Kimberly Queen: The Shed-free Fern

Thanks so much for all your input yesterday!  So far, the tall file organizer seems to be leading in the voting.  You all made so many great points about the pros/cons for both the short and the tall.   It is tempting to keep them both as so many folks suggested.

This week I’ve been working on spiffying up the porch a bit more for spring and summer.  I just discovered a plant I didn’t know about before and I immediately knew I had to share it with you in case you were looking for a non-messy fern, too.

Every summer I like to place a big fern on the plant stand that lives behind the chair over there in the corner of the porch.  In this photo from a few summers ago, I filled the corner with a big, bushy Boston fern.  I loved how it looked but man, what a mess it did make.  I kept it watered and periodically placed it in a semi-shady spot on the deck for some sun, but it still dropped leaves all summer and in general made a big mess.  After a while it just didn’t look so hot, either.


This year while shopping in a local nursery, I asked for a plant or fern that would work better for this corner.  They recommended a Kimberly Queen fern.  Have you heard of it?   I was told they don’t shed and make a mess like Boston ferns do.  Apparently, they hold onto their leaves.  (It’s raining here today so these pics are a bit dark.)  Come check Queen Kimberly out.

Screened Porch with Kimberly Queen Fern



I bought a large, colorful pot to put her in but it was just too big for the plant stand.  So for now she’s staying in this woven basket while I keep my eye out for the right pot.

Kimberly Queen ferns have a more upright growth pattern than Boston ferns.  That works out even better for this spot since Mr. Boston sometimes reached out and tickled me when I sat reading here.  Kimberly is a bit more reserved and not quite as mischievous as Boston was.


I hope to find a pot similar to this one for Kimberly. I’m finding it hard to find a container that’s just the right size.  I’ll keep looking, though.

Over-wintering Geraniums:

In a recent “Waking up the Porch and Decks” post, I shared my experiment with “wintering over” my geraniums in the garage this past winter.  I was afraid those efforts were going to be a complete waste but surprisingly the geraniums are bouncing back!  After reading all that stuff online saying they never look decent again and will hardly bloom, I have been so happy with how well they are doing!  I took your advice in the comments on that old post and I cut back the long, leggy stems of those old, wintered-over geraniums.  Come check out their progress.  Here’s the “before” of this geranium.


Here’s how it’s looking now.  So much for the information online that said they never really bloom much again.  Ha!  Apparently, this geranium didn’t get that memo.


Another “before” geranium…


And here she is now.  I sprinkled one of my fave plant fertilizers (Osmocote) into the soil when I transplanted them so I’m sure that has helped them to rebound.  We’ve been having some nice, regular rains which has helped to keep them well-watered.


Here’s another one that’s not blooming right now but it has filled in nicely.  It rained this morning so everything is still wet.


One last “before” pic of another over-wintered geranium…


And here it is now.   I definitely think it was worth the trouble to over-winter them.  I wonder how many winters I can do this with the same geraniums?  I think I’ll try it again this year just to see how it goes.


Did you over-winter any plants or annuals this past winter?  If so, how are they doing?

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  1. Susan, I love love love your site and have spent hours on it 🙂 In fact, I’ve had four stacked up on top of each other as I follow a link to something else you’ve mentioned 🙂 We stopped in at our local Pier 1 Imports today and I mentioned your blog. The manager was very interested when I told her how often you mentioned the store, especially with your wicker. I have Pinterest on my phone, so I pulled up one of my boards and had two photos of your porch. She squealed for all the others to come look, wrote down your blog address and plans to turn it in to her district manager. But then, your porch is beautiful and your love for it shines through. I appreciate the way you share where we can find the items, such as the wicker and the flatware! Here’s a link to a shout out I gave my readers today on your post Kimberly Fern. I love the Boston fern but hate cleaning it up. You’ve solved a problem for many of us! Blessings ~ Nancy

  2. The Magical Christmas Wreath Company says

    Susan your Queen looks lovely. Such a great tip you are right Boston ferns do tend to make a mess when they shed. Paul

  3. Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) says

    Hi Susan, You’ll love the Kimberly Queen fern, I put one at my back door each Spring, it weathers well through our heat and well into the chilly fall and early winter weather. Ironically I shared a picture of it on my post today. Your geraniums are growing like crazy, may try to winter a couple over this year… hugs ~lynne~

  4. Anonymous says

    My parents take off in the fall for Florida and leave their geraniums behind in a cool house and no water for almost 6 months. In the spring we give them a drink and off they go, as good as new!

  5. I still have a geranium that someone gave us as a housewarming gift 19 years ago. I don’t leave them in the garage here in MA, rather I pamper them indoors and they often thank me with blooms throughout the late winter and early spring. They were moved out on the porch yesterday to harden off before they go completely outdoors.

  6. Wow! I never knew about the Kimberly fern and that would even look good here on the West Coast. I might even keep it alive. Geraniums are easy to grow here and usually don’t require being inside for winter, just put somewhere in case of an unusual freeze. Yours look beautiful and quite healthy!

  7. Hi Susan, My name is Denise. I live in England now but lived in South Carolina for 30+ years and used the Kimberly Queen fern back home a lot. I have been known to kill silk plants, but the Kimberly Queen always flourished for me. 🙂

  8. Jana@Transformations From the Heart says

    Your Geraniums are looking great. I purchased my first ever ones a couple of weeks ago. If I don’t kill them this summer, I will try your method of keeping them in the garage next winter. I’ve had a Kimberly Fern before-loved it with its upright growing. Your porch looks lovely, as usual.

  9. Anonymous says

    You will love the Kimberly….grows like crazy! Great for decks, porches, adapts well to it’s surroundings. Never have a fern to clean up after on your porch again….hope you find that perfect pot. ….Marti

  10. Your new fern is lovely! I’ve had geraniums live & re-bloom for 3 or 4 years, several times. One year when I lived in Syracuse NY, I had them blooming on a window sill in January. It was very weird to see them flower, while you were watching it snow out the window! You can also do cuttings and propigate new ones, either in water or soil. That’s always a fun project.

  11. Days at Buttermilk Cottage says

    I’m not the “gardener” here at Buttermilk Cottage; my sister is. She has over-wintered geraniums for the past several years and has had great luck with it. She had never heard of doing it, but our 90 year old neighber filled her in on all the tips. It’s so nice not to have to purchase them new every spring. Best, Susan

  12. Glenda/MidSouth says

    I usually get boston ferns to hang and at least one kimberly queen each Spring. Would get more, but they are a bit more pricey than the boston ferns here. As it gets bigger, it will drape down more. I would love to over winter them, but never had any luck with that – ferns don’t like central heating/air. Just LOVE that porch !! 😀 Enjoy your evening.

  13. Sabrymagic says

    Ciao Susan il tuo portico è molto bello anche quando piove….. I gerani campano molto….. E la loro produzione è facilissima,basta staccare un rametto e piantarlo di nuovo in vaso,l’anno prossimo avrai un’altra pianta grande di gerani;D Baci dall’Italia;D Sabry!! Ps la tua felce è bellissima!!

  14. laxsupermom says

    Love the bright spring green color of your Kimberly Queen! So pretty! I had to snicker a little with your reference to Mr. Boston, since that’s the brand of a very cheap liquor that I knew all too well during my college days. Your geraniums look terrific, too! Thanks for sharing.

  15. Anonymous says

    Susan, What do you think about winterizing your porch, so you can enjoy it all season. I see a Tavern on the Green with mini lights, stove burning stove, and scented candles. With a gorgeous porch like yours, it’s worth the investment. You’re the best!

  16. After reading your posts about keeping geraniums I am going to give it a whirl this year. I bought two beautiful Calliope Dark Red Geraniums that have the petals that look like velvet. I hope I can keep them. Yours look great and so healthy!

  17. You can keep your Kimberly Queen ferns through the winter too! Mine are several years old now. I usually keep my geraniums for several years too. Last summer was rough on my plants and I lost my geraniums, had to buy new ones this year. My ferns suffered but survived. We repotted them, they look a little skimpy right now, but some epsom salts will take care of that! I use that on my geraniums too, and they do very well! The only way I will buy a Boston Fern now, is if it is on sale for an insane price. Last year I managed to keep my Boston Fern, but we had a mild winter, that was the first time. Hope you enjoy your Kimberly Queen! I like that they are not as messy as Baston Ferns!!

  18. Merri Jo says

    Your plants all look wonderful!! We’re still not past our freeze date up here in Chicagoland…so I’m very cautious on putting out annuals. It’s fun to look at yours. I love that colorful ceramic pot you have, too!

  19. Hi Susan, Your new fern is lovely. I have never heard of it but I will make inquiries here in Sydney. Geraniums grow leggy and when I cut them back I feel I should try to strike all the cuttings,and seeing I only have a small space for gardening……..I dont grow them anymore. Yours are lovely. Have a good week. God Bless Barb from Australia

  20. Simply LKJ says

    Susan, that is great to know! I love having ferns on our porches, but they can be such a mess. Our hanging ferns up front are already looking a bit drab. It’s our crazy weather, sun, pouring rain, squelching heat (it’s only May!).

  21. I put two Kimberly Queen ferns in urns on my front porch every year, they are the only kind I can grown! They get so huge and lush that everyone comments on how big they are….you will love yours and never buy Boston ferns again! Judy

  22. I don’t winter geraniums but my neighbor has done it for years. He puts his in his basement. He has a “room” that is just right for that kind of storage. His flowers are so big and beautiful all summer…makes me want to try it but it gets to cold in Minnesota for keeping flowers in the garage and my cats would NOT leave anything like that alone if I put it in the basement.

  23. martinealison says

    Des photos comme toujours magnifiques… Lorsque je vivais dans le sud de la France je parvenais à conserver mes géraniums l’hiver. Dans ma région, je n’ai pas fait de tentative. L’hiver cette année a été très vigoureux et même les plantes en pleine terre ont beaucoup souffert. Gros bisous

  24. I love Kimberly ferns and have had them for about 7 years! I had the same problem with the Boston ferns…..I would have them ….in the trunk of the car coming home from the garden center and I could almost hear them laughing as they began to make a mess that would go on all summer. My Kimberly ferns wintered over pretty well this year. I’ve even put “stressed” Kimberly ferns behind my shrubs next to the side of my house and they have sent out runners that come back every year. Don’t you think those upright fronds of the Kimberly fern look like Don King’s hair?

  25. Love the Kimberly Fern! My front porch gets full afternoon sun and they can certainly tolerate the Southern heat and sun.

    • Your post is almost a year old, but I hope I can get an answer. This is my first Kimberly Queen Fern. I live in Texas and get FULL HOT sun on my front porch. The tag that came with my fern says filtered light only….I’m afraid I will kill it if it gets any sun.

      • Mary, it’s been so long since I bought those and they are looking a bit sad after sitting in the garage all winter. I did find some great info about caring for them here: I do like them…they shed soooo much less than typical ferns.

        • Susan, thank you for your reply. I want to start with this fern on my back porch which faces South East..In the Winter, I can bring it inside…I was just concerned about it getting too much sun hanging on my back porch…it’s interesting the varying opinions there are on growing this beautiful plant

  26. I really like the looks of Kimberly Queen –thanks for the recommendation! I’ve not tried to over-winter geraniums before….I’m a inside silk plant killer myself 🙁 My outside silk plants thrive tho!! I think I shall try some keep some geraniums this winter to experiment on.

  27. Charlotte says

    Ferns will certainly over-winter nicely. After all, in the forest they survive year after year. Your posts are always so uplifting and beautiful. I was inspired by your bedroom transformation into your office space. So much so, that I am in the process of making me a craft/sewing room upstairs. Thanks.

  28. Hi Susan, I over winter my geraniums by shaking off the dirt and throwing them in a basket in the darkest part of the basement. In March I cut them back and put them in a little potting soil and bring them to the light. They are doing great. I overwintered 6.

  29. Thank you so much for the info on the Kimberly fern. I gave up on the Bostons also because of the mess. Something I have found that works for our milder winters here in Texas is a product called frost cloth. I have covered my tender plants on the patio with it and they have thrived. It is almost like having them in a greenhouse. Also, for all the jasmine lovers, I have found one I really like. I love the fragrance of jasmine but the ones I had only bloomed once and were done. The ones I purchased called Maid of Orleans bloom all summer long and into the fall and perfumes my patio to the point of intoxication.

  30. Jane@Cottage at the Crossroads says

    Your post makes me want to buy some geraniums just so I can overwinter them! Your Kimberly fern seems to be the ticket for your porch. Last year I bought a petticoat fern and it didn’t shed, either. They are really pretty, too.

  31. I will have to try this. I normally just toss at the end of the season, which I always felt bad about. I must of read the same articles saying the geraniums would not bloom well. Maybe it is all in the care. Enjoy this cool day! Toni
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  32. Decoratopia says

    I love that Kimberly Queen fern! Think I’ll give that a try. Am impressed with your geraniums – they look great. I have a blogger friend who has a greenhouse and has overwintered the same ones for 15 years, I believe.

  33. Anonymous says

    Hi Susan, I am new to your blog (and following blogs in general) and loving it! Just bought a fern (Boston) for the first time (lots of “new” stuff – lol) and will see how it does. Gonna try and wintering of geraniums as they are my favorite annual. jean

  34. The strangest thing happened this year. I fell and broke my arm in the fall and just hung all my baskets in the tree by the potting bench. We did have an unusually mild winter. I did nothing with them. They all came back. Not the geraniums. Those were left on the gazebo and I’ve replaced them. So no, I didn’t winter over any plants. Mother Nature took care of them this year. The “vote” was so much fun. Not that you need any help, but can we do that again?

  35. I love your blog but this is the first time I’ve actually “stepped out there” to write back! I believe that we have exactly the same porch swing (Lloyd Flanders?) I want to replace my cushion and like yours. Can you tell me where you got it please? Thanks! Jan

  36. Anonymous says

    Hi! I recently discovered your blog and LOVE it! I have a new-ish screened in porch, which I am continuing to decorate. I am looking for plants that will thrive in the darker (closer to the house) corners of my porch. I just learned from our vet about pets that can be toxic to cats. We have an older cat, but my daughter just rescued a very, very young kitten that will be sure to play and chew. Do you know if the ferns are toxic to cats?

  37. Jan Kelly says

    I have had Kimberly Queen Ferns for 10 yrs. now in Bluffton SC, the town just before Hilton Head Island. I have never had them in pots. Planted them in the ground near a window in my courtyard. Five plants have spread to all shadier areas on my property and even into the crevices of a pindo palm I have in the front grassy area. Most winters were such that they died back with the frosts but this past winter , I had very little dieback because we had a much milder winter. We’ve had a lot of rain so far this summer and they are thick and thriving. I divided several clumps today and gave them to my friend and she planted them immediately in semicircles around several bushes on her property. We live in Zone 8 and some sources designate it as Zone 8b. So although supposedly a house fern mine have thrived and survived in the ground for these 10 yrs.

  38. HI THERE. I work at True Value Hardware and fell in love with the enormity of the Kimberly Queen! I HAD to have 2 of them! Also, I’ve had to ask our plant guru a ton of questions about these fern. I’ve had Mr. Boston’s before and killed them. UG. I’m even decent with plants. My Kimberly has nearly made it through the summer. Now, trying to plan for fall in zone 5. The girls will have to come inside!
    I did however want to let you know we sell those pots/vases at our store here in West Central Ohio. Try our online stores. We may wholesale from elsewhere, though. Your room is stunning.

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