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The Boston Fern: All you need to know

2 February 2022 | Plant Care and Guides

The Boston Fern is one of the most popular of all ferns and definitely a ‘fern’ favourite here at TLB. There’s so much to love about these gorgeous, green beauties. For starters, their lush green, feathery fronds bring a fabulous pop of textured, vibrant green to your home. And not only do they look good, but they also have wondrous air-purifying qualities and they’re pet friendly. With so much to love about these gorgeous houseplants, we think it’s only right that we provide you with some hints and tips for keeping them thriving in your home. Read on for our care guide, shopping inspo and some fun facts too.

A Complete Guide to Caring for the Boston Fern

As ferns go, the Boston Fern is one of the least tricky to care for. Having said that, they do have somewhat of a high maintenance reputation amongst all houseplants. So, we’re here to put your minds at ease. There are some specific care requirements that are important to get right in order to keep your plant happy, but once you’ve nailed the light conditions, watering schedule and humidity levels, it’s fairly simple to keep this guy thriving.

So have a read of our Boston Fern care guide and you’ll have yourselves a flourishing fern in no time. And in even better news; despite their high maintenance reputation, they can tolerate some neglect and if you do get some brown leaves along the way, they can be trimmed off and the plant will revive – so if it takes you a bit of time to work out the exact needs of your plant, all will not be lost!


It’s really important to get the lighting right to ensure your green beauty stays happy and healthy. When thinking about the indoor care needs of a Boston Fern, it helps to keep in mind their natural habitat; they grow on the forest floor and therefore benefit from oodles of shade from the taller trees around them. So when you’re picking a spot for your frondly friend, ensure that it:

  • Provides indirect sunlight.
  • Isn’t too warm; ideally 18˚C – 23˚C.
  • Avoids direct sunlight as this will cause those luscious leaves to lose their lustre and turn yellow or brown.


Your Boston Fern will thrive in moist, but not wet soil. For the best results you should:

  • Water your Boston Fern regularly; approximately every 7-10 days.
  • Keep the soil damp but not sodden.
  • Empty any excess water that has gathered at the bottom of the pot after each watering.
  • Avoid allowing your plant to sit in water as this causes root rot which would eventually kill the plant.


These green beauties absolutely love a humid environment because they can dry out quite easily. Without the right level of humidity, they can develop brown tips on their leaves. To ensure your Boston Fern stays lovely and moist:

  • Consider giving him a home in your kitchen or bathroom as these tend to be the most humid rooms.
  • Regularly mist his leaves to keep the moisture levels up, especially if your green beauty is living in a less humid room.
  • You can always use a humidifier to make absolutely certain the humidity levels are high
  • Make your Boston Fern part of a stunning plant gang, placing them close together, they will look great and work as humidifiers for each other.


Your fern may start to lose some of its luscious green colours during the spring and summer months. This is his peak growing period and he will benefit from some plant food once a month during this time. During the winter months, food will be needed less frequently.

The Boston Fern

Hopefully, having read our care guide you’re confident that, despite his reputation, a Boston Fern isn’t too difficult to care for and so you might be considering one for your indoor jungle. Look no further, our stunning fern will add an oh-so-gorgeous splash of style to your interiors.

Pop him on a shelf or sideboard in one of our bespoke ceramics and his fab, fast-growing, feathery fronds will add a gorgeous splash of green colour and texture. Or for a seriously stylish, space-saving option take a look at our fabulous macrame plant hanger. These gorgeous accessories are handwoven by artisans using sustainable cotton and eucalyptus, just wonderful for displaying your plants a little differently.

Boston Fern Plant Bundles

For a dash of rustic, natural charm and a tropical jungle vibe, give our Fern Trio Plant Gang a try. This fab trio sees the Boston Fern buddied with his relatives; the Blue Star Fern and the Asparagus Fern and they come potted in charcoal and almond natural, stoneware ceramics. Perfectly simple yet stylish green décor.

This isn’t the only plant gang our lovely Boston Fern features in; he’s very popular as you can tell! If the indoor jungle vibe is your thing and you’re on the lookout for a botanical bundle we’ve got some options for you. He features in this Pet-Friendly Plant Gang which is not only super stylish but each of the plants chosen are also perfectly safe if your furry friends decided to have a nibble.

If you loved the idea of keeping this humidity-loving plant happy in your bathroom, think about going big on the botanical bathroom vibes. This fab selection of houseplants and succulents, including our super Boston Fern, is ideal for transforming a lacklustre bathroom into an oasis of green.

Ferns Love the Living Wall

Our final piece of fern inspo is our on-trend, super stylish living wall. Ferns are simply wonderful in a living wall, adding colour and texture to this popular, living art option. Our PlantBox Indoor Living Walls are made from 100% recycled plastic, everything you need to get started is included and they are super simple to put together. Urban oasis here you come!

Fun Facts

We mentioned it briefly in the intro but we think it deserves more than a passing comment. The Boston Fern is an air-purifying superhero. So heroic are his credentials in this area that NASA has officially recognised him for his outstanding air purifying qualities. As well as purifying the air, he also removes toxins such as xylene, toluene and formaldehyde which can be found in many everyday items around the house.

We might have mentioned this a couple of times already, but the Boston Fern loves humidity. But, he also acts as a humidifier for us too; he will naturally restore moisture to the air. That, combined with his air purifying and detoxing skills, means he’s improving the air we breathe – amazing. His demands for a cool, dimly lit setting with just the right amount of water don’t seem like such a big ask now we know we’re getting wonderfully purified air in return, do they?

The Boston Fern, as we now know, is a plant of many talents. He is also a plant of many names; in addition to the Boston Fern, he is sometimes known as a Sword Fern, a Boston Sword Fern, a Wild Boston Fern, a Boston Blue Bell Fern, a Tuber Ladder Fern and a Fishbone Fern. Phew!

Frequently Asked Questions About the Boston Fern

Your Boston Fern will thrive in indirect sunlight because they grow in the forest undergrowth and are therefore naturally shaded and used to getting dappled light. Avoid placing your Boston Fern in direct sunlight because their bushy fronds are delicate and will scorch in direct sunlight.

A great way to give your Boston Fern the humidity it needs to thrive is to position him in your bathroom where humidity levels are naturally higher than in other parts of a home. However, you don’t have to keep your Boston Fern in the bathroom to ensure he receives the right level of humidity. You can lightly mist his fronds/leaves regularly to keep the moisture levels up or use a humidifier. If you place your Boston Fern close to a group of other plants – this will help the humidity levels too, as the plants will act as humidifiers for each other.

If the ends of the fronds become brown or yellow, you can trim them away. It’s normal for the fronds to turn brown as they age, so pruning is a great way to tidy the plant and expose the younger, greener growth. You can also give your Boston Fern a prune if it becomes a bit too bushy and out of control.

Yes, Boston Ferns are much more suited to an indoor environment when kept as a houseplant. They will thrive in temperatures between 18˚C – 23˚C, so you could move your fern to a shady outdoor spot in the warmer summer months. However, if you choose to do that, do remember to bring him back indoors for the winter as he won’t cope with the colder temperatures, especially frost.

Great news, the Boston Fern is part of our pet-friendly houseplant range so is perfectly safe around your four-legged friends, yay!


If your fern appears to be dying it is likely that he is being either overwatered or underwatered, alternatively his position could be providing the wrong lighting conditions. Take care not to assume that a limp looking fern is thirsty, it could be overwatered. The best course of action is to assess your fern’s condition and location to help you make a diagnosis. You may find that your chosen spot is not giving your fern adequate, indirect sunlight, or he could be in the direct glare of the sun.

Also, check the soil, it should be damp but not sodden. He shouldn’t be completely dried out or sitting in water. Once you have worked out what the problem is, make the necessary changes to the watering schedule or position of your fern and he should recover.

The most likely cause of yellow leaves on your Boston Fern is overwatering. Make sure you let the soil dry out a little before watering. And trim off any lower yellow and brown leaves to make way for fresh growth – your Boston Fern will benefit from a regular haircut.

Brown tips on the fronds of your Boston Fern are most likely being caused by either too little water or perhaps too much sun. If you find that the soil is dried out, indicating that the cause is underwatering, give him a good soak and trim off any brown tips. If your plant is getting too much sun simply change his position to somewhere with more indirect light. You should soon have yourself a happy little fern again.

Don’t worry, it is very normal for older leaves to fall from your Boston Fern. They can be tidied up and trimmed off to make room for new growth and keep your plant looking fresh and healthy.

We hope this Boston Fern care guide has given you loads of useful information about how to look after this prince among plants as well as showing you what a fab little plant he is. He is such a brilliant choice for your indoor jungle, adding heaps of style and texture whilst bringing those wondrous air purifying and detoxing powers too; win-win.

If you have any more questions about the care of your Boston Fern or any other plant for that matter, please do get in touch at [email protected]. And when your plant is settled in his new home, we’d love to see some snaps, don’t forget to tag us @thelittlebotanical on insta, and if you’re furry friends sneak into the pics, all the better! Until next time love plant tribe.

Lots of love

Team TLB xx

Boston Fern

From £13

Perfect for the bathroom or kitchen. Boston Ferns love high humidity and indirect light.

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