BOSTON FERN (BareRoot) PERENNIAL FOLIAGE
The Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata bostoniensis) is one of the most well-known ferns and admired for its desirable traits as a houseplant. Boston ferns are typically attractive, with long, graceful fronds bedecked with tiny leaves. It is a relatively tough fern, with a higher tolerance for light than other species, and as far as ferns go, they are more tolerant of dry conditions and easy to propagate. An added bonus is that Boston ferns can be displayed in any number of ways, including on pedestals, in hanging baskets, as part of a grouping, or as lush specimen plants on the right windowsill.
To assure that your Boston fern grows to its potential, you need to create the right growing conditions, including the proper light, amount of water, temperature, soil composition, and fertilizer.
- Light: The Boston fern needs bright, indirect light. Some varieties of Nephrolepis can be trained to handle almost full sun, but most, including the Boston fern, prefer filtered, dappled light.
- Water: It is important to keep the root ball moist at all times. If your Boston fern is sitting in somewhat of a dry area (instead of humid), mist with water frequently to keep moist.
- Temperature: These ferns can survive the occasional blast of cold, down to 50 F or even slightly colder for a few hours. However, they really thrive between 60 F and 75 F.
- Soil: Boston ferns need a loamy, rich, organic mixture. Make sure the drainage is good to avoid rotting the roots, which will be evident if the plant is beginning to lose leaves or appears waterlogged. It's a good idea to choose a soil that contains some organic material.
- Fertilizer: During the growing season, feed the fern with liquid or slow-release pellets. If you're not happy with the fern's progress, it won't hurt to slightly increase the fertilizer within reasonable limits.
Nephrolepis ferns appreciate a little TLC. They like to be kept in warm, humid conditions and don't appreciate being blasted by air from outlets or vents. Remove dead fronds and occasionally rotate the plant to keep it growing evenly. During the winter, when the plant isn't growing, you can reduce watering, but your fern should never be allowed to completely dry out. Make sure to maintain a balance of elements for best results—as is true of much of the rest of life, growing ferns is all about moderation and a sober approach that doesn't overemphasize any one element.
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