Boston ferns have been very popular for a long time. They are also sometimes sold at stores as sword ferns.
Overall, taking care of Boston ferns is easy so long as you get used to doing things right. It doesn’t take too much effort to keep your houseplant looking great.
If you don’t prune the plant, it’ll wind up getting out of control. It’s not possible to keep the plant looking as attractive as possible if you don’t take the time to maintain it.
Below, you’ll learn exactly how to prune Boston ferns. This will give you information about how to approach things so you will always get the best results.
Do You Need to Trim a Boston Fern?
If you want the plant to look the best that it can, it’s necessary to trim it. Boston ferns will grow as time passes. The growth of the plant will cause some sections to look old and shoddy.
For instance, you might see old fronds on the plant that are discolored. Some of the fronds might be yellow or brown due to their age, and these will be prime spots to trim the plant.
Whenever you notice that there are brown or yellow spots on the plant, it’s going to be wise to give it a little trim. You’ll also want to pay attention to any leafless runners that you see on the plant.
Trimming the plant will help it to dedicate more energy toward new growth. Giving the plant a good trim is going to be good for it and it’ll help it to look far nicer overall.
Shaping the Plant
It’s also worth noting that many plant owners will want to shape their Boston ferns. If you don’t trim the plant, it’s going to grow erratically.
Erratic growth is likely going to be less than pleasing to the eyes. Often, Boston ferns that are left to their own devices will grow in unusual ways.
You can shape the plant by pruning it so it will always have a pleasant shape. It requires a bit of effort on your part, but it’s certainly worth it when you care about how your plants look.
The plant will benefit from semi-regular pruning. Now that you know this, you simply need to learn how to do things properly.
When Should You Prune Boston Ferns?
Pruning Boston ferns is something that you can do whenever it appears to be necessary. Simply look at the plant and see if it could use a little trim.
Many people choose to prune their plants regularly to get rid of old growth and to keep everything looking nice. You might need to prune the plant somewhat often to keep its shape.
There will be times of the year when you’ll want to do more severe pruning, though. The big pruning jobs should probably only be done at certain times of the year.
It’s said that big pruning sessions should be done during the spring or summer. This can coincide with the time when you usually repot the plants.
You can cut the plants back more than usual when you do this. Since you’re doing it during the spring or summer, the Boston ferns will have an easier time bouncing back.
Boston ferns do well when you prune them aggressively so you don’t have to worry too much. Taking this action will help the plant to grow full and bushy.
Try to get into the habit of pruning your plant regularly. Then save the huge pruning sessions where you majorly cut the plant back to the spring or summer months when you’re repotting the plant.
If you stick with a schedule like this, it’ll be easy to get good results. Your Boston ferns will be in great shape.
How to Prune a Boston Fern
Pruning a Boston fern isn’t tough overall. You don’t have to approach this too differently from other plants.
To start, get a sharp pair of pruning shears and ensure that the shears have been sterilized before proceeding. You always want to sterilize the shears before making cuts to protect the plant.
It’s also a good idea to move the plant outdoors to do the pruning session. Pruning the Boston fern will make a bit of a mess.
Doing the pruning outside makes it easier to clean the mess up. Conversely, you could put the plant on a sheet that you don’t mind getting dirty if you don’t wish to do the pruning outdoors.
When you’re ready, you can start pruning the plant. You want to trim away old sections of the plant.
You’ll trim brown and yellow fronds off of the plant. It’ll also be best to trim away any legless runners that you can find.
Avoid cropping the top of the plant during this pruning session. Focus on trimming the side fronds and make your cuts at the base of the plant.
Remove any old fronds that you see near the soil. Doing so makes it simpler for new growth to break through.
When it comes to shaping the plant, you should trim around the outer edges to give the plant its shape. You should be able to make the plant look attractive without cutting it too far back.
Sometimes you might choose to cut the plant back really far. Severe pruning should only be done in the spring or summer during repotting.
You can cut it back to the base of the plant if necessary. However, you likely won’t want to do this since it’ll take quite some time for the plant to look attractive again.
What Do Yellow Leaves Mean?
Are you wondering what yellow leaves mean? When you see yellow leaves on your Boston fern, what does this indicate?
Typically, yellow leaves are a sign that the houseplant is stressed in some way. This could mean that the plant is having some difficulty adapting to the environment in your home.
Perhaps the plant is too close to a drafty window or a vent. It’s also possible that you could be watering the plant improperly.
When you don’t water Boston ferns right, they might develop yellow leaves. This is something that you can turn around by watering the plant more carefully.
You want to keep the soil moist when caring for Boston ferns. However, you’re not supposed to allow the soil to become soggy.
Check the soil with your fingers before watering the plant. This should allow you to avoid watering the plant too much.
Another thing to know is that overly dry air can contribute to these plants developing yellow leaves. The humidity in your home might not be ideal for these plants.
There are a few ways that you can fix this. One idea is to simply mist the plants with water to increase the humidity.
Another option is to use a small humidifier for your houseplants. If you live in a rather dry area, this is likely going to be the optimal choice.
When Boston ferns become too large for their current pots, they might start experiencing leaf yellowing. So you might need to repot the plant.
The age of the plant could cause it to develop yellow fronds, too. So it isn’t always an indication that you’re making mistakes.
What Do Brown Leaves Mean?
It’s not uncommon to see Boston ferns develop brown leaves. This can happen due to some of the fronds being old, but it could indicate other issues.
Sometimes the leaves will develop brown edges when you use fertilizer too much. This is why it’s imperative to avoid overdoing it with fertilizer.
Problems with soil compaction can lead to the plants developing brown leaves as well. You might need to loosen the soil or ensure that the plant isn’t overcrowded to turn things around.
Even touching the fronds too much with your hands can cause them to turn brown. You’re supposed to avoid handling the plant too much.
When you notice brown leaves, simply prune them away. Be sure to make your cuts at the base and get rid of the brown leaves in a timely fashion.
This will make it easier for new growth to push through. There’s no reason not to trim brown leaves.
You should feel much more confident about pruning Boston ferns now. It’s not hard to do, but it is something that you should attempt to do the right way.
Be sure to use sharp pruning shears whenever you attempt this. You want to sterilize the pruning shears before getting started, too.
Make cuts at the base of the plant and avoid cropping the top. You can do severe pruning where you cut the plant back during the spring or summer if necessary.
Regular pruning can help the plant to look nice and it’ll promote new growth. Get rid of yellow or brown fronds whenever you can.
You can also trim around the edges of the Boston fern to shape the plant. If you don’t do this, the plant might grow erratically and it won’t look as nice.
Trimming your Boston fern shouldn’t be a hard job at all. Just focus on doing a good job and you’ll be pleased with the appearance of your houseplant.
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.