The Boston fern is a houseplant also known as the sword fern. The scientific name of the Boston fern is Nephrolepis exaltata. It is also known as Wild Boston Fern, Tuber Ladder Fern, Fishbone Fern, and Boston Fern. Also, Boston fern is the most commonly grown indoors among ferns. This plant is very popular as it is easy to maintain and the origin of this plant is American.
1) General Information for Boston Fern
Boston fern which is a green houseplant for most seasons consists of long stalks on which the leaves are side by side. The leaves of the Nephrolepis exaltata appear quite large when it develops. However, it is a non-flowering plant. It has leaves arranged side by side. If it does not have any plant disease, the leaves will not fall off. In addition, Boston fern can grow for years as long as it gets good light and adequate humidity. This indoor plant can reach 40-90 centimeters (16-35 inches) long and 6-15cm (2-6 inches) broad. Moreover, in unusual cases, it will grow up to 1.5 meters (4 ft 11 in) and it is not toxic for cats and dogs.
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2) How to Care for Boston Fern (Nephrolepis Exaltata) Plant
Sunlight: This indoor plant grows under the shade of trees and with little light in its natural environment. That’s why you need to protect it from direct sunlight. So, sufficient sunlight will be enough for its growth.
Watering: It is recommended that the soil of this Boston fern plant should always be moist and too wet soil is not recommended.
Humidity: Unlike other ferns, Boston fern does not need much moisture. You may use a humidifier if you have to increase humidity levels.
Temperature: The ideal temperature for Boston ferns is between 60ºF (16ºC) and 75 ºF (24ºC). Thus, you can protect it from direct cold or hot air that comes from the heater or air conditioner.
Soil Type: Boston fern needs humus-rich soil to grow well because this type of soil allows it to retain some water and have the ability to drain well.
Fertilizer: You should give diluted fertilizer bi-weekly and it will be sufficient fertilizer for this plant. The preferred fertilizing period is between April and September. You should not feed except for fertilizing months. However, you may not have to feed when you change its soil.
Propagation: There are two ways for this plant to propagate. The first one is division. In the spring, you can make this plant reproduce with a piece of this plant. You should gently divide the plant into sections and plant it. The second one is separating runners. These runners are parts of the mother plant. Here, you should look out for and dismantle it when you decide it can grow independently.
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3) Keep in Mind: Common Problems
a) Leaf tips are brown: Low humidity may cause the leaf tips to turn brown. This problem can also be caused by the way the plant is watered. You can follow up the process by giving less and more water to the plant. In addition to that, you also need to check whether it is getting enough light and its feeding.
b) Falling leaves: This problem usually happens when conditions change. For example, the location of the plant or the person caring for it changed, so the plant can react in this way. It may take some time for the plant to get used to the new environment. In addition to that, you may also need to check the heat and light conditions in its new environment.
c) Lack of growth: It is normal to experience this kind of problem when you just buy your houseplant. If you suspect your plant is growing slowly, you can give it more fertilizer. You can give more fertilizer within the process. However, the point you should be careful about is that it could harm your houseplant if you give too much fertilizer at a time.
Suggestions for problems: In general, the points you should pay attention to can be listed as follows: the light the plant receives, the temperature of the environment where the plant is located, your watering schedule, and the balance of fertilizer.
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