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How to Repot a Boston Fern (And Why You Should)

How to Repot a Boston Fern (And Why You Should)

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Owning Boston fern plants is a lot of fun because of how nice they look. They add charm to your home while also not being too tough to care for.

Of course, you must take care of the plant properly to get good results. Even so, beginners will have a fairly simple time getting used to caring for these types of houseplants.

Eventually, you’re going to have to repot your Boston fern. It’ll outgrow the pot that it’s in and you’ll need to take action.

If you’ve never repotted a plant before, you might not be sure what to do. Read on to learn how you’re supposed to repot a Boston fern plant the right way.

Do I Need to Repot My Boston Fern?

Yes, you’re going to need to repot Boston ferns every so often. As you’d expect, these plants will continue to grow as the years go by.

As the Boston fern continues to get larger, it’s going to outgrow the pot that it’s in. Eventually, the plant won’t fit in the pot any longer.

When this occurs, the plant could have health issues if you don’t repot it. The plant will become rootbound and it might not live if you don’t turn things around.

So it’s not possible to ignore the need to repot these plants forever. A Boston fern won’t immediately die if it’s in a pot that’s too small, though.

Even so, you should get used to repotting the houseplant from time to time. It’ll be a thing that you do when necessary, but you certainly won’t need to repot the plant every year.

How Often to Repot Boston Fern

As mentioned above, you don’t have to repot Boston fern plants every single year. It takes time for these plants to outgrow their pots.

On average, you’ll need to repot your Boston fern every two or three years. You’ll want to check to see if the Boston fern needs to be repotted before moving forward.

You can check to see if the roots are compacted in the current pot. Try to slide the Boston fern out of the pot so you can look at the roots and see how things are.

If things are bad, you might not even need to do this. Often, the roots of the plant will begin poking out through the drainage holes.

In this situation, you’ll want to repot the plant as soon as possible. You’ll need to get a new pot so the plant can resume normal growth patterns.

Stunted growth is a sign that the houseplant needs to be repotted. If the plant isn’t growing the same way it usually does, it might be that it’s time to repot it.

There are other signs that you can look out for. The soil might become so compacted that the water will go straight out of the drainage holes.

Sometimes you might even see the roots at the top of the soil when the plant is severely rootbound. You don’t have to wait until things are bad to repot the plant.

Boston Fern Pot Size

The size of the pot will depend on the size of the plant. You don’t want to put the Boston fern in a pot that is way too large.

When you purchase a Boston fern from the store, it’ll come in a container or pot. The new pot that you get for the plant should only be a bit bigger than the current one.

Generally, you want to buy a new pot that is one or two inches larger in diameter. Measure the current pot and then get the pot size that you need from a local garden center.

Why can’t you just buy a pot that is larger and would give the Boston fern more room to grow? Simply put, it’d do more harm than good.

A large pot will contain far more soil, and this means that there will be more moisture retention than usual. This leads to issues with the plant getting more water than it needs.

It’s harder for the plant to dry out between watering sessions. If you use a pot that is way too big, it’s likely going to cause the plant to experience root rot.

Using a pot that is just a bit too big probably won’t be a problem. However, it’s still best not to buy a pot that is more than two inches larger in diameter than the old pot.

Repotting a Boston Fern

Before repotting the Boston fern, you should water it. Water the plant a few days before you plan to repot it.

You do this because it’ll make it easier to repot the plant overall. Moist soil will cling to the roots of the plant.

Get the new pot that you purchased from the store when you’re ready to begin. This new pot should be filled with around three inches of potting soil.

Be sure to use potting soil that is good for Boston ferns. These plants like loamy soil that has excellent drainage while also being rich in nutrients.

People often purchase peat-based potting mixes for potted Boston ferns. This is a type of potting mix that drains well and it makes it far less likely that you’ll have issues with watering the plant too much.

Once you’ve filled the pot with the right amount of soil or potting mix, it’ll be time to put the fern inside. Use one hand to hold the fern and then tilt the old pot so you can guide the fern out of the pot.

Take your time with this and try not to handle the houseplant roughly. Eventually, the Boston fern should slide out of the old pot and you can position it in the new pot.

Fill soil in around the Boston fern and make sure that the soil goes up to about one inch from the top. You may need to make some minor adjustments to the soil at the bottom of the new pot.

You don’t want to plant Boston ferns too deeply since this is known to cause issues with root rot. Do your best to get rid of air pockets by patting the soil near the roots.

After this is done, water the Boston fern thoroughly. Find a spot for the plant where it can be exposed to indirect sunlight for several days.

When a few days have passed, you can put the Boston fern in whatever its normal spot is. Continue to care for the plant as normal.

Can a Potted Boston Fern Be Planted in the Ground?

What if you’d like to take your potted Boston fern and put it in the ground? Is it possible to put a houseplant like this in the ground and get good results?

It really depends on where you live. You see, Boston ferns aren’t going to be able to survive outside in some places.

You must live in USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11 to be able to plant Boston ferns outside. Otherwise, these plants should only be kept as houseplants.

Boston ferns can be fantastic outdoor plants because of how large they can get. A Boston fern can grow to be three feet tall and three feet wide.

You’ll love how the plant looks outdoors, but it may or may not be practical in your situation. If you live in a cooler environment, you might not be able to take advantage of these plants outdoors.

Boston ferns can still be incredible houseplants, but you’ll have to work to keep them manageable. Since they can grow large, you’ll need to repot them every so often.

Also, you’ll need to trim the plant to give it the right shape. Otherwise, it’ll experience erratic growth and it won’t look nearly as attractive as you want it to.

Final Thoughts

Repotting Boston ferns won’t be tough once you figure out how to do things. You’ll need to repot these plants approximately once every two or three years.

There will be signs that the plant needs to be repotted. You might notice that the plant will stop growing as rapidly as usual.

Sometimes you might even see roots poking through the drainage holes of the pot. If you notice such things, it’s time to repot the plant.

You should always repot Boston ferns in pots that are one or two inches larger in diameter than the current pot. Never go with pots that are overly large because it can lead to problems with moisture retention.

These plants are susceptible to root rot issues when you put them in overly large pots. Buy a pot that is the appropriate size to get good results.

Repotting the plant is just as simple as repotting other houseplants. Fill the new pot with a type of loamy soil that has good drainage.

Carefully remove the fern from the old pot and place it in the new pot. Pat the soil down and water the plant thoroughly.

Do things the right way and keep an eye on the plant for a few days. After a few days have passed, you should be able to resume normal care.