Sword fern 'Bostoniensis' Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis'

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Not blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
sword fern 'Bostoniensis'


'Bostoniensis' is an evergreen, frost-tender fern with an upright, spreading habit growing to 90cm tall and wide. The broadly lance-shaped, pinnate fronds grow upright initially before arching and then drooping with age

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Boston Fern, Sword Fern, Boston Sword Fern, Wild Boston Fern, Tuber Ladder Fern, Fishbone Fern

    • Common names

      Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis'.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Height

      2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 meters)

    • Spread

      2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      Central and South America, West Indies


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Enhances Aesthetics: The Boston Fern has a lush, green appearance that adds a touch of nature and beauty to any indoor or outdoor space.
    • Easy to Care For: Known for being relatively low-maintenance and hardy, it is great for novice gardeners.
    • Humidity Regulation: Helps in maintaining a favorable indoor humidity level, which can be beneficial for other houseplants.
    • Creates Natural Ambiance: Its graceful fronds can create a soothing and natural ambiance in the home or office.
    • Reduction of Noise Pollution: The plant’s dense foliage can help absorb noise, making it useful for creating quieter, more peaceful environments.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Humidity Indicator: The Boston Fern can act as a natural indicator of humidity levels within an environment. When the fronds start to look dry or brown at the tips, it is often a sign that the air is too dry.
    • Sound Dampening: Due to its dense foliage, the Boston Fern can help absorb noise, making it useful in rooms that require sound dampening.
    • Green Crafting: Fronds from the Boston Fern can be used for their shapes and textures in pressed flower crafts or as natural stencils for art projects.
    • Educational Model: The plant's non-toxic nature makes it ideal for use in classrooms for educational purposes, teaching children about plant growth and care.
    • Photography Prop: Boston Ferns are commonly used as lush, green backdrops or props in photography, adding a natural and vibrant touch to the composition.
    • Biodegradable Confetti: Dried fern fronds can be crumbled to create natural, biodegradable confetti for eco-friendly celebrations.
    • Gift Plant: Due to its wide appeal and ease of care, the Boston Fern is a popular choice as a housewarming gift or a present for hospital patients.
    • Livestock Bedding: In some cases, dried fern material can be used as a component of bedding for small livestock or pets, as it is absorbent and compostable.
    • Floral Arrangements: The delicate fronds of Boston Ferns can be used as filler in floral arrangements, adding a lush greenery and fullness to bouquets.
    • Feng Shui: In the practice of Feng Shui, Boston Ferns are considered to bring good fortune, especially when placed in the wealth or family sector of a space.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Boston fern can be used in Feng Shui as a tool to purify the air and add a sense of tranquility and natural beauty to an environment. It is often placed in a home or business to bring a sense of growth and kindness. According to Feng Shui, it should be placed in an area that corresponds to the Bagua map’s wood element such as the east or southeast part of a room to promote health and family harmony or the wealth corner to encourage prosperity.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Boston fern is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Purification: The Boston Fern is known for its air-purifying qualities, removing toxins and improving indoor air quality, which symbolizes cleanliness and health.
    • Humility and Sincerity: With its unassuming appearance and lush green fronds that are not flashy, the Boston Fern can represent modesty and straightforwardness in character.
    • Secret Bond of Love: In the language of flowers, ferns, in general, have been associated with love and fascination. The Boston Fern might be used to symbolize a discreet or private love because of its ability to thrive in a quiet, shaded environment.
    • Eternal Youth: The lush, green appearance of the Boston Fern's foliage that stays vibrant throughout its lifetime can be symbolic of everlasting youth and vitality.

Every 3-7 days
500 - 2500 Lux
Every 1-2 years
Spring to Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Boston Fern prefers its soil to be kept consistently moist, but not soggy. Water the plant thoroughly whenever the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, which might be about once or twice a week depending on indoor conditions. Use room temperature water and provide enough to soak the soil, allowing excess water to drain out of the pot. On average, a Boston Fern might need between 16 to 24 ounces of water weekly, but always adjust the amount based on the humidity and temperature of your home.

  • sunLight

    Boston Ferns thrive in bright, indirect light. They should be placed in a location where they can receive plenty of light but be shielded from direct sunlight, which can scorch their fronds. An east- or north-facing window would be an ideal spot, ensuring they get gentle morning light or diffused light throughout the day.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Boston Ferns do best in temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (15-24°C). They can survive in temperatures as low as 55 degrees Fahrenheit but will start to suffer if the temperature drops below this or rises above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. To keep your Boston Fern healthy, avoid placing it in places where the temperature fluctuates drastically, such as near air conditioning units or heating vents.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune your Boston Fern to maintain its shape and remove any brown or yellow fronds. Pruning can be done at any time of the year, but it is best to do it in the spring, which can encourage new growth. Use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to cut back any unsightly or dead fronds near the base of the plant, and this will often need to be done every few months to keep your fern looking its best.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Boston Fern thrives in a well-draining soil with a peat-based potting mix and added perlite or sand for aeration. The ideal pH range for Boston Fern is slightly acidic to neutral, around 5.5 to 7.0.

  • plantRepotting

    Boston Ferns typically require repotting every couple of years or when the roots have filled the pot. It's best to repot in spring just before the growth season starts.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Boston Fern prefers high humidity levels, ideally around 50-70%. It may need extra humidity especially during dry winter months or in air-conditioned rooms.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in indirect light, high humidity, keep soil moist.

    • Outdoor

      Shade to partial shade, protect from direct sun and wind.

    • Hardiness zone

      9-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis') begins its life cycle as a spore, which germinates in moist conditions to form a small, heart-shaped gametophyte. The gametophyte houses both male and female reproductive structures that, upon maturation, enable fertilization to occur when water is present, leading to the creation of a new sporophyte - the familiar fern plant. As sporophytes mature, they develop long, arching fronds with distinctively pinnate leaves that arise from a rhizome. The underside of these fronds produces clusters of spore cases called sori, which mature and release spores to start the next generation of ferns. Throughout its life, the Boston fern thrives in humid, indirect light environments and requires regular watering to maintain its lush foliage. This perennial plant can live for many years and continues to grow, with older fronds dying back as new ones emerge from the rhizome.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to Summer

    • Propogation: The most popular method of propagating the Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis') is through division. This is typically done in the spring just before the new growth starts. To propagate, the plant should be removed from its pot and the root ball gently divided into smaller sections, each with several fronds and a healthy portion of roots attached. These sections can then be repotted into their own containers, using a well-draining potting mix. Care should be taken to keep the newly potted divisions moist and in a warm, humid environment to encourage root growth. Once the new plants are established and showing signs of growth, they can be treated as mature plants.