Boston Fern or Sword fern is scientifically known as Nephrolepis exaltata is a type of fern grows under part shade and part sun in a moist condition. Boston fern has long and narrow leaves known as fronds. This plant can grow well both in indoor and outdoor conditions.
Boston ferns are the oldest plant on the earth, older than all the flower-bearing plants. This plants not only aids to aesthetics but is also useful in removing many harmful air pollutants from the environment. Boston ferns mainly help in removing formaldehyde, xylene and toluene from the air and provide humidity thus makes the air more pure and fresh.
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 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.
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.
This plant is non toxic to cats and dogs. Boston fern is one of the pet friendly plants category.