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Boston Fern

SCENTIFIC NAME: Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis'

KNOWN AS: Sword Fern, Ladder Fern, Boss Fern

CLIMATE (LOCATION): South America | Tropical & Subtropical

DESCRIPTION: One of the most popular ferns is the delicately textured fronds. The fronds create a fluffy and lush look that is hard to resist. The fern will sit pretty in a hanging planter or high shelf. Plus, it gives off Jurassic forest vibes.

moderate difficulty & pet safe

Boston Fern Plant Care


Light Requirement: Medium Light (Medium Indirect Light) to High Light (Bright Indirect Light)

The best kind of light for Boston ferns is bright, indirect light, but they can also grow in low light. But if there isn't enough light, they won't grow as well and may get taller or their leaves may turn yellow. It is best to put them near a window that faces east or a window that faces south or west but is shaded and lets in filtered light. The leaves of Boston ferns can get burned by direct sunlight, so it is best to keep them out of direct sunlight.

Lighting Recommendations

Aspect™ LED Growlight
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Vita™ Grow Light
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Highland™ LED Track Light System
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Quick Tip: Water until water comes out of drainage holes. Allow soil to completely dry between waterings. This plant prefers distilled water.

Boston Ferns are a popular choice for indoor plants because their green leaves clean the air. Boston Ferns need to be watered consistently, but they don't like to sit in water. The best way to water a plant is to soak it until water runs out of the bottom of the pot, then let the soil dry out a bit before watering again. Depending on the temperature and humidity in your home, this could mean watering once or twice a week. It's also important to keep a regular schedule for watering and to keep the soil from getting too dry or too wet. Also, misting the leaves with a spray bottle can help keep the plant healthy and raise the humidity level.


Preferred Temperature: 60º - 75º

Boston Ferns prefer to grow in a warm and humid environment with temperatures ranging between 60-75°F (15-24°C). They can tolerate some cooler temperatures, but anything below 50°F (10°C) can damage their leaves and cause them to turn yellow or brown. They also cannot tolerate sudden temperature changes or drafts, so it's best to keep them away from doors, windows, or air conditioning units that can cause fluctuations in temperature.


Preferred Humidity: 50 - 80%; Moderate/High Humidity

Boston ferns are popular houseplants that thrive in humid environments, so it's essential to provide them with the right conditions. The ideal humidity level for these plants is between 50-60%, so if you live in a dry climate or have central heating/cooling, you may need to mist the fern with a spray bottle regularly. Alternatively, you can use a humidifier to maintain the desired humidity level. Consider placing your Boston fern in a bathroom or kitchen where there's naturally higher humidity due to the presence of water. These areas can be the perfect spot for your fern to thrive. Another option is to group your plants together, creating a microclimate of higher humidity. If you are unsure what your humidity is simply use a hygrometer to know the humidity level in any given room.

Additional Plant Care

Boston Ferns can be propagated by dividing the plant, and spores, or through the use of runners which look like little pieces of thin spaghetti pushing out from your fern. To propagate by division, gently remove the plant from its pot and separate the root ball into two or more sections, making sure each section has a good amount of healthy roots and fronds. Plant each section in a separate pot with fresh potting soil and keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. To propagate by spores, wait until the fronds start producing spores, and collect them when they turn brown. Sow the spores on top of moist potting soil in a shallow container, cover with plastic wrap, and keep in a warm and bright location. Once the spores germinate, transplant the new plants to individual pots. Propagating through runners involves removing a mature plantlet that has developed roots from a runner stem and planting it in a separate pot with fresh potting soil.
Boston Fern is a non-toxic plant for humans and animals. This makes it a great choice for pet owners and households with children. Boston Fern is safe to have around cats, dogs, and other pets as it does not contain any toxic compounds that can cause harmful effects. However, ingestion of a large amount of Boston Fern can still cause issues.
Boston ferns should be repotted once a year, typically in the spring when they begin to grow actively. To repot, gently remove the plant from its current container and carefully tease apart the roots to remove any clumps of soil or dead roots. Choose a new pot that is only slightly larger than the current one and fill the bottom with fresh, well-draining potting soil. Position the fern in the center of the pot and add more soil around the roots, pressing it down lightly to eliminate any air pockets. Water the fern thoroughly and place it in a bright, indirect light location. Keep the soil consistently moist for the next several weeks to help the fern settle into its new home.
Boston Ferns are popular indoor plants known for their delicate fronds and lush green foliage. Pruning is an essential aspect of maintaining the plant's health and appearance. The best time to prune a Boston Fern is in the spring before the new growth appears. You can prune back any dead, yellow, or damaged fronds, as well as any fronds that are crossing or rubbing against each other. You can use pruning shears or scissors to cut the fronds at the base of the stem. Be sure to sterilize the tools before and after pruning to prevent the spread of diseases. You can also trim back the older fronds to promote new growth and keep the plant looking full and healthy. It is important not to remove more than one-third of the plant at a time to avoid stressing the plant. With proper care, your Boston fern will continue to thrive and look beautiful.
Boston ferns can be fertilized with a balanced liquid fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season (spring and summer) to encourage healthy growth and lush foliage. Use a water-soluble fertilizer. Dilute the fertilizer according to the instructions on the package and apply it to the soil around the plant. Avoid getting fertilizer on the leaves, as it can burn them. During the winter months, you can fertilize less frequently, about once a month. Keep in mind that over-fertilization can cause damage to the fern, so be sure to follow the instructions on the package and avoid applying too much fertilizer.
Boston Ferns prefer a well-draining soil that is slightly acidic, with a pH level between 5.5 to 6.0. A good soil mix for Boston Ferns consists of a combination of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite. These components provide the necessary nutrients, aeration, and drainage that the plant needs. Additionally, adding organic matter like compost can improve soil quality and provide extra nutrients. It's essential to ensure the soil is moist but not soaked, as overwatering can lead to root rot.

Hanging Heights

Boston Fern Lighting Requirements: Medium Light (Medium Indirect Light) to High Light (Bright Indirect Light)

Similar Lighting Requirements