All you need to know about the Boston Fern
The Boston Fern is one of the most popular plants of all ferns. It’s also a firm favourite here at The Little Botanical – and it’s easy to see why.
For starters, it looks fabulous on display thanks to its bright, bushy leaves (or fronds, as they’re officially known as). It loves humidity, meaning you can place it in your bathroom or kitchen and it’ll thrive. It’s also pet-friendly, super trendy, and has outstanding air-purifying qualities. Seriously, is there anything this plant can’t do?
Not only is it a plant of many talents, but it’s a plant of many names. It’s also known as Sword Fern, Boston Swordfern, Wild Boston Fern, Boston Blue Bell Fern, Tuber Ladder Fern and the Fishbone Fern. Phew!
While Boston Ferns aren’t the easiest plants to care for they provide such a stunning mass of greenery, we think they are worth it. They do need a little TLC. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide with all the Boston Fern care tips you need to help expand your knowledge, allowing you to enjoy your plant for even longer.
How to care for the Boston Fern
Once you’ve found a good spot that he is happy in, looking after a Boston Fern isn’t too tricky, but there are some things you need to be aware of before you start taking care of one.
Firstly, Boston Ferns are fussy about their environment. They need to live somewhere that’s relatively cool, away from direct sunlight. Bright sunshine will scorch the fronds and cause them to go brown, so try not to place yours where it might be too exposed like a sunny windowsill.
We mentioned earlier that Boston Ferns are ideal for kitchens and bathrooms. They love to be in good light but love even more to be in the shelter of a taller plant. Think of how they live in their natural habitat, it’s all about dappled light for these guys. Kitchens are naturally bright and airy, making them a great space for this stunning green fern. Ensuring they get indirect light will ensure they thrive without the worry of them scorching from direct sunlight.
Bostons also need plenty of humidity as they can dry out relatively quickly, so bathrooms make a brilliant home. It will love the moisture after a lovely warm bath or shower. And remember, if Boston Ferns don’t get enough humidity, they can get brown tips, which isn’t such a good look. Don’t despair though, just trim these off and make sure you give it a more regular water.
If you don’t have room for your Boston Fern in your bathroom or kitchen, you can use a humidifier to keep it happy. Or, if you have other houseplants, you can place them all close together to act as humidifiers for each other, feeding off each other’s moisture.
Style your home with the Boston Fern
Not only is the Boston Fern naturally stylish, but it’s a fast grower too. Bostons look great as both a stand-alone plant and as part of a larger green collection. Or for a stylish, modern look, you could create a hanging Boston Fern using a macrame plant hanger.
To get started on your indoor fern jungle, check out our Fern Trio Plant Gang. This tropical, leafy trio is the perfect way to make a statement in your home and will add interest to your office or living space. Pop them up on a shelf or in the centre of your coffee table where everyone can see them. With their individual styles, this trio really makes a stunning display. The fluffy fronds of the Asparagus Fern and the blue fronds of the Blue Star Fern are the perfect partner to the Boston Fern.
The Boston Fern also features as part of our Pet-Friendly Houseplant Bundle and our Bathroom Plant Bundle (it’s very popular, as you can see). It looks fab on a high shelf, just make sure you keep it well hydrated.
As long as you regularly water your plant and make sure it stays humid, you can enjoy those gorgeous ferns wherever you place it.
Did you know?
The Boston Fern is primarily found in woodland, swamps and forests. We’ve mentioned it a few times, but we still want to make it clear just how much this plant loves high humidity.
Is the Boston Fern an air purifier? You bet, and it’s one of the best! In fact, NASA has officially recognised it for its outstanding air-purifying qualities, just in case you needed any more reasons to believe in the wonders of the Boston Fern plant. The Boston Fern is also one of the best plants for removing the toxins xylene, toluene, and formaldehyde from the air. You might not have heard of all three, but they’re found in a range of everyday products, such as glue, nail polish, stain removers – and even in our bodies.
Not only that, the Boston Fern naturally restores moisture to the air, which helps to improve humidity levels. This means that the plant doesn’t just look great but can also make you feel better by improving the air you breathe. What’s not to love?
Bringing the outdoors indoors with the Boston Fern
Owning a Boston Fern is the perfect way to enjoy the plant’s outdoor qualities in the comfort of your own home.
By following these simple care steps and keeping your plant as hydrated as possible, it’ll flourish in your living space just the same as it would in a woodland or forest. It looks perfect in our stylish ceramic pots. And if you want to find your plant a little company – go for it! You’ll have a beautiful green jungle in no time.
The Boston Fern is the king of the indoor jungle and following our easy-care guide, he’ll thrive in your home. Considering everything he does, keeping him humid and hydrated isn’t a lot to ask for.
Wherever you choose to keep your Boston Fern, we’re confident you’re going to love it just as much as we do. And because it’s pet-friendly, your cats and dogs can make friends with the Boston Fern too.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about this humble houseplant. As ever, if you have any burning questions or need some extra advice about how to care for yours, get in touch with us at [email protected] We’d also love to see some snaps of the Boston Fern in your home (bonus points if you manage to sneak your pets in too)! Feel free to share them on Instagram and don’t forget to tag us
Lots of love,
Team TLB xx
Frequently asked questions
How much sunlight do Boston Ferns need?
The plant thrives in indirect sunlight. That’s because they naturally grow in forest undergrowth, so they’re used to getting dappled light. Those bushy fronds are so delicate, they’ll get scorched by the direct sun.
That’s not to say the plant shouldn’t get any light, but it must be filtered. A bright and airy room is best for your Boston.
How can I give my Boston Fern the humidity it needs?
You don’t have to keep your fern in the bathroom to keep it moist. Most homes are dry, so water your Boston Fern once a week and lightly mist it every now and then to provide it with the humidity it needs. Keep it away from radiators and draughty areas to prevent it from drying out.
Dry soil is one of the most common reasons why Boston Ferns don’t survive, so check the soil regularly to ensure it remains consistently damp. However, overwatering is also a problem, so it’s important you get the balance right. Yellow fronds are a sign of overwatering so keep an eye on it.
Should I cut the dead leaves off my Boston Fern?
If the ends of the fronds become brown or yellow, trim them away. It’s normal for the leaves to turn brown as they age, so pruning is a great way to tidy the plant while exposing the younger, greener fronds.
You can also do this to improve the look of your plant if it becomes a bit too bushy and out of control.
Is the Boston Fern an indoor plant?
They thrive best in temperatures ranging from 15º-25ºC. Boston Ferns don’t like to be too hot or cold – they like the temperature to be just right. They can’t tolerate frosty temperatures, which is why you’re better off keeping your Boston Fern indoors.
Is the Boston Fern toxic to pets?
Good news – the Boston Fern is pet-friendly and won’t harm your furry friends if they go near it.