is an east-facing window. An east-facing window gets early morning direct sunlight.

While it is guarded against the afternoon direct sunlight. Most probably you are confused now!

because I said ferns don’t tolerate direct sunlight. And now I told you to put your fern in a window that gets morning sunlight.

The matter is that early morning sunlight is good for your fern. But the afternoon one is the bad one.

Avoid putting your ferns in the south or west-facing windows. Because those locations have direct sunlight during the day.

Also, rotate your fern from time to time in order for all plant’s sides to get an equal amount of light.

Can I grow my fern in a low-light location?

As I mentioned earlier ferns need some amount of light in order to make their food.

Therefore your fern can’t grow in complete darkness. But if there plants that can grow in low light, ferns are among them.

As long as your ferns cast some shade it means there is light reaching them. You can be confident that your ferns will be ok in such a place.

If the spot that you intending to put your fern on it is completely dark or has deep low light it is better to install grow light. Grow light will be as effective as bright indirect sunlight.

Also, note that a fern located in a low light location will consume less water when compared with ones located in brighter spots.

Because the evaporation rate will be low. Actually, this is a good thing because ferns need consistently moist soil.

They don’t tolerate drought, even for short periods. So your ferns will be in moist soil for a longer period of time.

But be careful to not overwater your low-light ferns. Because overwatering will cause root rot. Which is something you don’t want to deal with.

Can ferns take full sun?

The general rule is to put your fern away from any direct sunlight as direct sunlight will burn your fern leaves in no time.

But there are two exceptions to this rule. First, the very early morning direct sunlight (1 to 2 hours) is great for your ferns.

Second, if you live in a place that has very weak sunshine during winter you can expose your ferns to such sunshine directly.

But other than those two exceptions put your ferns away from direct sunlight.

In conclusion

Actually, I enjoyed writing this article because I like ferns a lot. And I hope I gave you the confidence to put your fern in that low light spot. Just I hope it is not completely dark.