Wednesday’s Plant Pick – Boston Fern

boston FernWith winter deep upon us, I thought we would switch it up and look at an indoor plant this week.

Boston Ferns (Nephrolepsis exaltata) are a very common house plant, and are often used as an outdoor (annual) plant in the summer months as well. While this fern does not produce any blooms, the arching fronds produce an amazing show of green throughout all the seasons. The Boston Fern is an excellent plant used in hanging baskets or in tall planters.

Boston Ferns need three things in order to thrive: a cool location with high humidity and indirect light. As most homes have heaters running, especially during the winter months, many Boston Ferns don’t get the humidity they need. Homes with humidifiers tend to have Boston Ferns that do quite well.

You can create a humid environment for your Boston Fern by placing gravel in the tray that the pot holding your Boston Fern sits in. Keep this tray full of water in order to keep your fern hydrated. Misting your fern a couple times a week is also beneficial. The soil of a Boston Fern should always be damp.

Boston Ferns are often used outdoors as well. In cooler climates they are treated as an annual and used in hanging baskets or planters. It is important to keep Boston Ferns in a shady location and out of direct sunlight in order to keep them at their best. The lush green foliage will create coolness in the environment.

Boston Ferns are susceptible to spider mites and mealy bugs. If you notice that your fern is infected with either of these pests it is important to treat your Boston Fern immediately. This will keep your fern healthy and prevent loss of the plant. If you are bringing your Boston Ferns inside for the winter after being outdoors, it is important to spray them with an insecticidal soap to prevent the transfer of any potential pests to any indoor plants you may have.

Boston Ferns are an excellent choice as an indoor plant as they remove pollutants from the air. One pollutant in particular that they remove from the air is formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is released as an off-gas by many products in the home including kitchen cupboards, furniture, fabrics used for drapes and bedding and many more. Plants also have a soothing quality about them, helping to reduce stress and creating a relaxing environment.

Images courtesy of: Gardening In a Minute

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