Houseplant Care Tips

Various Houseplant Care Tips Including Watering and Lighting Requirements.

Houseplant Care Tips

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Boston Fern Care

Common Name: Boston Fern
Scientific Name: Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis'
Lighting: Moderate to Bright
Watering: Moderate to Heavy

Ferns are popular houseplants, however the Boston Fern is one of the most common ferns you see in people's homes. Arching long green fronds forming an elegant mound characterizes this houseplant. Boston Ferns can reach up to 5 feet so keep that in mind when looking to repot.

Boston Ferns prefer medium light levels, so try and keep your plant within 4 to 7 feet of a sunny window providing indirect sunlight to the houseplant. If the foliage begins to wither, the plant is probably not receiving enough light. You may remove the dead fronds as needed.

Boston Ferns also require moderate to heavy watering. Keep the soil moist at all times with exception to the winter months. In the winter, water your fern once the soil feels dry to touch, however do not let the soil dry out too much. Boston Ferns have high humidity requirements so give your plant a misting a couple times a week to help fulfill its requirements. If the foliage begins to fade in color, chances are the plant is not receiving enough water.

Ferns prefer normal temperatures. 60 – 75 during the day and slightly cooler at night. Keep these plants away from drafts and registers as well. It's also a good idea to provide your plant with some houseplant food. Once a month use a water-soluble houseplant food except in fall and winter months.

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Blogger Mom said...

I have a beautiful Boston Fern, quite big, and it is growing all of these long skinny hairy 'tentacles'.....what are they, and what am I suppose to do with them....cut them off??

Thank you....

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am wondering the same

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One problem you did not address. Why do Boston Ferns constantly shed thier leaves? I have been told that a mixture of Epson Salts to a gallon of water is the correct mixture for watering your Boston Fern, this will stop shedding.

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

j have two huge ferns they did wonderful durring the warmer months. will they servivi if i wrap them up in plastic and leave them on the porch or find a place inside for them. also is there a special light bulb that will substitue for sunlite

7:44 PM  
Blogger Brittany said...

I have a small fern that did wonderfully this summer, it was absolutely beautiful!!! But now winter hasn't been too kind to it, I've lost well over half the leaves and am struggling to keep my poor plant alive. I don't over water or over expose it to sunlight, what else can I do to help my plant???

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My fern is very, very old. (15 yrs.+), but lately sending out lots and lots of long, hairy, leafless runners, which if not cut grow upwards of 6 feet +. What does this mean? I have, every couple years, taken it from its pot, cut it in half and repotted with good soil. It has done well. But I am getting fewer fronds and more of these runners. Can you explain? Can you also tell me what soil I should use? Thanks.

6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those long hairy tenacles are roots. They are looking for a place to take root. I pull them off as soon as they appear. If you let them go, they'll turn brown and are harder to remove.
My mother would attach a baggie with a small amount of potting soil in it, to the fern and guide the root into the baggie. Soon she had another fern growing.

2:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHY does a blogger post an article and provide a comment box but they NEVER respond to ANY comments??? This is not the first time I have seen this... Very rude if you ask me...

10:18 PM  
Blogger drayas / Logical Mama said...

I typically ignore comments such as such the above "Anonymous" however I do take it personally. This was a hobby blog I had started. It grew in populatiry more than I ever imagined. I TRY to respond to comments, however the blog now receives over 50 comments per day, therefore I can't answer and keep up! I'm a mother of 2, work full time and have gone back to school part time so I apologize, but I cannot answer many of the questions.

I have left comments open as many readers help other readers out by answering questions they can. Therefore, NO, I will not turn off comments just because I can't keep up as sometimes someone else can help another gardener out.

Thank you,

2:44 PM  
Anonymous cosy said...

i re-potted my fern(given to me for Mother's Day) because roots were coming out the bottom of the pot. Now it doesn't seem to want to live.everything is brown and dying.Please help

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have 9 boston ferns on my front porch it gets over 90 dergrees here in summer and over 100 on my porch at times. I water my ferns every night until water runs out the bottom of the pot then i mist them for a few minutes. i have the roots growing out the bottom but all are lush and green and in the hanging planters they were in when i purchased them. I dont do anything to them at all other than that. however I will be fertilizing them this month before i bring them indoors for the winter. i do not plan to repot them sice they went from 12 inch plants to about 36 inches across and about 4 feet long now. I read a lot repotted and had issues and it says they are indoor plants but mine are thriving in direct sunlight for over 4 hours a day .... so im really puzzled on the care for the plants now.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous MSC said...

Few hopefully helpful tips I don't see elsewhere in this fern thread:

1. They don't like to be touched. Browning can be caused if your fern is bumping walls, people or pets regularly.

2. They prefer an acidic soil with sand and humus. If you want to take it a step further you can buy a PH test kit to make sure your soil is in the right range.

3. Water should be room temperature and free of chlorine and fluoride. They are sensitive to chemicals in water and the temperature.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a friend gave me her near dead Boston fern and I split what she gave me into five big pots and hung them in full sun light in my garden... new they are growing like crazy and are 1 foot across x 4 foot long fronds after only 14 months.. they take morning and noon sun all day, in Aden Yemen, I'm in a weather similar to Texas with average temps in the 70s in winter and 110s in the summer but they are happy I water them twice a day. and use a monthly dose of powder 20-20-20 fertilizer full strength.

2:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the tentacles are runners.if you let them rest on moist soil, they will grow roots. When the roots are well formed, cut the runner from the mother plant, and you will have a new fern plant

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you read above, those are runners..lay them over most soil..your plant is trying to create new ferns :)

11:52 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you for this page. I just bought my first Boston fern. Its very large. This page gave me the basic information I needed as to its care and where to place it in my home. My mother used to keep gets in the bathroom for the plants humidity needs..but in ths house it wouldn't get the light it required.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Ellen May Rockey said...

I have a potted fern with very long dark brown hairy roots which have totally entwined themselves around the pot. The fronds grow directly from the hairy roots. I want to repot it. It would mean cutting or pulling the roots from the pot it is in. Please tell what to do and what type of pot to plant it in.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Heather Hughes said...

Bravo @drayas! Absolutely the best blog to get answers from because sometimes more than one suggestion or helpful tip is needed to help correct the problem a garden enthusiast may be having. Countless tips I have taken from here and most if not all are from the followers. I think it is rude that someone demands an immediate answer myself and then acts like a bully about it, because most bloggers have a busy life and blogging is not their full-time job despite what you think. So rarely do I respond immediately unless I find myself engaged with another that post an answer right away while I'm still on the site, which hardly ever happens. Anonymous you should feel ashamed and maybe practice a little restraint before typing. I personally don't think that an explanation was deserved but an apology sure is!

6:44 AM  

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