Boston Ferns are popular houseplants. With their sword-shaped, turquoise foliage, they’re a favorite of many. They’re also perennials, which means they’ll keep growing back year after year without dying.
But how long do Boston ferns live?
Boston ferns can live for more than 100 years, provided that you give them what they need in terms of nutrients, water, and sufficient light. They have been around for more than 350 million years, and they’re still thriving.
To keep growing, Boston ferns need some special requirements, such as lots of moisture and mild temperatures.
Here, we’ll tell you all about these ferns and how to get them to live longer, whether you plant them indoors or outside.
How Long Do Boston Ferns Live Indoors?
With the proper attention, Boston ferns can live for a hundred years indoors. They can be reproduced by re-potting and propagating them many times, which allows them to live longer.
A family in Virginia stated that they had their Boston fern for more than 114 years, which is a statement of their resilience!
However, there are vital elements to keep in mind to help these ferns live prosperous life.
How to Help a Boston Fern Live Longer Indoors?
Some of these key elements to allow your ferns a healthy, long life indoors include:
- It’s best to replant your fern into a bigger container after three to five years. After this period, they may become pot-bound, and their soil will likely need replacement.
- You can also divide them into two halves or more and propagate them.
- Fertilizing them during the growing season can help lengthen their lifespan.
- Avoid putting too much fertilizer into ferns’ soil as it can burn its roots. Also, it’s better to choose a watered-down, nutrient-balanced fertilizer.
- In terms of humidity, it’s best to shelter ferns against blasts of air.
- Avoid placing them on window sills near glaring sun spots to avoid burning their leaves.
- It’s better to put them in humid places, like bathrooms or kitchens.
- Misting indoor Boston ferns can also be an option to raise their humidity.
- Boston ferns love water and prefer moist, well-drained soils. However, take care not to get the soil soggy or waterlogged to avoid root rot.
- Lastly, Boston ferns thrive in indirect, bright sunlight by being placed in front of northern windows or in distanced locations.
How Long Do Boston Ferns Live Outside?
While Boston ferns are houseplants, they can also grow outside and thrive. Boston ferns can live for over a hundred years if they get the ideal outside care.
These ferns are tropical plants that typically grow around large trees, sheltering them from extreme weather conditions.
To get them to grow well, you should try to imitate these conditions. However, it might be difficult to find these thick, tropical trees in most cases.
How to Help a Boston Fern Live Longer Outside?
To try and copy their natural tropical environment, here are some tips to follow:
- Well-drained soil is essential to fight back heavy rain, while regular watering is your fighter in case of drought.
- Ferns thrive in mild temperatures from 65 to 75ºF, so they need to be sheltered if the weather drops below 40ºF or rises above 95ºF.
- When it comes to nutrients, plant your ferns in a soil mixture of peat moss, sand, and garden soil.
- Outdoor ferns thrive in humid environments, and they need a humidity level of 50%.
- The perfect place to put your outside ferns would be on your porch or patio, where they can get filtered sunlight through tree branches or gaps in your porch roof.
- Ferns aren’t needy when it comes to food, so it’s best to fertilize them every two months during summer.
- You can skip fertilizers in winter because they’re dormant then.
- Prune your fern and cut off lifeless, withering leaves, so they can be replaced by new fronds.
Common Pests and Diseases of Boston Ferns
Although Boston ferns are hardy plants, they are susceptible to some pests and diseases that may reduce their lifespan. Here are some of the most common problems that threaten your fern’s life and how to deal with them:
Yellow leaves are an indication of low water intake or low humidity. If you’ve been watering the plant enough, the humidity is probably too low for it, which is causing the yellow color. To solve this, mist the plant or install a humidifier. Or move the plant to a humid place, like the bathroom.
Brown roots are caused by overwatering your ferns and can be treated by repotting the plant and removing the diseased soil.
You can avoid this in the future by giving your ferns enough airflow and well drainage to breathe while fully absorbing the water.
Mealybugs leave a sticky mold behind them and can be treated with a watered-down isopropyl alcohol solution.
Slugs and snails can be treated by picking them up and removing them away from your plant.
You can also scatter some hard surfaces around the base, like crushed eggshells or coffee grounds.
Whiteflies are similar to Mearlybugs as they suck the plant’s sap, leaving behind a sticky mold. These flies can be wiped off with a couple of blasts from your water hose.
Fungal infections can affect ferns because of soggy soil. This fungus quickly spreads by covering both soil and leaves in web-like material.
So, to treat it, you have to treat both soil and leaves by getting rid of the infected soil and repotting the plant, or you can use a fungicide if all else fails.
So, how long do Boston ferns live? There’s no definite number of years for the lifetime of these plants.
Boston ferns can live as long as you want when they’re in the right environment and with proper care. They typically live for decades.
Seeing as these plants have outlived dinosaurs and carried on after a meteor hit, they are here to stay!
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.