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Boston Ferns

Boston Ferns

A decorative houseplant, the fern will add deep green color and clean the air!

By FamilyTime

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Boston ferns have long been popular houseplants. In Victorian times, they graced pedestals in drawing rooms, or hung from the ceilings of wrap-around porches. They can do the same today.


The ferns have full foliage and in their native tropics, cover the forest floor with dense greenery.


As a houseplant, Boston ferns are credited with being one of the best for cleansing the air. This alone is good reason to invest in one.


While there are more than 30 varieties of Boston ferns, the most common is the Bostoniensis, or sword fern, so named because of its graceful, curved fronds. The ferns can get quite large and when well cared for are luxuriously green and full.


Care and Feeding

Boston ferns like well drained, rich humus soil and do best planted in clay pots that allow them to breathe. If the pot is roomy, the plant will not become root bound for a few years and when it does, it is easy to transplant.


In their natural habitat, these are shade plants. As houseplants, they like good light but not direct sun. They also thrive in humid environments and so if your house is dry, place the fern near a humidifier. Barring that, give it a good daily spraying with water.


Boston ferns like to live in evenly moist soil. Do not let the soil dry out between waterings but keep it damp, not soggy. You can pour the water into the dish holding the pot and let the fern’s roots absorb it, but do not let the pot sit in unabsorbed water for very long.


If your tap water is very chlorinated, use distilled water to water the ferns.


Feed the ferns with water-soluble food developed for houseplants. In the winter they need monthly feedings while in the summer, you should feed them every two or three weeks.


The ferns are relatively pest-resistant although they may get aphids, mites, and mealy bugs. If you spot these critters on the fronds, spray them with water. If this does not work, use a mild solution of soap and water.


A thriving Boston fern will add drama and beauty to any home, even as it does double duty as an air cleanser. Who can blame the Victorians for favoring these lovely plants?

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