A Boston fern (Nephrolepis Exaltata Bostoniensis) can add a feeling of lushness to any room in your home. It is relatively easy to take care of this fern, which is why they are so common in homes and apartments. Here are some simple tips to consider for Boston fern care.
What Soil Works Best for Boston Fern Plants?
An all-purpose potting mix works best for a Boston fern.
How Much Sun Does a Boston Fern Need?
Indirect light from an east-facing window (morning sun) works best for a Boston fern. If you need to place the fern near a southern or western window, you should consider putting a sheer curtain up to help shield the plant from the sun to create indirect sunlight. Ferns don’t do well with consistent direct sunlight because it can burn the leaves, so make sure you give the plant a medium indirect light environment.
What Temperature Works Best?
Boston Fern houseplants do well with room temperatures between 55-80 degrees Fahrenheit. As a fern, having an environment with enough humidity will help this plant grow healthy and strong. Consider using a hanging basket to suspend the plant in a bathroom with a shower since that increases the humidity levels for the plant.
If you can’t place the plant in the bathroom, you can put it in a room with a humidifier. The rule for the humidifier is that you are trying to create a bit more humidity for the plant. However, be careful not to leave the humidifier on for too long since that can make too much moisture.
How Often Do You Need to Water a Boston Fern?
A Boston fern will need water when the soil is dry. Misting can help keep the fern’s soil moist, but don’t water too much where it becomes soggy since that becomes an overwatering problem.
If possible, use a pebble tray with this fern since it creates additional humidity when the water evaporates in the rocks. Also, you should use a pot that has drainage holes to reduce the risk of root rot with the water you add to the fern.
If you need to use tap water for watering this plant, try and make it room temperature. Since this plant enjoys warmer climates, you don’t want to shock the plant with ice-cold water.
What Size Does it Grow To Typically?
A Boston fern tends to grow quite large, which is why you should place it in a room with some space. The average size comes out to 2-3 feet tall and wide.
Scale, spider mites, and mealybugs are common pests for the Boston fern. If you notice any of these bugs on the plant, you should remove that plant from other plants so the bugs won’t spread. From there, you can use a safe pesticide for ferns to remove those bugs that might cause diseases.
When Should You Repot a Boston Fern?
When bringing any plant to your home, you shouldn’t immediately repot the plant. Instead, you want to give the plant a week or two to acclimate to your environment. If you have had the Boston fern for a bit now, you can repot the plant every 2-3 years.
However, you should repot the plant if it is growing too fast for the current container. For example, if the plant grows through the drainage holes, you should move it to a bigger container. The best strategy is to put new potting soil into a container that is 1-2 inches larger in diameter than what you had before.
Are The Balls Harmful on Boston Fern Roots?
No, the “root balls” on the fern are not harmful to the plant. You will notice these root balls when you go and repot the plant into a new container. These balls absorb moisture and nutrients in the soil, which help the plant grow.
How to Fix an Overwatering Issue with a Boston Fern
The primary reason for a Boston fern to struggle pertains to overwatering. If your soil is soggy, you are overwatering the plant and maybe even have root rot. If that is the case, you have a few things to consider.
First, you should move the plant in a pot with drainage holes if it is not in one already. If you have drainage holes already for this plant, make sure that they are not clogged up. From there, you want to space out your regular watering to let the plant dry. That goes with removing the plant from the bathroom because that extra humidity might not allow the plant to dry.
Second, you want to make sure that the plant has morning sun, if possible. If you can’t put the plant in an area with morning sun, you should consider putting it in a room with medium indirect light. If you need to put the plant near a west-facing window, consider adding blinds or a curtain to protect the plant from burning.
Remember, you are trying to dry this plant from the overwatering issue, but you need to be careful and not burn the leaves from direct sunlight.
How to Fix an Underwatering Issue with a Boston Fern
Underwatering might be a problem as well when it comes to this plant. If you notice yellow leaves on the fronds, you need to create additional moisture. Essentially, you can take those trouble steps above for overwatering and reverse them to fix the problem.
How Do you Propagate a Boston Fern in Water?
Propagation of a Boston fern is best when the plant is already big and busy. Take the plant out of the pot, shake off the potting mix, use shears to cut the roots system, and place it in water or potting mix.
Conclusion – How to Take Care of a Boston Fern
In summary, a Boston fern is a popular houseplant due to the relative ease of care it needs. As an indoor plant, you should give it indirect light, regular misting to keep the soil moist, and keep it at a moderate temperature to thrive. If you want to add additional humidity, which ferns enjoy, consider getting a humidifier and placing the plant in your bathroom.