Boston Fern finds its way into hanging baskets and mixed annual containers for the summer because of its easy going, full nature. The lush, full foliage fills any container with solid green color. This fern looks beautiful in hanging baskets or mixed containers because it goes well with any color of foliage or any color flower, and brings a lot of personality to shady spots. Luckily, Asparagus Fern can also handle dappled shade, and indoors it just needs some light from a windowsill and some humidity.
Growing Zone: 9-11
Mature Height: 12″ – 18″
Mature Width: 18″ – 36″
Classification: Green Foliage
Sunlight: Bright, indirect light to mostly shade
Habit: Cascading, dense
Flower Color: Does not flower
Foliage: Green, flat fronds
Soil Condition: Must retain moisture
Water Require: Does not like to dry out between watering
Uses: Excellent individually or in a container or hanging basket, inside or out
Does Not Ship To: CA, WA, OR, AZ
Boston Fern is a classic houseplant or hanging basket for summer outdoors. It doesn’t require much light, and handles even the shadiest spots outdoors. Boston Ferns require consistent moisture, and can not handle going completely dry. They also like a fair amount of humidity if kept indoors, making these ferns a fabulous addition to kitchens or bathrooms. These ferns are loved for the dependable, easy nature. All they require is some water and a little bit of light to be happy. Boston Ferns have been a staple in homes for years.
Light Requirement of Boston Ferns:
Indoors, Boston Fern needs bright, indirect light from a windowsill. Northern or eastern facing windows would keep your plant happy. Outside, Boston Ferns can handle some sun, but not much. Again, eastern exposure or dappled shade would be ideal. The fronds will burn and turn yellow then brown if exposed to too much sunlight.
Watering Requirement of Boston Ferns:
Boston Fern likes to stay moist. It does not like to stay or sit in water or get too dry. Find a rhythm with your Boston Fern so that it stays moist but not wet, and never dries out.
Fertilizing Boston Ferns:
Any all purpose, foliage fertilizer will work for Boston Fern. Indoor houseplant fertilizers fall into two groups: water soluble, liquid quick release, and granular, slow release fertilizers. Jack’s Classic Indoor plant food works well as a powder, quick release fertilizer that is mixed with water to quickly provide nutrients to a plant that has been in a container for an extended time. On the other hand, Biotone Starter or Osmocote Indoor/Outdoor is an option as a granular, slow release fertilizer that can be applied while potting and planting. Any type of fertilizer offers nutrients that help plants with the transition to a new environment. All of these fertilizers may be used when planting Boston Fern indoors or outdoors.
Best Growing Soil for Boston Ferns:
Boston Fern likes a dense soil, and prefers to have moist conditions. Plants can not stay constantly wet, but do not like to go completely dry either. It’s best to use a regular potting mix or a potting mix based in peat moss, which retains moisture.
History and Naming of Boston Ferns:
Boston Ferns are a true symbol of summer because of their bright green full foliage. The fronds gently cascade over containers and do well in hanging baskets because of their graceful nature. The Boston Fern is actually a cultivar of a sword fern native to Florida, and shares most of its Latin name: Nephrolepis exaltata. These plants were widely cultivated as houseplants for people in the United States and Europe in the mid to late nineteenth century. Boston Ferns as a variety were discovered in a shipment between Philadelphia and Boston when a mutant was discovered, propagated and popularized. This mutation caused the fronds to cascade inside of having a strictly upright habit.
Nephrolepsis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’ is the Latin name for Boston fern. The first part is taken from the wild, native sword fern that grew in Florida and was cultivated to become the Boston Fern. The shipment that arrived in Boston determined the last addition to the Latin name.