How to Transplant Mature Ferns

Ferns are plants that form solid clumps of foliage. They can be split and transplanted in spring or fall. To make the job more manageable and avoid the need for heavy machinery, try to divide the plants up first.

Spring or Fall

In spring before the new growth starts, or in fall after the plant goes dormant, dig around the fern and discover the extent of the clump. The fern will show extensive underground root growth. Some roots will grow horizontally, while others are vertical. However, you will still be able to cut and divide the root clumps.

Similar Soil

Ferns perform best if they are planted into similar soil and conditions of shade as they had originally enjoyed. Prepare the new site before you finally make the divisions of the fern clump.


If possible, lift the whole fern clump in one piece. If it has to be split, use as few divisions as possible so that the fern will still retain much of the shape it had in the previous year. This will also help keep your ferns healthy and give them a much better chance of thriving after the transplant.

By following these simple instructions, you can easily transplant and even increase the number of ferns in your garden or landscape.