Lifestyle Magazine

How NOT To Kill A Boston Fern Houseplant

By Oppositeofnormal @oppositeonormal
I have yet to have met a Boston Fern that would ever have the privilege of living long enough to say that I was good mom. (Yes, again, my plants are my other "kids"). I tend to kill them with the quickness of a hawk swooping in on a field mouse. Okay, wrong analogy, that is too quick. But, I am sure you get the picture.
I typically have a pretty easy time keeping plants alive and the Boston Fern is NOT one of them. Of course living in Arizona may not help, although most of them have been laid to rest in Colorado, which is still a pretty damn dry state.
BUT, I think I have figured it out! I am NO expert, I learn by trial and error! Apparently these fluffy little things need moisture, and quite a bit of it. (Well, duh! She says as she firmly places her palm onto her face.). They are ferns ya dummy! They grow in Oregon and other wet places! That explains what happened to the fern that was placed above the in floor heater vent (on a table, I am not that cruel!). And the one that had direct sunlight all day in a South facing window during the summer in a home that no air conditioner nor swamp cooler existed (Colorado mountains at 9,000 feet for ya!).
So, I was lucky enough to come across a 10" clearance fern (must've been a bad kid??) for $2.49 in the floral department at Fry's. After thoroughly checking it for insects/diseases and giving it the all clear, I figured why not?! If I kill this one, of which I was 95% certain I would, it's only a few bucks. Perfect! Go figure, this is the one I keep alive!

How NOT To Kill A Boston Fern Houseplant

This is "Fern". Yes, that is her name, and no, it's not very creative!

How to NOT kill your Boston Fern: 
  • Moisture, moisture, moisture!! These things need serious amounts of moisture! The soil should always be moist (NOT SOGGY!). If you are walking by with a glass of water, check the soil and give it a little drink if it needs one! 
  • Humidity! Place your little guy's pot on top of some pebbles inside of a large water tray and keep the tray filled. Mist with water a few times a week, especially during the winter! 
  • Bright, indirect light! Do NOT place this poor thing in a south facing window (think canopy in the forest is it's natural home!), or in a closet (I don't care how unruly it was!). Mine is about 15 feet from my back sliding glass door which faces south, and about 10 feet from my west facing windows so it gets sun in the evening too. Seems to be happy there so I will leave it!
  • Not too much food. You don't want it to get fat? Do you? Um, haha! Seriously though, they really do not require a lot of fertilizer. They are in their active growth phase during the late spring and the summer. I recommend fertilizing once a month only at a higher dilution than what is recommended on the package. Less fertilizer, more water. During the winter I would say to fertilize every 3 months at most, again using only half of the recommended dosage on the package. Feeding your fern too much during the winter is one way to kill it, unless you prefer the above the heater vent method. 
Happy growing!

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