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Nephrolepsis exaltata - The Boston Fern. how to grow and care. 

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 corner.

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 Fern on PedastalNephrolepsis exaltata - The Boston Fern

Care: 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.


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