General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Fern
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Partial or Dappled Shade
Partial Shade to Full Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 9a -6.7 °C (20 °F) to -3.9 °C (25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 12
Plant Height: 2 to 3 feet
Leaves: Evergreen
Underground structures: Rhizome
Suitable Locations: Houseplant
Uses: Groundcover
Resistances: Humidity tolerant
Propagation: Other methods: Division
Stolons and runners
Containers: Suitable in 1 gallon
Suitable in 3 gallon or larger
Suitable for hanging baskets
Needs excellent drainage in pots

Common names
  • Boston Fern
  • Sword Fern
  • Boston Swordfern

Photo Gallery
Location: Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida
Date: 2022-02-25
used as a groundcover
Location: In home, San Francisco
Date: 2024-03-19
Photo by Hamwild
Location: Sebastian,  Florida
Date: 2023-09-24

Date: 2013-02-12
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Date: 2016-02-18
Location: My home, Pequea, Pennsylvania
Date: 2017-03-16
Location: Vander Veer Botanical Gardens - Davenport, Iowa
Date: 7-3-11
Location: Northeastern, Texas
Date: 2012-05-31
Makes a nice hanging plant
Location: Sebastian,  Florida
Date: 2023-07-19
Location: Sebastian,  Florida
Date: 2023-07-19
Location: Middle Tennessee
Date: 2011-10-04
Location: Chippewa, PA
Date: 2014-11-22

Date: 2013-02-12
Location: Pasadena, CA 
Date: 2016-03-11
Bathroom house plant
Location: My home, Pequea, Pennsylvania USA
Date: 2018-01-10
Location: Western Kentucky
Date: 2012-10-16
Location: Middle Tennessee
Date: 2012-11-08

Photo by Forest and Kim Starr
Location: Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Florida 
Photo by Forest and Kim Starr
Location: Florida
Photo by Forest and Kim Starr
Location: Florida
Photo by Forest and Kim Starr

Date: 2012-12-01

Date: 2012-12-01

Date: 2014-03-17
Location: Botanical garden UG, Gent, Belgium
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  • Posted by Sharon (Calvert City, KY - Zone 7a) on Oct 16, 2012 10:05 AM concerning plant:
    Beautiful outdoors in spring, summer and fall in zone 7, the Boston fern is easy enough to overwinter inside. It's best to cut back to within a few inches to prevent small dead leaves from littering indoors. After cutting back, new fronds will soon appear and if kept fairly humid, won't shed the new leaves. It will be gorgeous again by spring.
  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Apr 6, 2022 11:48 AM concerning plant:
    This is the straight species that bears erect fronds. There are a number of cultivars, especially the famous 'Bostoniensis' that bears arching fronds. It is native to much of the humid tropical world, especially in Central & South America, southern Florida, Polynesia, and Africa. The cultivars are often used as houseplants that need moist, rich potting soil, bright indoor light, and medium to high humidity. I tried growing one in my parent's house that had low light and low humidity and it died out. I took the photo of a good patch of the straight species growing as a groundcover in a soil island with a Paurotis Palm tree surrounded by pavement near a swimming pool.
Plant Events from our members
vbprog On November 13, 2014 Obtained plant
Given 2 big hanging baskets. Going to over winter inside then live outside come spring.
lemonFresh On August 28, 2018 Obtained plant
jhugart On July 8, 2019 Potted up
Repotted into a larger pot with fresh soil. Also trimmed out dead fronds.
jhugart On October 22, 1991 Obtained plant
This is the date that my dad died. Sometime after this, we acquired this fern and had it in our own home. We didn't do much but water it until 2019.
jhugart On June 1, 1985 Miscellaneous Event
This fern was one purchased by my dad. He had it before I entered high school. I don't know the exact date, of course.
LyraLu On October 15, 2021 Winterized
brought in
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