4.2 out of 5 (249 experiences)
Also known as
Sword Fern, Green Fantasy Fern, Fluffy Ruffle Fern and Boston Fern 'Fluffy Ruffles Fern'
How to care for Boston Fern
How often to water your Boston Fern
Boston Fern needs 0.5 cups of water every 7 when it doesn’t get direct sunlight and is potted in a 5" pot located in Chicago, Illinois.
Use our water calculator to personalize watering recommendations to your environment or download Greg for more advanced recommendations for all of your plants.
Water 0.5 cups every
Check the growing potential in your area
A plant's growing potential is determined from its location, the time of year, and current local weather.
Finding light for Boston Fern in your home
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 💪.
We wouldn’t recommend testing its limits during this time of reduced sunlight intensity in Chicago, Illinois ⛅.
How to fertilize Boston Fern
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.
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!
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 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 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.
Boston Fern enjoys lots of humidity. Provide humidity for your plant by watering regularly and thoroughly, since plants absorb most water through their root system rather than their leaves. They may also benefit from being placed next to a humidifier.
Boston Fern is very sensitive to dry soil, so choose a potting soil that retains moisture. A good soil will still drain well and contain lots of organic matter such as coco coir or sphagnum moss.
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!
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.
Boston Fern is native to Worldwide.
Boston Fern does not flower.
Boston Fern is a clumping plant, meaning new growth will emerge from the soil around the parent plant.
USDA Hardiness Zone
Boston Fern can be grown outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 10a-13b. Find your local hardiness zone here.
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 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!
Care Summary for Boston Fern
0.5 cups every 7 days
< 6ft from a window
Repot after 2x growth
Based on your location in Chicago, Illinois, the 4” pot your plant is in, and that it doesn’t get direct sunlight.
What other plant parents say
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😮💨
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.
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.
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.