Ferns

brownthumbia(5aIA)June 16, 2013

Because I love Boston ferns I thought I HAD to have one. Sooo what is wrong here? Is it just normal for them to constantly drop the little 'leaves'? All over the place? What a mess they are. Is it too dry, too wet, too light, too dark? Or am I forever going to be sorry that I bought it and it's just normal for the plant to do that?

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

No idea :-)
Tell us about it...Is it too dry, too wet, not enough light?

Josh

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 4:37PM
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grrr4200(z3 MI)

It can be quite typical. Boston ferns never make it into my house because of how messy they can be!

Umm, bright filtered light. slightly moist conditions, high humidity. I believe are good for these guys.

They will drop bits and things everywhere though. Although i have seen a few stabilize with time and drop less debris.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 11:37PM
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brownthumbia(5aIA)

Well I got tired of the mess and set it on the deck. It can 'cry' all it wants to back there. Never again!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 9:49AM
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cozyfarmhouse(5)

I've read that it is normal for them to shed as they adjust to a new environment.
My Boston Ferns don't shed much at all, just a couple little "leaflettes" here and there when I water or otherwise disturb the plant. The fronds that are deeper in tend to die off a bit where they don't get as much light, once those are cleaned out there shouldn't be much left to drop.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 12:23PM
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asleep_in_the_garden

And even if they "cry" a bit I think them a worthwhile addition to any collection.

Such a beautiful fluffy plant! :)

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 12:33PM
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brownthumbia(5aIA)

Yep, I agree they are pretty but I just don't like the mess. Constant sweeping up gets tiresome.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 9:50AM
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birdsnblooms

BrownThumb, is your patio outdoors?

Where did you purchase your fern? Green house or store?

Bostons need adaption, and a fair amount of humidity.

Bright-indirect light is fine. Some people I know place their Boston's in shade, without problems or leaf/frond drop.

They're big drinkers, but should dry a wee-bit in-between..In other words, soil should not stay muddy and drainage is very important.

My ferns are misted daily, and showered once a week. BTW, I don't have a Boston, lol.

Honestly, Boston's are not the easiest plants to keep as a house plant. No siree bob.
Boston's and Australian Tree Ferns are very difficult. So, if you ever come across a Tree Fern, think about your Boston, and walk away... lol

Hey Josh. Toni

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 10:33AM
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brownthumbia(5aIA)

Well, I got the fern from a store, Home Depot, I believe. I kept it in the house, filtered light, misted it although not as often as I should have. Thought I was watering it as needed. But now it is on the west side if the house on the deck. I know it is too hot out there for it but I just don't like te mess. I will say this, it looks very healthy, just messy. Thanks for all the input, everyone

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 12:17PM
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birdsnblooms

Brown...now that your Boston's outside, it should stop 'weeping.'

The problem is bringing it back in before winter.

West sunlight is fairly harsh, unless your fern is beneath an awning or obstruction to block direct rays. If the west side of your house gets strong, afternoon light, your fern will need more water.

I agree..Ferns do better in cooler temps. What's the temp your way? Will it get hotter as summer progresses?

Good luck, Brown.

BTW, one woman here on GW had a Boston a little over 100-yrs-old. So, the matter isn't completely hopeless. :)

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 12:38PM
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brownthumbia(5aIA)

Oh yes I will weaken today and bring it in. There is no shade on the west side of the house and temp is supposed to get close to 100 in a day or two. Sure wish it was shaded. I will soften and bring it in. I just won't put the sweeper away. Lol

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 12:50PM
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keylyn

if this is the common boston fern, it can survive high light and temperature with high humidity but would look ratty. (people here in the tropics grow theirs in full sun even if the temperature is haywire over 100 degrees F.)
it'd look best if protected from mid-day light.

unless you can create an environment that would cater its needs indoor, you'd have more cultural problem.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 7:54PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I've always had the same thoughts about these ferns but my neighbor gave me a few last summer and, being the "softie" that I am, I'm compelled to see what I can do with them. Gave a few away, put a few in the ground, then was left with one for a hanging basket. After I got it potted, I got a comfortable chair, put the plant at a comfortable level on a little table, and started snipping. FINALLY, all of the dead stems and ugly fronds were removed to soil level, ruthlessly so. By that point, there wasn't a ton of material left, but it all looked good at least. So I would recommend taking the time to get rid of all of the dead material, it makes such a difference. I like the appearance and surely the plant appreciates the added airflow and ability for light to penetrate better.

Then, there's the issue of the hanging basket pot. Is it one of those where the drain hole is recessed above the true bottom of the pot about 1/2 inch? Almost all of them are. If so, that standing water may be causing difficulties for your plant, rotting the roots. A pruning shear can nip a nice hole in the bottom while the plant is hanging in there. I usually put 3 new holes in these pots.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 10:00AM
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brownthumbia(5aIA)

purple, the hole is in the bottom of the pot but I am wondering, if you poke holes in the bottom of the pot and hang it up, doesn't the water leak out when you water the plant, or am I not understanding what you mean? Maybe you have yours outside and not in the house? often wondered how they do that in the house.
Well, now you all get ready for this, I got 'comfortable' as purple did, started clipping away, decided I had a faster way---got out the vacuum sweeper and 'swept' away. every frond was cleaned. Got the sweeper down into the center of the plant also and cleaned that out quite a bit. I will let you know in a day or two how this goes. I also think I am going to repot the fern, it seems like it is really, really cramped in the pot it's in but will wait a few days and see how it looks.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 1:19PM
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brownthumbia(5aIA)

purple the hole is in the bottom of the pot but I am wondering, if you poke holes in the bottom of the pot and hang it up, doesn't the water leak out when you water the plant, or am I not understanding what you mean? Maybe you have yours outside and not in the house? often wondered how they do that in the house.
Well, now you all get ready for this, I got 'comfortable' as purple did, started clipping away, decided I had a faster way---got out the vacuum sweeper and 'swept' away. every frond was cleaned. I will let you know in a day or two how this goes. I also think I am going to repot the fern, it seems like it is really, really cramped in the pot it's in but will wait a few days and see how it looks.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 1:40PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Hey that's a pretty cool idea, bet it saved a lot of time also. Neat-o!

Yes, water drips out when the plant needs watered, I take them to a sink or the shower when they're inside for winter. But hadn't realized your plant is inside. Do you have a shady spot where it could lounge while it's warm and humid out?

If water doesn't run out of the drain hole, either not enough was applied to thoroughly saturate the soil, or the excess water not soaked into the soil has no way to escape from the pot. If that happens, roots can rot and tap water chemicals can build-up to toxic levels.

When roots are cramped, as you mention, they are unable to continue growing, thus the plant will have an extremely difficult time growing new foliage, and/or maintaining the existing foliage. In a case of wanting to give roots some room to grow but continue to have a plant in the same pot, the old soil can be removed, some of the roots trimmed. Then new roots can grow in the new soil-space, which should correlate to new foliage also.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 4:40PM
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qwkslver

Down south they grow them on the porch. I had one when I lived down there. I think they like partial shade. Mine didn't make a mess at all. I wintered it in a greenhouse (unheated) and it was fine. It came right back out after the winter. I think they like coolish temps in the winter. Low light. At least that is how mine grew. They liked the humidity down there.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 8:00AM
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