The easy-to-grow Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) is grown as a houseplant in South Dakota. Native to the tropics, this fern produces long, narrow, pale-green leaves in great masses. Gardeners who grow them indoors need to give the plants optimal growing conditions.
Homes in South Dakota, like many other northern areas, tend to have low humidity during the dry winter months. Boston ferns need at least 30 percent humidity to survive, with 40 to 50 percent being ideal. Adding a humidifier to your heating system, placing a humidifier in the same room as the plant or placing the plant's pot in a saucer filled with stones will help keep the humidity at the right level.
Low humidity also causes the soil in potted plants to dry out quickly. Boston ferns grow best when the soil is kept evenly moist but not soaked. According to the Purdue Extension, water your fern when the soil becomes slightly dry on the surface.
The winter sun sets early in South Dakota, so supplement your fern's lighting. According to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, use higher intensity light during the late fall, winter and early spring when the days are short. During the rest of the year, light from a north- or east-facing window should be adequate.
A room that is kept too warm is harmful to a Boston fern, according to the Purdue Extension. The temperature during the day should not be higher than 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and nighttime temperatures should be below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
- ACES: Greenhouse Production of Boston Ferns
- Purdue Extension: Ferns for Indoors
- North Dakota State University Extension: Houseplants
- University of Florida Extension: Boston Fern
Boston fern care, South Dakota houseplants, Fern gardeners
About this Author
Aileen Clarkson has been an award-winning editor and reporter for more than 20 years, earning three awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. She has worked for several newspapers, including "The Washington Post" and "The Charlotte Observer." Clarkson earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Florida.