Also known as the sword fern, Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) is a home design classic that has now been a part of households for a long time ever since they came into the spotlight in the 19th century. Originating in humid forests and swamps, Boston ferns are known for their distinctive arching fronds that are a mutation from the straight fronds of standard sword ferns. According to legends, the mutation occurred either on a ship full of ferns that was being sent to Boston or in a Florida plant nursery which was later sent by the grower to Boston. Although home design styles have changed over the years, this staple plant of Victorian parlors has retained its place in the world of landscape design.
Featuring beautiful blue-green fronds with many leaflets that are erect and arch as they grow larger, these plants are fairly slow growing and are best planted in the fall or spring. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Boston ferns are non-toxic to dogs and cats making them a further favorite for many households. Plants that prefer warm and humid conditions, Boston ferns do not enjoy temperature extremes, either outdoors or from indoors (air conditioners and heating vents). You need to provide a stable growing environment for Boston ferns and need to provide them frequent watering and prevent the drying out of soil.
Since Boston ferns actively grow from spring to fall, it is best to fertilize them during this period. If you don’t live in a very humid climate, then you will also need to regularly mist them or use other methods to raise humidity. They usually require 50%-or-greater humidity which is far from the standard 10 to 15% of most homes. If you cannot keep them humid, then placing them in a steamy bathroom or a water-filled pebble tray can be considered. If your plant develops brown leaf tips or becomes yellow, then it is a sign of too little humidity.
Boston ferns are hardy in the landscape, They prefer mild temperatures between roughly 65- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit with temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit and below 35 degrees Fahrenheit having the potential to harm them. Bright, indirect light is ideal for Boston ferns. Too much sun can burn the fronds whereas too much shade can result in sparse fronds.
Boston ferns are excellent when it comes to removing air pollutants and also help in increasing indoor humidity levels. They help in purifying the air quality and absorb formaldehyde, toluene and help in getting rid of xylene which are really harmful air pollutants. A beautiful tropical accent plant, Boston Fern will always remain in style and will help you create a refined, timeless space.