The Plant: A group of around 30 ferns, some evergreen and some semi-evergreen, some epiphytic. A dense central clump produces long pinnate fronds, some, like the ‘Bostoniensis’ have more arching fronds, whilst the species ‘Teddy Junior’ has crinkled, wavy-edged leaflets.
The Nephrolepsis exaltata ‘Whitmanii’ has delicate
lace-filigree leaflets. The Boston Gold Fern is still the most
popular as its bright foliage is able to enhance any shady
Its needs: The Boston ferns can be grown in light or semi-shade conditions, no direct sun, but appreciate a winter minimum temperature of 18C or above, in a draught-free setting.
The potting mix should be a rich, open, free-draining mix. Warmth and humidity promotes growth, so mist leaves in dry conditions.
Nephrolepsis exaltata - The Boston Fern
Water freely throughout summer, if possible using rain water,
and taking care not to over-water or under-water the fern. The
roots like to be kept moist rather than stood in water. Feed
once a month through the summer. Snip off dying fronds to
maintain a tidy plant habit. If necessary re-pot in spring but
Boston Ferns are not the easiest to maintain from year to year
and may go through a ‘sulky’ period. Watch for Botrytis, (grey
mould), scale pest, red spider mite and whitefly. The fern
can be cut back quite hard in spring in order to rejuvenate it.
Good for: Nephrolepsis exaltata makes a good hanging basket plant or can be kept in a container, the colourful foliage making a ‘highlight’ in a shady corner. An attractive foliage plant.