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How to Plant a Boston Fern

The Boston fern (Nephrolepis exalta) is commonly grown as a houseplant, but you can also plant it outdoors. The Boston fern likes cooler temperatures, constant moisture and higher humidity. The Boston fern is a low-maintenance plant, making it a popular fern for both indoors and in the outdoor landscape. Planting this fern is easy because it doesn’t require any special potting mixture or treatment. Whether you’re planting your Boston fern in a container or into the ground, ensure that the soil is well-draining and that the fern can stay evenly moist at all times.

Re-pot your Boston fern into a planter pot that is about 1 1/2 times the size of the nursery container and has drainage holes in the bottom. Fill the planter pot with all-purpose potting soil.

Plant the fern into its new pot at the same depth it was planted in the nursery container. Cut away any dead fronds from the plant after re-potting it.

Place the Boston fern in bright, indirect sunlight for the first week. Then move the fern to a lower light area to help it establish in its new environment.

Water your Boston fern once every three or four days to keep the potting soil evenly moistened. Don’t allow the fern to dry out or sit in waterlogged soil.

Maintain temperatures around the Boston fern between 65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the fern away from drafts, heating and cooling vents or any other area where temperatures fluctuate.

Place a drainage saucer filled with pebbles and water beneath the container to keep the air humid around the plant. You can also mist the Boston fern daily with warm water.


If you’re planting your Boston fern outdoors, select a site that is in partial shade and has moist but well-draining soil. Dig a planting hole in the soil that is the same depth as and 1 1/2 times the width of the nursery container. Mix into the soil some organic compost and plant the Boston fern at the same depth it was planted in the container.


To prevent waterlogged soil, be sure to empty the drainage dish after watering the Boston fern. If your fern is sitting on a pebble- and water-filled dish, ensure that the container is resting on top of the pebbles and not in the water.

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