Boston fern

Boston fern

Nephrolepis exaltata
  • lighting icon


    Indirect light only.

  • watering icon


    Keep soil moist.

  • humidity icon


    High humidity.

  • feeding icon


    Feed during spring and summer.

  • temperature icon



  • pest icon


    spider mites and mealy bugs

About the Boston fern

The Boston fern is an ideal plant for your bathroom as it will thrive on the humidity and condensation usually found there. The long fronds on the fern will flow beautifully in a hanging basket or it will sit perfectly on a table where its leaves can hang gracefully over the edge. It’s also an easy plant to care for.

Some ferns can grow really large and can live a long time – I’ve seen a photo of one that is 54 years old!

Caring for your Boston fern

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    The fronds on the Boston fern are quite delicate and so leaving it in direct sunlight is likely to damage the leaves. Best to place it where it can receive indirect sunlight.

  • watering icon


    If you overwater the Boston fern you're going to end up with a dead plant. Don't confuse humidity with watering - keep the air humid around it but don't let the plant sit in water or the soil become soggy. Check it regularly and try not to let the soil dry out – it's best to keep it moist.

  • watering icon


    The Boston fern requires a lot of humidity which is why it's a good choice for the bathroom. You might also want to mist it from time to time and especially so during the winter when your central heating will be on and the air likely to be drier.

  • watering icon


    You can feed your plant with plant fertiliser once a month or even less frequently during spring and summer.

  • watering icon


    The plant will do better in cooler conditions. Normal room temperature is fine but make sure that you don't place it next to a radiator. If it is near a radiator, make sure to mist the plant more often as the air will be drier due to the heater.

  • watering icon


    Check your plant regularly for spider mites and mealy bugs as they can attack ferns.

First aid for your Boston fern

Common problems

The Boston fern's leaves have turned yellow.

This can mean that the plant isn't getting enough humidity. Try misting the plant regularly or standing it on some pebbles in a saucer of water so that the roots don't sit in the water but the humidity is increased.

Need some more help?

Do you own this plant and have any tips to offer?
Is your plant not doing too well and you'd like some advice on how to help it?
Why not ask others for help or leave some advice below.