One of the first plants to be brought into homes, the Boston Fern has been a firm favourite for over a century with its popularity beginning in Victorian times.
Most Boston Ferns today are a mutation of one of the original species. Cultivated to pronounce their arching fronds and deep green colour.
Boston Ferns grow on rhizomes (semi-/subterranean stems) and therefore can be ‘killed’ back to soil level, with the rhizomes still alive, to produce new foliage.
Native to a range of tropical areas from Florida down through Central and South America, Africa and Southeast Asia. Growing in tropical forests, found in the understory where moisture and humidity are consistent.
The genus name ‘Nephrolepis’ roughly translates to mean ‘kidney’, likely in reference to the kidney shaped sori (spore) formations on fertile fronds.
This plant is in the family Nephrolepidaceae.
Other names for this plant include:
Sword Fern, Boston’s Fern
Light | Not dissimilar to most other fern species, the Boston Fern is used to growing in shadier corners of its habitat, often under other foliage. At home, for the happiest, healthiest fern possible, grow in lots of bright, indirect light. No sunlight is necessary, however up to half an hour of passing sun can happily be tolerated, though more may cause scorching.
Water | Ferns are reliant on consistent access to moisture, in both the soil and the air. Therefore, keep this fern evenly watered, giving it a drink when the surface of the soil is dry, and elevate the humidity where possible.
Humidity | A higher level of humidity is recommended for this plant to thrive; however, it is not essential to maintain its health. Growing it next to other plants is an easy way to heighten the humidity.
Temperature | Although technically this fern can be tolerant of lower temperatures, anything below 12°C will cause a loss of foliage, as the plant dies back to its rhizomes, and will regrow when temperatures rise again. For best growth, keep between 15-25°C.