How to grow and care for Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis') Indoors

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Boston Fern, Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis'

Botanical name: Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis'
Family: Nephrolepidaceae

Boston Fern Description

Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis') is an attractive, hardy fern which bears gracefully arching fronds and leaves which are highly compound whose edges appear slightly serrate.

The spores in Boston Fern are warty and wrinkled. The fern spreads by means of an underground rhizome that is slim and tuberous.

Boston Fern can be displayed on a pedestal, in a hanging basket, as a specimen plant or as a part of a grouping.

Boston Fern is a mutation of Nephrolepis exaltata (Sword Fern), which was discovered in Boston about a hundred years ago and hence the name.

Boston Fern Size

Boston Fern is a fast growing fern which can grow to a height of to 2-3 ft and upto 3 ft wide.

Boston Fern Origin

The Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis') is native to the tropical regions in America, Polynesia and Africa. It can grow both terrestrially or epiphytically.

Buy beautiful and healthy Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis') from Etsy.

Boston Fern, Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis'

Photo Credit: Costa Farms

Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis' (Boston Fern) Indoor Care

Boston Fern Light Requirements

Boston Fern grows best in bright, indirect light. Keep it away from direct sunlight as it may scorch the fronds.

Turn the pot regularly to ensure even growth for your Boston Fern. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to Water Boston Fern

For optimum growth of Boston Fern, keep the soil evenly moist at all times and never allow it to dry out.

Reduce watering for your Boston Fern during cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Ensure the pot for your Boston Fern has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.


Temperature for Boston Fern

Average warmth between 15-250C is ideal for your Boston Fern. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Boston Fern

Boston Fern thrives under high humidity. The fern is ideal for humid areas like the bathroom and the kitchen.

Set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity for your Boston Fern. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Boston Fern

Feed Boston Fern with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer once a month during the growing period.

Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is reduced at this time. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

Boston Fern Pruning

Pruning Boston Fern is easy. Remove dead and damaged fronds from your Boston Fern to keep it neat and tidy.

As your Boston Fern ages, the older fronds turn brown. Cut them off at the base to maintain your fern looking neat and tidy.

Boston Fern Repotting

Repot Boston Fern every 2-3 years at the beginning of the growing season to provide adequate room for the growth of the rhizome.

One sign of an overcrowded Boston Fern is wilting leaves. Failure to repot an overcrowded Boston Fern can result in death of the plant.

Repot your Boston Fern into a pot that is 1 size larger and one that has drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.

You can also be divide your Boston Fern into several sections during repotting and pot the sections individually to propagate new plants.

Soil for Boston Fern

The best soil for Boston Fern should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients. Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for Boston Fern.

Buy quality Potting Mix for your Boston Fern from Etsy.

Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis') Propagation

Boston Fern propagation can be done by division at the beginning of the growing season. Boston Fern can also be propagated from spores but they are difficult to grow.

How to propagate Boston Fern by plant division

Carefully take out your Boston Fern from its pot and divide the rhizome into several sections. Ensure each section has adequate roots.

Pot these sections of your Boston Fern into individual pots while ensuring that you do not bury the rhizomes too deep but maintain the soil level that they were at in the previous pot.

Place the pots in a warm, shaded place and maintain the soil moist through out until the new Boston Fern are well established after which routine care can begin.

Boston Fern, Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis'

Photo Credit: RHS Plants

Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis') Problems Indoors

Why are there brown dots or lines on the underside of fronds of my Boston Fern?

These are spores which can be used for propagation of new Boston Ferns. They indicate that the frond is mature and healthy.

In their natural environment, these spores drop to the soil and grow into new Boston Ferns.

Why are the fronds of my Boston Fern yellowing, have brown leaf tips and there is no growth?

The cause of yellowing fronds, brown tips and no new growth in your Boston Fern is dry air.

Set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity for your Boston Fern. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Why are the leaves of my Boston Fern yellowing?

Soggy soil is the reason for yellowing leaves in your Boston Fern. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

Why are the leaves of my Boston Fern wilting?

Wilting leaves in your Boston Fern is an indication of overcrowding in the current pot. Repot your Boston Fern into a larger pot or divide it up for more ferns.

Why is there excessive leaf drop in my Boston Fern?

Leaflets drop in your Boston Fern is indicative of too dry soil. Maintain the soil slightly moist for your Boston Fern and do not allow it to dry out completely for an extended period of time.

Why are there isolated brown and yellow leaves in my Boston Fern?

Browning and yellowing isolated areas in your Boston Fern are a result of excessive salts in the soil either from watering or fertilizers.

Regularly flush out the salts by repeatedly running a steady stream of water thorough the soil and avoid overfertilizing in the future.

Why are there brown shells scattered on fronds of my Boston Fern?

Brown shells scattered on fronds of your Boston Fern is an indication of a infestation by Scales. Isolate the affected fern to avoid spread to other houseplants and treat appropriately.

Which plant pests attack Boston Fern?

Boston Fern pests; Scales and Mealy Bugs. Isolate the affected fern to avoid spread to other houseplants and treat appropriately.

Is Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis') toxic?

Boston Ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis') are non-toxic to humans and pets. The ferns are safe to grow indoors.

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