When my friend gave me a Boston fern, I was at a loss as to how to care for it properly. I knew I had much to learn about ferns, so I went to my local nursery to get more information on the care of the soil.
One of my questions was, what soil is best for Boston ferns?
According to leading experts, the soil best suited for Boston ferns is loamy soil with proper drainage and is organically rich. They also recommend adding peat moss and compost to your soil to give your Boston fern the perfect soil that will keep it happy and, most importantly, healthy.
I came back home from the nursery with all the supplies I needed to keep my new Boston fern growing strong and healthy. The lady who works at the nursery has many different types of ferns and gave me fantastic advice on how to properly care for my new plant baby, including the right kind of soil, so I thought I would share this helpful information.
What Soil Is Best for Boston Ferns?
According to the flora experts, the soil that suits a Boston fern best has to be:
- Well-draining soil that can stay moist without compacting the soil or causing root rot. If the soil is not well-draining, it could lead to the Boston fern dying.
- Loamy soil
- Organically rich
- With added peat moss
The Difference Between Loam Soil, Topsoil, and Peat Moss
Loam soil is often confused with topsoil, but there is a difference. Loamy soil has a healthy balance between sand, clay, and silt. You can find this mixture pre-mixed, or if you want to, you can mix the soil yourself to get an organically rich and well-draining soil suited for your Boston fern.
Topsoil consists of the first 12-inches or 30cm of the soil of any given pot, land, or potting soil. Using topsoil doesn’t mean the soil will be loamy. Most topsoils consist primarily of sand, primarily of silt, or primarily of clay, but not the needed balance between the three.
It is also recommended that you add peat moss to your loamy soil when planting or repotting a Boston fern. This is because peat moss soaks up the water that you give your plant and releases it slowly over time to help prevent the plant from overwatering, root rot, and fungal diseases.
Most potting soils or plant starter mediums have peat moss as a staple ingredient to keep the soil moist without having it overly wet.
Peat moss also holds on to the nutrients that the soil and fertilizer release so that it doesn’t get washed away or watered down when you water your Boston fern. It then releases the nutrients along with the water it soaks up as time passes.
The perfect soil needs to stay moist and be kept out of direct sunlight for the Boston fern to grow to a healthy size and stay healthy. Too much sun exposure will dry out the soil and leave your Boston fern with brown sun-damaged leaves.
Are Boston Ferns Acidic Loving Plants?
Boston ferns, also known as sword ferns or flowering ferns, are a hardy type of fern that grows easily all over the U.S. These ferns prefer a lower pH level and thrive when the pH level is 5.0 up to 5.5. The flowering Boston fern prefers low acidic soil that has a pH level of 4.3-5.2.
It’s vital to keep a close eye on the pH balance of your Boston fern by using pH strips meant to test the acidity of potting soil. You can also get a pH meter to help you keep a closer eye on the acidity level of your Boston fern’s soil.
Do Boston Ferns Like Coffee Grounds?
In many cases adding coffee grounds to your soil makes a great addition to your potting soil. It acts as a natural insect and aphid repellent and fertilizer and improves the soil.
The trick is to ensure the plants you want to use it in, like having coffee grounds in their soil, and you have to ensure that you use the coffee grounds in the right way, or you might end up killing your plants instead of helping keep them healthy.
So do Boston ferns like having coffee grounds added to their soil? The short answer is that ferns love coffee grounds mixed in their soil. You must know how to use the coffee grounds the right way, or it might reduce some of the nutrients and overall quality of the soil.
Keep in mind that the coffee grounds you need to use are not fresh coffee grounds but the waste left in the filter after you have brewed a pot of coffee. Below we will discuss how much is too much and how to add it to your soil.
The Right Coffee Grounds to Add to Your Boston Fern Soil
Coffee grounds contain nutrients that help your Boston fern grow strong and healthy. They contain nutrients such as phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen. The reason you need to be careful when you use coffee grounds is some grounds can be a little more acidic than Boston ferns prefer.
It’s best to get a pH meter that you can use to test the coffee grounds before adding them to your Boston fern soil. Some coffee grounds have been found to contain a pH level of 6.5 up to 6.8. So by taking measures to lower the acidity level of the coffee, you can use the coffee grounds in the soil of your Boston fern.
Some Ways to Lower the Acidity Level of Coffee Grounds
To get the best out of your coffee grounds, you can add the waste grounds to your potting soil, but you need to ensure the acidity level is lower if you add it to the soil of Boston ferns. Here are ways to get the pH level of the coffee grounds where they need to be.
Cold Brewing Your Coffee to Help Lower the pH Level
Cold brewing your coffee doesn’t mean you have to drink your coffee cold, but when you use this method, it can lessen the overall acidity by about 60%. It means you can have better tasting rich coffee that is less acidic and less bitter, and the coffee waste is fantastic for your Boston fern and other plants.
All you need to do this is to soak your coffee beans in cold water for 24-hours before you brew your next pot. You will find your coffee tastes sweeter, and it enhances the flavor of the coffee without the acid reflux you might get after a few cups. It won’t lessen the caffeine, only the acidity.
Buying Low Acid Coffee Beans
If you don’t want to wait for 24-hours before you make a pot of coffee, you can always try to change brands. There are low-acid coffee brands that make their coffee in a more natural and sustainable way that, in turn, lessens the overall acidity of the coffee, and you won’t need to soak your coffee for a day before you enjoy a cup.
If you are unsure of what coffee beans are low in acidity, then start by researching online the acidity level of your favorite brand of coffee. You can also look at the altitude that which the beans are grown.
Research has found that coffee beans grown at a higher altitude have higher levels of acidity. So look for beans grown at lower altitudes to get the lowest pH level coffee beans.
The other way to get beans that are lower in acidity is to check the region where the coffee was brewed. Experts have found that coffee beans grown in places like Brazil and Sumatra are naturally lower in acidity than the coffee beans grown in Kenya.
Keep an Eye on the Type of Roast
The last way to get naturally less acidic coffee beans is to take a closer look at the type of roast you usually buy. Lighter roasts are typically more acidic than darker roasts. Roats with inflections and hints of orange, for instance, are naturally more acidic than dark roasts without it.
Boston ferns thrive in loamy, well-draining, and organically rich soil. You might need to add peat moss to your potting soil or starter medium to get the best soil possible, as peat moss helps distribute the nutrients and water evenly over time. It gives your Boston fern the right amount of water, nutrients, and minerals to keep your plant as healthy as possible.
Adding coffee grounds with the right ph level to your potting soil or starter medium will help keep bugs and aphids away from your plant, and it acts as a natural fertilizer while improving the over ty of the soil.
You can get lower acid coffee beans or get lower acidity coffee by cold brewing the beans a day before you make a pot of coffee, as it will reduce the acidity by up to 60%.
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.