Ferns look pretty as a houseplant, the tiny green leaves of fern enhance the indoor beauty. Are you looking for a beautiful fern that doesn’t require high-maintenance like the maidenhair fern? Boston fern will be the perfect choice for you. Boston fern is quite popular among ferns, and it is also grown as a houseplant.
About the plant
The botanical name of Boston fern is Nephrolepis exaltata. This fern is popularly known as Boston fern and sword fern. It is also known as Boston bluebell fern, tuber ladder fern, fishbone fern.
Boston fern is a species of fern, and it comes under Nephrolepidaceae family. Sometimes the fern also belongs to lomariopsidaceae, davalliaceae, or oleandraceae family.
The Boston fern became very popular during the Victorian era, and Victorians consider ferns as a symbol of humility and sincerity.
Overview of the plant
Boston fern is a tropical evergreen perennial plant. This fern is suitable for indoor use. They are easy to grow and care but need some specific conditions.
The plant has graceful green tiny fronds (leaves of the fern called fronds) on both sides of the midrib.
The fronds of Boston fern are 50-250cm long and 6-15cm broad. They look mesmerizing while hanging down from the roof or any bookshelf.
These ferns are very readily available in any plant shop and are relatively cheap.
Growth preferred area
Boston fern prefers conditions similar to the tropical regions. They favoured conditions like high humidity, full sun, and an appropriate amount of water.
The plant is native to all tropical regions worldwide. They mostly flourish in the tropical areas of northern South America, Central America, Florida, Polynesia, Africa, Mexico, West Indies.
Usually, they grow 2-3 feet as a houseplant, but they can grow up to 7 feet in their native habitat.
|Botanical name||Nephrolepis exaltata|
|Common names||Boston fern, Fishbone Fern, Boston bluebell fern, Tuber ladder fern, or Sword fern|
|Plant Type||Evergreen herbaceous perennial fern|
|Mature size||2-3 feet (Can grow 7 feet in its native land)|
|Native area||Tropical regions of America, Polynesia, Africa|
|Suitable location||Both Indoor & outdoor|
|Sun exposure||Bright-part shade|
|Temperature||60°F-80°F(16°C-26°C) Avoid below 50°F (10°C)|
|Humidity||High humidity (80%)|
|Soil type||Moist and well-drained|
The cost of the plant
The cost of the plant will be around INR 250-1,000 or more. Prices may vary according to the species and the place you live.
How much does seed cost?
The cost of the seeds will be around $1-$8 or more. The price of the seeds varies upon the quality and the quantity of the seeds.
Boston fern has numerous varieties around 200. Almost all ferns thrive in high humid areas, among them few ferns also able to grow in low humid levels.
Here are some of the varieties of Boston fern:
- Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis
- Nephrolepis exaltata Florida ruffle
- Nephrolepis exaltata Whitmani
- Nephrolepis exaltata Dallas
- Nephrolepis exaltata Aurea
- Nephrolepis exaltata Teddy junior
- Nephrolepis exaltata Wekwia
- Nephrolepis exaltata Superbissima
- Nephrolepis exaltata Smithi
- Nephrolepis exaltata Frombrebata
- Nephrolepis exaltata Scotti
- Nephrolepis exaltata Compacta
- Nephrolepis exaltata Curly compacta
- Nephrolepis exaltata Fluffy Duffy
- Nephrolepis exaltata Fluffy ruffles
- Nephrolepis exaltata Golden Boston
- Nephrolepis exaltata Massii
- Nephrolepis exaltata Rita’s gold
- Nephrolepis exaltata Rooseveltii
- Nephrolepis exaltata Verona
- Nephrolepis exaltata Sonata
- Nephrolepis exaltata Montana
- Nephrolepis exaltata Green lady
- Nephrolepis exaltata Marissa
- Nephrolepis exaltata Todeoides
- Nephrolepis exaltata Red Oak Japanese creeper
- Nephrolepis exaltata Neema creeper blue
Boston fern plant care guide
Boston ferns require some specific care to thrive well. Providing them with a proper growing condition is not that difficult.
They can thrive in both indoor and outdoor locations.
Avoid touching the fronds of the Boston fern, as they don’t like to get touched. If you touch them, they may turn brown.
Here, are the few care tips for Boston fern
These plants prefer bright to part shade sunlight. Avoid placing them in the exposure to direct sunlight.
These plants can thrive well and healthy in bright indirect sunlight.
In outer location, Boston fern favored shade or part shade area and required protection from direct sun and hot and dry winds.
In the indoor location, they favoured bright indirect sunlight.
Almost all ferns are a bit sensitive to watering. So appropriately water them. They prefer moist soil but not soggy or wet. Keep the soil moist every season except in winter.
In winters, let the top surface of the soil dry out completely between watering.
In summer you can water the plant thrice or more once a week.
Avoid watering the plant with cold water because cold water can shock the roots.
Whenever possible, provide rainwater to the Boston fern.
They prefer warm temperatures but also thrive well in average warmth. An ideal temperature for these ferns ranges between 60°F-80°F(16°C-26°C). Avoid the temperature getting down 50°F (10°C).
These plants prefer high humidity (approx 80%), they flourish very well in high humid areas, and they love moist air.
Average room humidity will be enough for them in indoor locations, but if the humid level gets low, it can harm your Boston fern.
To raise the humidity level, mist the plant twice a day or place it in the bathroom.
Avoid placing them near hot air vents because they get wither in dry air.
Feed these plants once in a couple of months with liquid fertilizer. The amount of fertilizer they require depends upon the size of the fern.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals considered that Boston ferns are non-toxic for both humans and pets. It won’t harm you if ingested mistakenly.
Pests and problems
Spider mites and scales can be a problem for your Boston fern if you place them in dry conditions. The air around the plant should be moist every time.
Scales are hard to remove from the ferns, increases the humidity level and can deter scales.
Keep an eye on your plant, and if you notice any pests remove it immediately before it causes damage, also remove the affected fronds.
Brown fronds: Brown ferns can be caused by dry air or dry soil, or it can also be a result of overwatering.
To avoid brown fronds on Boston fern keep the air and soil moist and avoid overwatering.
Dropped fronds: Watering issues are the main causes of leaf drops. Overwatering or underwatering both leads to leaf drops.
Water the fern in the proper amount and manner to avoid this condition.
Yellow fronds: Using cold water can cause yellowing of fronds or low level of humidity also leads to yellowing fronds.
To avoid this problem, maintain high humidity and avoid using cold water.
Repotting and propagation
Repotting is only needed when the roots fill the existing pot completely, and there is not enough space.
The best time to repot the plant is in late summer.
Step 1: Take out the plant from the existing pot.
Step 2: Fill a pot with a well potting mixture of sand, garden soil, peat. Make sure the pot is bigger than the previous one, and a proper drainage hole exists.
Step 3: Place the plant in the pot and now fill the remaining half of the pot.
Boston fern can be propagated by division method or growing spores.
Growing spores method is very time consuming and a bit complex. To propagate your Boston fern easily follow the division method.
Step 1: Take out the entire Boston fern and divide it gently into 2-3 sections.
Step 2: Make sure the divided sections have healthy roots intact.
Step 3: Plant the divided sections in the pot, filled with fresh and moist soil.
Step 4: Provide proper requirements to grow healthy.
Usually, they don’t require pruning, but if you notice any brown or withered or dead fronds, they should be pruned. Spring and Summer season will be best for pruning.
Benefits of the Boston fern
- Boston fern is considered as one of the best air-purifying plants.
- It has the ability to eliminate chemicals like formaldehyde, xylene, toluene and cigarette smoke from the indoor air.
- It acts as a humidifier in indoor locations and raises the humidity level and restores moisture in the air. These ferns are an ideal fern for those who suffer from dry skin problems or other cold-weather problems.
- This fern also offer some health benefits, and it aids aesthetics.