Boston Fern Plants FAQ

Boston fern plants have several frequently asked questions about their care. With a bit of care and practice you can have these beautiful plants decorating your home.

What is the best soil for a Boston Fern?

Boston ferns like a rich soil that is kept loosely aerated. A good mixture of dark potting soil, vermiculite and sterilized compost is recommended. Think of the soil in a lush forest. This is what your fern soil should resemble. Keep the soil loose around the roots of your plant and non compacted to encourage growth. These plants can't thrive in compacted soil.

How should I water my Boston Fern?

The soil of a Boston fern should be kept evenly moist, but not wet. Don't let your plant stand in a saucer full of water as this can cause root rot. Many people water their ferns with bottled water as the municipal water in many localities contains chemicals that can be harmful to plants. The water should be room temperature. Don't use water from a water supply that has a water softener attached to it as the salt from the softener can be harmful to the plant. Many growers advise letting your fern become completely dry between waterings during fall and winter months.

What are the humidity requirements of a Boston Fern?

Boston ferns love humidity. If you have the light requirements needed, a bathroom is a great place for a fern. You can also mist your fern with a mister using warm water to boost the humidity. Try filling a plant saucer with pebbles then adding water. Sit your fern on top of this so it can get the benefits of the evaporation of the water. Be sure the fern isn't sitting in the water. Without proper humidity, the fronds or leaves of your fern will turn brown and be brittle. Cut these dead fronds from your plant to maintain its attractive appearance.

What are the light requirements of a Boston Fern?

Boston ferns will thrive on a shaded porch or deck. They like light but not direct sun as this is too much light and the heat from the sun can burn them very quickly. So bright, diffused light is what your plant needs. Many homeowners swear by Boston ferns to decorate their shaded porches in the summer. This is especially good for a tree shaded lawn or north facing porch. If you are trying to grow your fern under artificial light they will need 12 to 16 hours of light per day.

How should I feed my Boston Fern?

There are many commercial fern foods available and you should use them as directed on the package. Always use a water soluble plant food, many people prefer liquid plant foods for ferns as they dissolve immediately. These should be used every two weeks during the growing season. Plant sticks or fertilizer sticks are not advised for Boston Ferns. To help achieve a rich, green color, the Boston fern can be given a mixture of two tablespoons of Epsom salts per gallon of water. The same article says this mixture can be applied two times per year.

What are the best temperatures for a Boston Fern?

Boston ferns prefer cool but not cold temperatures. Never place one in front of an air conditioner or a heat vent. If you have them hung outdoors for the spring and summer months, bring inside before the night time temperature remains a consistent 55 degrees.