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3 Tips to Care for a Love Fern

Toni Anderson, interior plant designer and owner of The Potted Poppy, fills out our tip sheet

By Sarah Pfledderer

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days may have popularized the “love fern” as a way to mark your territory in your special someone’s house, but it’s long been a generic term for any fern you might give as a token of affection. At least that’s how Toni Anderson sees it. Here, the interior plant designer and owner of The Potted Poppy fills out our tip sheet on a species that perfectly fits the term—the heart leaf fern.

Green Thumb: Suggested

Not to break beginner plant owners’ hearts, but the heart leaf fern requires a little more TLC than most plant babies. As a prehistoric plant, it’s high maintenance, in that it knows precisely how it likes its environment: high humidity (70 percent) and warm temperatures (around 60 to 85 degrees).


To preserve their heart-shaped leaves, keep your plant away from direct sun to avoid any scorching or wilting. Medium-bright indirect light, preferably pouring through a north-facing window, is the sweet spot for a heart leaf fern.


Instead of a regular watering schedule, check your soil every few days and water to the fern’s desire—keeping the soil damp consistently. “Think along the lines of a wrung-out sponge,” Anderson says. Also, consider using filtered water instead of tap water to avoid any added chemicals.


Heart leaf ferns are native to Southeast Asia, so they’re naturally smitten with environments that resemble a tropical climate. Consider sitting yours on a pebble tray with water beneath it or next to a humidifier. When it’s time to replant, use well-drained, humus-rich soil, and consider adding some bark to hold in some moisture.

Price: $12–$20

The Potted Poppy


Love Fern

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