The Q&A Archives: Boston Fern

Question: This year my boston ferns are developing little red balls on the stems where the leaves should be. I think this is some type of bug. The red ball is hard and encloses the stem in a line one after the other along the entire length of the stem. These ferns are very old and I put them in the greenhouse very winter.

Please help, I really would like to save them, but I am afraid if I do not get rid of this I will not be able to put them in the greenhouse for fear of contamining my other plants.

Thanks for the help.

Answer: The red balls you are seeing are perfectly normal, they are the fern's attempt at reproduction....these are spore capsules. They will fall to the ground and sprout into a tiny scale like growth (prothallum) which will develop male and female parts that will eventually create a new mound of fronds. Under the proper conditions, all ferns will multiply.

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