Plant Care Boston Fern

Boston Fern

4.2 out of 5 (249 experiences)

Boston Fern has a Large, lush leaves plant personality Large, lush leaves
Boston Fern has a Survivor plant personality Survivor

Also known as

Sword Fern, Green Fantasy Fern, Fluffy Ruffle Fern, Boston Fern 'Fluffy Ruffles Fern' and Twirly Whirly Fern

Taxonomy

Nephrolepis exaltata
Nephrolepis
Nephrolepidaceae
Polypodiales

How to care for Boston Fern

💦 Water

How often to water your Boston Fern

Water needs for Boston Fern
0.5 cups
every 7

Boston Fern needs 0.5 cups of water every 7 when it doesn’t get direct sunlight and is potted in a 5" pot.

Use our water calculator to personalize watering recommendations to your environment or download Greg for more advanced recommendations for all of your plants.

Calculate water needs of Boston Fern

Water 0.5 cups every
7

Does your plant get direct sunlight?

Select the pot size

5"
☀️ Light

Finding light for Boston Fern in your home

Light needs and placement for plant Boston Fern: 6ft from a window
6ft or less from
a window

Boston Fern can tolerate being far from a window and light source.

Place it less than 6 feet from a south-facing window to ensure it receives enough light to survive 💪.

Select your region to see how the current weather in your area affects the placement of Boston Fern in your home 🏡.

🪴 Nutrients

How to fertilize Boston Fern

Nutrient, fertilizer, and repotting needs for Boston Fern: repot after 2X growth

Most potting soils come with ample nutrients which plants use to produce new growth.

By the time your plant has depleted the nutrients in its soil it’s likely grown enough to need a larger pot anyway.

To replenish this plant's nutrients, repot your Boston Fern after it doubles in size or once a year—whichever comes first.

Browse #BostonFern
💡 FAQs
⭐ Difficulty Level

Boston Fern is generally easy to care for, though some plant parents report facing challenges with growing it. Check out the reviews down below to read more about their experiences!

Benefits of Growing Boston Fern →

Common Boston Fern Problems →


💦 Water Needs

Boston Fern is sensitive to dry soil and should be watered frequently. Use our water calculator to personalize watering recommendations to your environment or download Greg for more advanced recommendations for all of your plants.

Boston Fern Water Frequency →

Boston Fern Root Rot →


☀️ Sunlight Needs

Boston Fern can tolerate being far from a window and light source. Place it less than 6 feet from a south-facing window to ensure it receives enough light to survive 💪. Select your region to see how the current weather in your area affects the placement in your home 🏡.

Boston Fern Light Requirements →

Boston Fern Direct Sunlight Needs & Tolerance →


🐶 🐈 👶 Toxicity

Boston Fern is not known to cause harm to humans or pets. Regardless, if you, a family member, a cat, or dog has ingested any plant material, please consult a doctor or a veterinarian.


💨 Humidity

Boston Fern prefers dry environments. Providing extra humidity or misting your plant allows water to linger on leaves, which can create the perfect environment for harmful types of fungi.

Boston Fern Humidity Needs →


🪴 Soil

Boston Fern does best in well-draining soil. A good soil will contain lots of organic matter such as coco coir as well as perlite or vermiculite to help with drainage. Adding a handful of perlite to regular store-bought potting soil should do the trick!

When and How to Successfully Repot Boston Fern →


💩 Fertilizer

Boston Fern should be repotted after it doubles in size or once a year, whichever comes first. Fresh potting soil has all the nutrients your plant needs, so as long as it’s refreshed yearly, you shouldn’t need to use fertilizer. Remember, plants get their energy from sunlight, not fertilizer!


❄️ Dormancy

It’s common for Boston Fern to go dormant in the wintertime and you may notice their growth slow down. Waterings should be spaced out more during this time.


🌎 Native Region

Boston Fern is native to Worldwide.


🌸 Flowers

Boston Fern does not flower.

Boston Fern Flowers →


⬆️ ⬇️ Growth Pattern

Boston Fern is a clumping plant, meaning new growth will emerge from the soil around the parent plant.

How and When to Prune Boston Fern →


🌦️ Growing Outdoors

USDA Hardiness Zone
Boston Fern can be grown outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 10a-13b. Find your local hardiness zone here.

Boston Fern Temperature Tolerance →


🌱 Propagation

Boston Fern can be propagated by division into new individual plants.

  • Check to see if there is more than one plant. In some cases they may still be beneath the soil surface. If you feel confident, you may remove the soil to check for baby plantlets below!
  • If there are multiple plants growing, unpot the plant and gently tug the plants apart, being careful not to disturb too many of the roots. They may be connected by large root segments which you may need to break to free the plantlet.
  • Pot up the new plant in well-draining soil
  • Repot the parent plant back into its original pot

🍂 Yellow Leaves

Yellow leaves aren’t always a reason to panic, and can be a normal part of a plant’s life cycle. Unless brand new leaves are turning yellow or all the leaves change color at once, it’s likely just your plant retiring old leaves.

If it seems like there’s a problem, the most likely cause of yellow leaves in Boston Fern is underwatering. The leaves may also appear to be curling or drooping. Yellow leaves can less often be caused by overwatering, nutrient deficiencies, or pests.

Give your plant a good drink and it should perk back up and download Greg to make sure your plant never goes thirsty again!


🧐 Troubleshooting

When troubleshooting a sad-looking houseplant, start by checking for signs of distress in its leaves, such as yellowing, browning, or drooping, which can indicate overwatering or nutrient deficiencies.

Inspect the soil moisture; too dry or too wet soil can cause problems.

Ensure the plant is getting the right amount of light, as too much or too little can stress it.

Finally, consider environmental factors like temperature and humidity, and adjust care routines accordingly to revive your plant.


Care Summary for Boston Fern

Boston Fern

Boston Fern


Greg recommends:

Water

0.5 cups every 7 days

Placement

< 6ft from a window

Nutrients

Repot after 2x growth

Based on the 4” pot your plant is in, and that it doesn’t get direct sunlight.

What other plant parents say

Boston Fern has a Large, lush leaves plant personality Large, lush leaves 96
Boston Fern has a Survivor plant personality Survivor 94
Boston Fern has a Fast grower plant personality Fast grower 90
Boston Fern has a Browns easily plant personality Browns easily 84
Boston Fern has a Easy to propagate plant personality Easy to propagate 19
Boston Fern has a Blooms easily plant personality Blooms easily 9
Boston Fern has a Pest magnet plant personality Pest magnet 6
Denise avatar
@Denise
leaf-1 11 Plants
xp 1,982 XP
globe New York
05/28/2022

Needs a very humid environment like a steamy bathroom or rainy / humid environment like the northwest or the southeast. Mine did not survive.😢

Browns easily Browns easily
@silverlinings avatar
@@silverlinings
leaf-1 88 Plants
xp 7,447 XP
globe Angus, Ontario
04/05/2022

This plant was a pain in my butt at first but now Im beginning to love her but I’m not fully convinced lmao she was so bushy when I bought her and within a week or so she got dramatic and began crisping up, I just couldn’t keep her alive! I trimmed off her dead leaves and was left with maybe 4 fair sized leaves😅 now she’s sprouting leaves like nuts so keeping her soil drowned with water is working better than having good humidity and following watering recommendations😮‍💨

Fast grower Fast grower
Survivor Survivor
Browns easily Browns easily
@Lylith avatar
@@Lylith
leaf-1 4 Plants
xp 121 XP
globe Norwich, England
02/27/2022

They like dark spots

Survivor Survivor
@ProGraypine avatar
@@ProGraypine
leaf-1 10 Plants
xp 1,331 XP
01/20/2022

Did beautifully on my porch last summer. I brought it inside for the winter.

Large, lush leaves Large, lush leaves
Fast grower Fast grower
@Mom123 avatar
@@Mom123
leaf-1 11 Plants
xp 376 XP
globe Salisbury, MD
12/03/2021

Be sure to keep watered. I’m trying to kill mine by not watering. Lol.

Survivor Survivor
Browns easily Browns easily
@Nubiangoddess avatar
@@Nubiangoddess
leaf-1 64 Plants
xp 6,094 XP
globe Los Angeles, CA
11/20/2021

It’s my favorite plant but it take a lot to keep this fern alive I’m going to buy a new one and try again very hard plant to car for need humidity

@voidbugz avatar
@@voidbugz
leaf-1 40 Plants
xp 6,776 XP
globe Minneapolis, MN
11/20/2021

Don’t give up on your ferns! I’m slowly nursing mine back to health after grossly under watering it, but it’s a trooper and is already putting out little baby fernlets!

Easy to propagate Easy to propagate
Browns easily Browns easily
Ivy avatar
@Ivy
leaf-1 5 Plants
xp 108 XP
11/06/2021

Rebounded and re-greened up nicely after going about a quarter brown due to failure to water

Survivor Survivor
@BiddlesBabe avatar
@@BiddlesBabe
leaf-1 1 Plants
xp 33 XP
globe Selah, WA
11/04/2021

Bigleef Smalls has been a great addition to our family. I talk to him everyday. It’s strange, but it seems that he perks up when I talk to him. He gets a shower when it’s time for his feeding. He seems to enjoy that quite a bit. I really enjoy having him in my home.

Fast grower Fast grower
Large, lush leaves Large, lush leaves
@OttoMonty avatar
@@OttoMonty
leaf-1 13 Plants
xp 438 XP
10/27/2021

Smells like shit

Pest magnet Pest magnet
@PlantyGoddess avatar
@@PlantyGoddess
leaf-1 109 Plants
xp 9,648 XP
globe Woolwich Township, NJ
10/24/2021

So I put this plant outside at least a month ago to basically die - no watering and no care. Well it survived and I guess is okay with my northern exposure windows and balcony so I brought it inside watered and placed at my patio window for the rest of this autumn/winter season. I’m told ferns love bright maybe even direct sunlight but this Boston wants to live and is a trooper. Now let’s see if I can get some decent growth.

Survivor Survivor
Browns easily Browns easily
@LVL500 avatar
@@LVL500
leaf-1 20 Plants
xp 6,019 XP
10/15/2021

I have had this plant for two years. It is easy to care for. I have mine positioned in a south facing window. The leaves will brown from time to time, I tend to trim them off. It’s an attractive plant, I like how the fronds uncurl as they grow into new leaves.

Fast grower Fast grower
Large, lush leaves Large, lush leaves
@emzo avatar
@@emzo
leaf-1 5 Plants
xp 202 XP
10/05/2021

love this plant ! this was my first ever plant, and it’s pretty easy to take care of

Fast grower Fast grower
Large, lush leaves Large, lush leaves
Survivor Survivor
Browns easily Browns easily
Millie avatar
@Millie
leaf-1 2 Plants
xp 46 XP
globe Tarriaro, New South Wales
10/02/2021

They love filtered light!

Browns easily Browns easily
Fast grower Fast grower
@Afwreck avatar
@@Afwreck
leaf-1 10 Plants
xp 502 XP
09/24/2021

I’ve had this for years. It has always done amazing but a recent move has effected its growth. 😞

Fast grower Fast grower
Survivor Survivor
@Nubiangoddess avatar
@@Nubiangoddess
leaf-1 64 Plants
xp 6,094 XP
globe Los Angeles, CA
09/18/2021

I don’t like when the plant feels dry I’m working on fixing that problem but other than that it’s beautiful and lush

Survivor Survivor
Browns easily Browns easily
Marthia avatar
@Marthia
leaf-1 3 Plants
xp 77 XP
globe St. Louis, MO
09/15/2021

Dries out quickly and under leaves are browning

Browns easily Browns easily
Karen avatar
@Karen
leaf-1 5 Plants
xp 120 XP
globe Byron Center, MI
09/14/2021

Beautiful plants

Large, lush leaves Large, lush leaves
@UntilSaturn avatar
@@UntilSaturn
leaf-1 14 Plants
xp 554 XP
globe Independence, MO
09/08/2021

Ive had this plant for like three years. ive almost killed it a dozen times. it always comes back. Boston ferns are AMAZING!

Survivor Survivor
@wybie avatar
@@wybie
leaf-1 9 Plants
xp 386 XP
globe Sheffield, England
09/03/2021

it’s pretty big so you will need to trim it frequently if you want it small

Fast grower Fast grower

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