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
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 exaltata - The Boston Fern
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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