Growing ferns can be treated in much the same way as you would treat or grow herbaceous perennials, and to that degree everything depends upon the soil, though it its true that ferns generally grow in damp areas they do not apart from in a couple of exceptions like their feet in water, so firstly site selection is important and then its always worth digging/incorporating into the planting area leaf mould or garden compost, this will help get the plant off to a good start and whilst the soil will be able to retain its moisture it will help it to drain freely.

Ferns are generally rather shallow rooted plants so mulching a couple of times of year can only be of overall benefit to them, not only will the slow decaying of any organic matter help feed the fern but in the summer it will help with the all important task of moisture retention, and again an autumn mulching is as equally valuable in help protecting the roots from freezing, further to that an application of a light hand full of bone meal incorporated within the spring mulch can only help to boost fresh spring growth as it does in perennials making for a strong healthy plant.

Come the spring once again dealing with your over wintered hardy ferns you can treat them in more or less the same way as perennials, with the deciduous and evergreen forms you merely have to tidy them up by removing the old dead fronds and unsightly top growth leaving a clean crown, it may seem harsh but it is often the best thing you can do and with a mulch and a feed they will soon be back with a new set of fresh and vibrant fronds to take you through the spring and summer.