Boston Fern Care
Boston Fern Care Instructions
This article will explain in-depth Boston Fern care instructions. By following this guideline, you should have no problem keeping your Boston Fern not only surviving, but thriving for years to come. The Boston Fern is of the most common and popular indoor plants used in homes, offices and interior landscapes due to their easy care. The Boston Fern is also more commonly known as the Sword Fern. They are native to tropical regions throughout the world and tend to thrive in humid swamps and forests. Boston Fern are in the family Lomaniopsidaceae. They are also on NASA’s list of clean air plants because they help filter the air of harmful chemicals. It is recommended to use one plant per 100 square feet of living space to help filter chemicals such as formaldehyde and benzene from the air.
Boston Ferns are commonly grown as a hanging basket, but can also be found in 4, 6, 8, 10 and 14″ pots. The most common varieties that are available are the Boston Fern and the Boston Fern Compacta. They are both very closely related to the Kimberly Queen fern in care as well as appearance. The Boston Fern tends to grow longer hanging sword shaped leaves, while the Kimberly Queen tends to be more of an upright grower. All varieties can be grown outdoors in warmer climates when there is no chance of frost. They are also perennial in USDA hardiness zones 9-11.
Boston Fern do best in locations with bright, filtered light such as a window sill that has an Eastern exposure. Bright indirect sunlight is optimal. When grown outdoors, Boston Ferns prefer a shaded location such as a covered porch or under a tree. If you have less than optimal lighting available, the plant may adapt and survive in full sun – but be careful to watch that your fern does not burn. From our experience Boston Ferns are an excellent choice for a room or office with good natural light.
The Boston Fern is a great house or office plant because it prefers the same temperatures that many living situations are kept at on a daily basis. Night time temperatures in the lower 60’s and day time temperatures in the 70’s are ideal. Keep in mind that although your home or office are kept at these average temperatures, other factors may play a part in your plant being too hot or cold. Make sure that your Boston Fern is not directly affected by a heating or air conditioner vent. The direct cold or hot air will surely damage your plant. You also want to keep an eye on the window if you place your plant in one. On very cold days, the glass will transfer the cold – and if the leaves from your Boston Fern are pressed against the glass, they will become damaged. It is never a good idea to have your plant up against any window or wall. You will also want to avoid any drafts in colder climates. A cold gust of wind from being placed near a door or window that opens could also damage your plant.
Watering Boston Ferns
The most important thing to keep in mind when watering Boston Ferns (as with almost any plant) are that you want to avoid creating a situation that promotes root rot. In our homes and offices, we keep them in a light, well-draining soil. They prefer to be kept on the moist side, but are very drought tolerant. Boston Ferns LOVE humidity and will benefit from the most humidity that you can provide. If you do not have a humid location available, regular misting from a water bottle will definitely help. There is not specific amount or frequency of water that we can suggest because the lighting, temperature and evaporation rates differ in every home and office – but on average you probably should not be watering your Boston Fern more than 4 times per month. The quantity of water that you give the plant depends on the pot size and how dry/moist the soil is. You will need to develop a feel for the proper amount of water. Try to water at an even amount of moisture, not letting your plant get soaking wet and then allowing it to dry out between watering. Do not let water accumulate in the crown or cups that the leaves. Moderation is key. Any planter that allows for evaporation, air flow and water drainage works well. Once you develop the “feel” for watering, you will be able to judge when to water by picking up the plant. The heavier the plant feels, the more moisture there is in the growing medium. If the plant is too large to lift, a water meter is well worth the investment.
Are Your Plants Leaf Tips Turning Brown?
A common problem with Boston Fern and almost all indoor houseplants is what we call “tipping” or simply the tips of the leaves drying out and turning brown. This can be caused by a number of factors including over-watering, chemical burn from too much fertilizer, Root rot and dry stagnant air. Probably the most common reason your plant is tipping could be in the tap water. Tap water contains salts, chlorine, minerals and fluoride – all of which can build up in the soil of your plant causing the tips of the leaves to burn and turn brown. One way you can reduce this is to use a water filtration system. If you do not have a filtration system available, leaving he water in an open container overnight before using can help relieve some of the chlorine.
Fertilizing Boston Fern
Do house plant fertilizers work? Definitely. Boston Ferns, like every other living thing need a source of energy. The plants take in their nutrients from the light, water and potting medium they are planted in. That medium only holds so much, and when the nutrients are depleted, fertilizer is the only source left. People who grow house plants without repotting and fertilizing regularly are essentially starving the plants and holding them back from their full potential. There are many different fertilizers on the market and they come in many forms. There are water soluble fertilizers, ready to use liquid, liquid concentrate, fertilizer spikes, time release granules and many others. Which fertilizer works best? That is up for you to decide. We prefer a ready to use liquid simply for the convenience of use. We also dilute the fertilizer and use every time we water so there is a constant stream of nutrients being fed to the plants.
Boston Fern Disease and Insects
Boston Fern plants are susceptible to common insect infestation when grown indoors. The most common problems that can occur are spider mites, mealy bugs and scale. All of these issues can be resolved quite easily if spotted early and treated properly. In most cases, a simple treatment of insecticidal soap or a solution of rubbing alcohol and water will do the trick. If you are having problems with your plant and not sure of the right solution, contact us and we will be happy to provide the best product for your issue.
Do you have a question about Boston Ferns or any other plant that was not answered here? Please feel free to contact us at 201-794-4747 and speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members. We would be happy to help.
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