What advice can you give about repotting a Boston Fern? - Knowledgebase Question

Southlake, Texas (DFW area)
Question by Origprod
September 4, 2017
I have a Boston Fern that almost didn't survive our north Texas winter last year. There were only a couple of…are they called fronds?…that made it, but I nursed it back to health and it's thriving & growing now. However, it only takes up a small part of its hanging pot, and I'm worried about keeping it either warm enough (if it winters outside) or moist enough (if I bring it in during freezing temps).

How hard is it going to be to repot it? The dead material inside the pot is pretty dense. Will it be possible to separate the living roots without damage, and do Boston Ferns tend toward transplant shock? I hate to give the poor thing something else it has to recover from!

Thumb of 2017-09-04/Origprod/789c5c
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Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Answer from WillC
September 4, 2017


It looks like you have done a good job of cutting off the dead fronds and reviving your Fern. Facing the weaker side toward the light source will help fill it out on that side. I do see some new growth coming in there already.

The pot size is fine. Boston Ferns can take temps down to the mid -40's. Indoors in winter, the air is warm and dry so it may need to be watered more often, but I don't see a need for a larger pot.

Boston Ferns can be divided with some, but not a major total shock. Often, it is the physical handling that damages some of the fronds more than the shock of transplanting.

Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
A comment from Bonehead
September 5, 2017
Years ago a gardening friend told me that Boston ferns were often grown in castles (cold, dark, and damp) and are very resilient. Not sure if this is true or not, but it kind of stuck with me. Random comment...

Southlake, Texas (DFW area)
A comment from Origprod
September 6, 2017
Thank you both! I appreciate the information.

Name: Susan
Grandrivers, ky
Answer from skbrill61
December 16, 2017


I agree will Will, the pot looks fine, ferns like it dense. After a horrible attack of whitefly eggs, I've had to cut mine back even after washing each frond with water n soap. I started feeding the twice a week with a diluted 20-20-20 . I'm hoping it works

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