Boston ferns are very hardy plants. They can look like they are on death’s door, and then come back to life quickly with a bit of care. This species of fern is a part of the Nephrolepis genus, popular after its discovery in 1894 within a batch of Sword ferns.
The Boston variety produces eye-pleasing fronds that arch gracefully, unlike Sword ferns whose leaves stand straight up. Compared to other types of ferns, the Boston offer gardener’s easy maintenance and good growth during the spring and summer season.
Boston ferns grow well in a variety of lighting and soil conditions, and they’re easy to propagate and plant around your garden. While some species might never recover from neglect, the Boston fern is very hardy, and some water and fertilizer are all you need to return it to its former glory.
The fronds of the Boston fern grow up to 3-feet in length, and the arching effect of the leaves gives a feather-like appearance in the garden.
In this guide, we’ll give you all the information you need to grow fantastic ferns inside your home or outside in the garden.
How Do I Display My Boston Ferns?
The size of your plant is the most significant factor you need to take into consideration when planting and displaying your Boston fern. A popular display choice is a hanging basket. In this arrangement, the long fronds of the fern arch from the basket, giving the plant the appearance of levitating in the air.
The fronds get up to around 1-foot in length in hanging baskets, so make sure that you account for the height when planting your fern.
Potted Boston ferns also look fantastic on patios and balconies. The luscious green foliage brings a touch of nature into a modern apartment. Place the pot on a pedestal, and let the long fronds fall over the sides for a fantastic visual effect.
Boston ferns also do well in the bathroom in small pots on the window sill. This location is the ideal room in your home to adjust your ferns after propagating, as the plant loves the humidity in the air after showers and baths.
How Do I Overwinter Boston Ferns?
If you live in colder regions of the United States, it’s a good idea to bring your fern inside if conditions get icy. Frost can kill Boston ferns, so make sure you don’t leave them exposed outdoors if you get frost in your area.
If you plant your fern in the garden, and you live in a region of the US that gets moderate winter conditions, then the plant will enter dormancy period during the fall and wintertime. The fern will return to grow and produce more fronds the following spring.
How Do I Care for Boston Ferns?
Boston Ferns prefer indoor temperatures between 60-75ºF. If you live in a region of the United States where the mercury falls under 55ºF in the winter, then you’ll need to grow your plants in pots and move them indoors when it starts to get cold outside.
Avoid placing your pots near vents or in drafty areas of your home, as the temperature fluctuations will affect the health of your Boston fern.
Boston ferns prefer regions of the garden or yard where they receive indirect sunlight. Planting your fern in an area that gets strong direct sunlight during the peak hours of the day will cause the fronds to burn. If you’re planting them outdoors, make sure you do so in the shade around the base of a tree.
- Boston Ferns have graceful, green foliage and an ability to thrive in dark conditions, a versatile choice for any room in the home.
- Height at shipping is approximately 16-inches tall, measured from the bottom of the pot to the top of the plant. Ships in a 10-inch diameter grower pot.
- Grow Boston Fern in bright, indirect sunlight for the best growth and enjoy!
- Water Boston Fern with approximately 2-3 cups of water about once a week. Adjust as needed for your environment.
- Boston ferns graceful produce arching branches covered with soft, emerald-green fronds.
- According to NASA, this fern is an A-list air purifier. You've probably seen it around the office or out at the mall. It's more tolerant and less picky about environment than most ferns, and can even tolerate a short dry period.
- Sunlight: Medium to bright indirect light.
- Water: Once every week. Allow top 2" of soil to dry.
- Pets: Completely pet-safe!
- Care: Great choice for the intermediate plant parent.
- 🌿 RICH, LUSH, GORGEOUS HOME DECORATION. A favorite during Victorian times, this natural green plant graced the royal hallways and homes throughout Europe, before becoming an American favorite
- 🌿 GREAT PLANT FOR BEGINNERS. Quickly adjusts to almost all indoor spaces. It loves bright indirect light. Keep its soil evenly moist, but not dry or very wet
- 🌿 FEATHERY, LONG ARCHING CLUSTERED SWORD FRONDS. This Boston fern comes in a 10-inches black hanging basket. Height at shipping is 20 in. measured from the bottom of the pot
- 🌿 NON-TOXIC FOR CATS & DOGS AND KEEPS YOUR HOME HEALTHY. Plants increase humidity and reduce levels of certain pollutants, as well airborne dust. Like most of ferns, is perfectly safe for your pets
- ⛔ SHIPPING RESTRICTIONS. Due to USDA regulations, this plant cannot be shipped to CA. Shipping to extreme cold weather states is also not recommended. Your plant is specially shipped in a sustainable & recyclable packaging that keeps it steady & fresh from origin to destination. Each live plant will be slightly different, thus the plant you receive may vary from the photo representation.
Last update on 2023-02-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Boston ferns like moist, rich, loamy soils that offer excellent drainage. During the growing season, water your ferns once or twice a week, depending on the climate conditions.
Overwatering your ferns leads to the development of root rot, which kills off the plant. Always water with lukewarm water, and never let the soil dry out entirely between waterings.
If the fern starts to look less green, and you notice yellow leaves on the fronds, you need to increase your watering schedule. As new fronds start appearing at the end of the spring, increase your watering.
Don’t water the fern during the winter, give it time to remain dormant and recover from the stress of the growing season.
Boston ferns prefer soils that are light, loamy, and airy. We recommend adding amendments to your potting mix or compost for best results.
Add some peat moss and perlite to the soil to improve airflow to the roots and ensure proper drainage after watering. Look to get a good balance in your soil amendments, and don’t use too much peat moss.
Mix an all-purpose liquid fertilizer at half-strength, and feed your Boston ferns every other week. Start your fertilizing protocol in April, and keep feeding the plant through to September. Don’t feed your fern after repotting until the roots have time to establish themselves.
For a great organic fertilizer that brings your fern to life in the early springtime, mix 2-tablespoons of Epsom salts with a gallon of water, and feed it to your fern. The magnesium and effervescence of the salts boost the plant’s growth.
- Plant fertilizer specifically formulated for indoor potted plants to ensure your houseplants thrive with deep green plant growth
- Indoor plants especially house plants deserve plant food fertilizer that delivers nutrients that matter to the health of your plants. Our high concentrate 4-3-4 lasts much longer than other product
- We use the highest quality ingredients to produce this liquid fertilizer for indoor plants. This house plant fertilizer contains a balanced 4-3-4 nutrient blend.
- Easy to use 1 teaspoon of Easy Peasy Indoor Plant Food with a minimum of 2 cups of water will provide enough house plant fertilizer for many live houseplants
- REDUCE WASTE: Easy Peasy Plants Indoor Plant Food high concentrate indoor plant food provides indoor plant fertilizer for more houseplants than any other competitor
Last update on 2023-02-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The size of the pot determines the space the roots have to grow, and thus the size of the plant. If your fern is in a small pot and looks like it’s about the split the sides of the container, repot it into a bigger pot.
If you don’t want the plant to grow and larger, then remove it from the pot, shake off the spoil, and trim back the roots. Boston ferns will recover from the stress of a root pruning in a few days with the right care. Always ensure that your container has plenty of drainage holes.
Ferns originate in rainforests all around the world. The humid conditions underneath the canopy provide the ideal growing conditions for all types of ferns, including the Boston. Therefore, if you want your plants to grow to their full potential, you’ll need to add humidity into the air for the best results.
You can create a micro-climate around your Boston fern using a drip tray and a few pebbles. Place a layer of pebbles on the drip tray and then place the pot on top of the stones. Fill the drip tray with water, but don’t let the water level reach the bottom of the tray.
If the waterline does reach the bottom of the tray, the soil will absorb the moisture, starting the development of root rot in the plant. At the correct water level, the water evaporates around the fern, providing more humidity to the fronds.
If you’re struggling with maintaining the humidity in your home, we suggest you invest in a hygrometer from an online retailer. This instrument measures the relative humidity in the air, allowing you to make the necessary adjustments to stabilize a favorable climate for the plant.
All ferns love humid conditions, and it’s for this reason that they do very well around lakes and shorelines.
How Do I Propagate My Boston Ferns?
Gardeners can propagate their Boston ferns using the division method, or by separating the runners. Runners are the tiny new shoots that grow out of the plant. You can spate these new runners, and grow them into a new Boston fern.
However, the division of the roots is the most popular method for propagation of Boston ferns. Dig up the fern, and then separate the roots from each other. Divide the plant until it’s the required size, and then re-pot all of the new plants separately.
Carry out your dividing work in the early spring, and give the roots of the plant the entire growing season to recover, making them stronger the following year.
What are the Pests and Diseases Affecting Boston Ferns?
There are a few pests and diseases that affect Boston ferns. Diseases will occur if you plant the fern in an area of the garden that doesn’t provide the plant with sufficient airflow between the fronds. When conditions get damp, the lack of airflow can cause the growth of pathogens like white powdery mildew.
Overwatering can also lead to the development of root rot in the fern. If root rot occurs, you’ll notice that the tips of the fronds start to turn yellow and die off. If the air is to dry, the plant will also begin to burn.
Fortunately, Boston’s are hardy plants, and they recover fast after you adjust the climate conditions and your watering schedule.
Boston ferns don’t attract pests, but you might have to deal with a case of spider mite from time to time if the soil gets dry around the base of the plant. You’ll notice the signs of spider mite infestation because of the small webs they spin in the center of the fern.
When bringing a new fern home from the nursery, give it a few days to adjust to its new climate. It’s common for the fronds to droop a bit for the first few days after moving it into your home.
Such great information< but my question is how do you know when to repot? it seems a lot of the roots are sitting at the top of the soil. I was told this is normal. But is it an indication to repot?
I have two Boston Ferns in hanging baskets that were overwintered in my unfinished basement. They were not watered during this time. What is the best way to revive them? Thank you.