Ask a Question forum: If a Boston Fern (compact) is appearing to do well, would you change its soil?

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Name: Alyssa Blue
Ohio (Zone 5b)
Bloom where you're planted
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Mar 28, 2016 8:18 AM CST
Recently I realized the potting mix I had been using, was actually very poor soil, even though it had been marketed as the best. I have now found a better draining mix, and re-potted many of my other plants with the new. I figured I would take things in stages, as a couple of my plants will need to be moved to larger pots soon.

History of what occurred.....

I bought this fern sometime after Christmas, and I potted it early February with the "old, poor mix" used with another plant that didn't survive our move in the fall. As a note, I was a little skiddish about buying new soil, because of a fungus gnat problem in the past, so that is why I used soil I knew was ok. The old, poor mix seems drains ok (maybe because it's old?), but it's obviously not as rich as the new mix I have on hand now.

This is my first compact fern, so I think it will get bigger, but not sure how much. It's a little larger pot, I'm wondering how long I would wait before moving up.......probably a while.?

Every water, I include a water soluble fertilizer at the low dose. I now think it's the fertilizer and the light it gets in the northwest window is what's keeping the plant happy. I mist it sometimes, sometimes I don't. It really doesn't seem to care whether I do.

So my question is, should I replace the old soil with the new soil? I've hesitated because I go by the rule of "if it ain't broke don't fix it", thinking, don't disturb the plant! At the same time I wonder if leaving the fern this way is somehow detrimental long term and I should look at it as an improvement. That is the quandary.

P.S. This is indoors only- I will not be moving it outside this summer.

Thumb of 2016-03-28/AlyssaBlue/12f8f2

Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Mar 28, 2016 9:47 AM CST
Hi Alyssa,

My experience with Boston Ferns is that they don't care what they are potted in as long as you remember to water. Mine has (literally) gotten so rootbound, it has filled the pot and climbed out. You repotted in February and it looks good. I would leave it alone.

Name: Taqiyyah
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Roses Salvias Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower Region: Mid-Atlantic
Mar 28, 2016 9:53 AM CST
It does look good, Alyssa.

Unfortunately, mine doesn't. I brought it in for the winter and forgot to water, so it dried up and crisped except for a few fronds. Its held status quo with just a few fronds in a moist pot all winter. No signs of new growth at all, and it looks terrible. How do I rejuvenate it?
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
Mar 28, 2016 10:02 AM CST
I agree your fern looks great! i repotted a fern that was dying. I chose a not so good hanger for the pot as i really didn't expect it to live with its 4 tiny geen fronds.

Fast forward 10 years, that is, if 10 years, of growing can be fast, the robust fern is over grown the pot, stacked on itself. It is green and growing, and happy. I'm sure there is no soil left, good or bad.
But like you, if it ain't broke don't fix it! Oh, except for the hanger which deterioraed and lost its hook, and is just a mangle of wires!
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
[Last edited by ShadyGreenThumb - Mar 28, 2016 10:03 AM (+)]
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Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Mar 28, 2016 10:36 AM CST
Taqiyyah, Cut all the dead stuff off and keep watering. It will be back, as evidenced by Cherl. Give it a boost by putting the whole pot and plant into a bucket of water and letting it soak for a couple hours.

I've done that a few times (let the whole top die for lack of water). If it needs it, now is a good time to repot


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