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Nephrolepsis exaltata - The Boston Fern. how to grow and care.

The Plant: A group of around 30 ferns, some evergreen and some semi-evergreen, some epiphytic. A dense central clump produces long pinnate fronds, some, like the Bostoniensis have more arching fronds, whilst the species Teddy Junior has crinkled, wavy-edged leaflets.

The Nephrolepsis exaltata Whitmanii has delicate lace-filigree leaflets. The Boston Gold Fern is still the most popular as its bright foliage is able to enhance any shady corner.

Its needs: The Boston ferns can be grown in light or semi-shade conditions, no direct sun, but appreciate a winter minimum temperature of 18C or above, in a draught-free setting.

The potting mix should be a rich, open, free-draining mix. Warmth and humidity promotes growth, so mist leaves in dry conditions.

Nephrolepsis Fern on Pedastal

Nephrolepsis exaltata - The Boston Fern

Care: Water freely throughout summer, if possible using rain water, and taking care not to over-water or under-water the fern. The roots like to be kept moist rather than stood in water. Feed once a month through the summer. Snip off dying fronds to maintain a tidy plant habit. If necessary re-pot in spring but Boston Ferns are not the easiest to maintain from year to year and may go through a sulky period. Watch for Botrytis, (grey mould), scale pest, red spider mite and whitefly. The fern can be cut back quite hard in spring in order to rejuvenate it.

Good for: Nephrolepsis exaltata makes a good hanging basket plant or can be kept in a container, the colourful foliage making a highlight in a shady corner. An attractive foliage plant.

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