Boston ferns are some of the most common and classic houseplants that you will find. They’re good plants that grow naturally in many tropical areas.
If you’re thinking of caring for a Boston fern in your home soon, it’s good to learn about care requirements. If you want the plant to thrive under your care, you must do what you can to get things right.
What are the lighting requirements for Boston ferns? Are they easy to care for in homes?
Keep reading to learn everything that you need to know about Boston fern light requirements. You’ll also get basic care tips that will help you to keep the plant healthy.
Can Boston Ferns Take Full Sun?
It isn’t a good idea to place Boston ferns in full sun. These plants are a bit too delicate to handle full sunlight.
This is especially true if you live somewhere that’s rather warm and gets especially bright sunlight. Generally, Boston ferns do best when they’re placed in indirect sunlight.
If you want your houseplant to be in the best condition, find a spot where it can receive bright sunlight in the morning. You simply don’t want the plant to be exposed to full sunlight during the afternoon.
The afternoon sun is harsh and will likely burn the fronds of your houseplant. Full sun during the morning might be okay so long as it isn’t too hot.
In some areas, even morning sunlight will be too harsh during the hottest days of summer. Indirect sunlight truly is your best bet when you want to keep the plant safe and healthy.
Can Boston Ferns Tolerate Low Light?
You now know that Boston ferns don’t do well in full sun. Does this mean that they’ll do okay in low-light environments?
No, Boston ferns aren’t meant to be placed in low-light environments. These plants come from tropical regions and they do enjoy bright sunlight.
It’s simply not best to put them in full sun. Full sun will scorch Boston ferns, but they still need bright sunlight to thrive.
You’re supposed to put these plants somewhere where they can receive indirect sunlight. Bright indirect sunlight is the best lighting condition for Boston ferns.
If you put a Boston fern in a low-light environment, it’s not going to look very good. Often, when these plants are placed in too much shade, they will develop sparse fronds.
When the houseplant has very little access to light, it might not even survive. Keep this in mind and only put these plants in an appropriate lighting environment.
What Kind of Light Does a Boston Fern Need?
To get the best results, you’ll want to find a sunny window for your Boston fern. These houseplants love bright light, but it needs to be indirect for the plant to thrive.
Too much full sun will easily scorch the leaves and leave your plant looking worse for wear. Be careful where you position the plant so you can protect it.
It should be easy to find a sunny window and then position the plant in such a way that it isn’t exposed to full sunlight. So long as you can protect the plant from the harshness of the sun, it should be easy to keep it in good shape.
These plants do best when they get enough sunlight. Too little sunlight usually makes the plant look much less impressive than it otherwise would.
This isn’t something that should concern you since it’s easy to find a sunny window for your Boston fern in a home environment. These plants might be less practical if you’re looking for a houseplant to keep in an office cubicle that doesn’t get much sun, though.
If you’re looking for office plants, you might need to look elsewhere. Boston ferns can be good office plants only if you can provide them with the right lighting conditions.
Medium Light is Okay
Bright light is best for Boston ferns. However, the plants will also do fine indoors if you can provide them with medium light.
Essentially, these plants just can’t be in low-light situations. They can survive and do well in medium light.
The plant might not look as full and lush as it could if it’s kept in medium light. Even so, it will still look nice and be a good addition to your home or office.
Make sure that you can give the plant at least medium light indoors before buying it. Otherwise, it’d be better to pass on it and get another plant that will better suit your current situation.
Even in medium light conditions, you want to avoid full sunlight. Keep this in mind and all should be well.
Can Boston Ferns Be Kept on the Porch?
Boston ferns actually do really well on porches. Many people keep these plants out on their porches during the spring and summer.
If you have a covered porch, it should be easy to position the plant properly. You want a bright spot for the plant where it isn’t receiving full sun.
So long as it’s warm enough outside, it should be good to keep the plant on the porch. These plants prefer temperatures that stay between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Given the temperature requirements, it won’t be practical to keep these plants on the porch all the time. When it gets too cool outside, it’ll be necessary to bring the plant indoors.
Of course, these plants can be planted outdoors in some locations. However, you’d need to live in a warm region to be able to get good results.
Boston ferns thrive in USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11. They do best in warm and humid environments.
These plants can tolerate temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but you can’t keep them outdoors if it gets colder than that. Keep this in mind, and you should have no issues when keeping these plants on the porch.
Keep the Boston Fern Away from Vents
Keeping the Boston fern away from vents is important. These houseplants don’t do well when exposed to temperature extremes.
They do great with stable indoor temperatures. Most people keep the temperature set somewhere in the right range for these plants.
Earlier you learned that these plants like it when the temperature stays between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They can tolerate temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but drafts can be a problem.
With this in mind, you need to be careful where you position the plant in your home. Putting this houseplant too close to vents or drafty windows could be a problem.
When placed too close to a heating vent, it could dry the plant out. This could cause significant stress and lead to various issues.
Exposure to the cold can be very troublesome for these plants. If your houseplant is too close to a drafty window, it could die if you don’t take action.
Likewise, keeping the plant near an air conditioning unit is a bad idea. This area will be too cold for the Boston fern.
Instead, you should pick out a safe spot that’s away from vents, air conditioning units, and drafty windows. This is crucial if you plan to keep your Boston fern safe.
What’s the Best Soil for Boston Fern Plants?
Planting Boston ferns in the right soil will help you to keep them in good shape. Ideally, you want to pick soil that has good drainage.
These houseplants can struggle when the soil doesn’t drain properly. Also, the soil should be rich enough that it will provide the plant with many nutrients.
When you’re caring for Boston ferns indoors, it’s generally best to buy a peat-based potting mix. These mixes contain perlite to help with drainage.
Poor drainage can be a real problem for Boston ferns. If the drainage issues are severe enough, it could even lead to root rot.
Watering Boston Ferns
You want to do your best to keep the soil moist when caring for Boston ferns. It’s best to keep the soil lightly moist because you don’t want to go overboard.
Watering these plants too much can be a huge problem. Boston ferns don’t do well when the soil is soggy.
This houseplant actively grows during the spring and summer months. During this time, you’ll keep an eye on the soil to keep it lightly moist.
You’ll likely have to water the plant once per week when caring for it indoors. However, it’s best to check the plant semi-regularly by touching the soil with your fingers.
In the fall and winter months, you won’t need to water the plant as often. It’s likely that you’ll water the Boston fern biweekly during these two seasons.
You still don’t want the fronds to dry out, though. This is why it’s best to keep an eye on the plant and check rather than relying on watering it once per week or once every two weeks.
Boston Fern Humidity
Keeping the Boston fern indoors will be simple, but you still need to monitor the conditions in the room. As a tropical plant, a Boston fern is going to require high humidity.
To keep the plant healthy, it’s best to keep it in a room with a humidity level of 80%. There are a few ways that you can make this happen.
One of the most practical solutions is to keep the Boston fern on a tray that’s filled with both water and pebbles. This is a simple way to raise the humidity that won’t take much effort.
You should also regularly mist the plant to artificially raise the humidity in the room. If the humidity gets too low, the fronds will likely start to turn brown.
If you live in an area with low humidity, it might be wise to purchase a small humidifier for your houseplants. This can be a good way to battle issues with dryness.
Should You Fertilize Boston Ferns?
You don’t have to fertilize Boston ferns much if you plant them in fertile soil. As long as the soil contains rich organic material, you might not even need to fertilize it.
Of course, the plant can benefit from being fertilized during the growing season. You can feed your houseplant once per month during the spring and summer.
The best type of fertilizer to use for an indoor Boston fern is 20-10-20 fertilizer. You should dilute the fertilizer to half-strength for safety purposes.
Don’t fertilize the plant at all during the autumn or winter. You only want to fertilize Boston ferns during the spring and summer.
Pruning Boston ferns is a good idea. If you want to make sure that your Boston fern is full, it’s best to prune it regularly.
This can be a good way to prevent legginess. When you go to repot the plant, it’s wise to take the time to prune it.
Prune away all brown leaves that you can find. You should also be sure to cut back any leafless runners that you notice.
Be sure to trim the side fronds as well. Always use sharp shears that have been sterilized when you’re pruning the plant.
You don’t want to crop the top of your plant. It’s best to trim around the edges and shape the plant as desired.
Learning more about Boston ferns will allow you to care for them better. They’re truly excellent houseplants, but you do want to make sure you can give them the right environment.
These plants need to be kept in homes that have the right conditions. You should put the plant in a window where it will have access to bright indirect sunlight.
It’s also fine to give the plant medium sunlight conditions. These plants don’t do well when placed in full shade, though.
Do your best to water these plants properly without overwatering. Too much water can easily lead to issues with root rot.
Planting Boston ferns in pots with well-draining soil is highly recommended. The soil should also be rich in nutrients.
Since Boston ferns are tropical plants, they need to have the right humidity conditions. You can raise the humidity in the room by misting the plant and placing it over a water dish that contains pebbles.
If you keep all of this in mind, it should be easier to get good results. You’ll have a great time caring for Boston ferns, and you’ll love how nice they look.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.