Give my Boston fern a haircut?

barb_roselover_inOctober 12, 2011

My Boston fern has hung outside all summer and really thrived. My question now is about bringing it inside. What to do? Thanks Barb

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Barb, I'll try to help..
I have ferns, but no Bostons.

When you bring inside, let soak in water 10-15 mins. Brown or yellow fronds, if any, should be removed.

Place in a cool room with medium light. 60-65F degrees is ideal.

Spray leaves daily. Soil should dry a little before adding more water. Especially during grey, winter months.

If yo can manage, shower in a sink/tub once every two wks. Showering and misting helps with humidity. 'Boston's need.'

Ferns like fresh, circulating air. When days are warm, crack open a window, or run a ceiling/rotating fan at the minimum, an hour per day.
Whatever, once you bring inside, do not place anywhere near a heating vent, or in a hot, stuffy room.
An unheated porch, that doesn't drop below 50F, would be perfect.

Since you're in IN, during winter, a south or west window will do, however, once days lenghten, south or west exposures can scorch fronds. East, very bright, unobstructed north, or outside in shade is fine. And the same area they hung this year.

No fertilizer is needed in winter.

That's about it..maybe someone here has more to contribute. Toni

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 3:34PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I really, really disagree with the misting of this plant. First of all, misting plants does VERY little to raise the relative humidity for the benefit of a plant. It simply wets the leaves temporarily. That is of no benefit to a plant unless you need to get the dust off. Misting can create the exact environment for the spread of fungal disorders...especially with a plant with a billion fragile leaflets like the fern and can even aid in the distribution of spider mites.

I know that Toni loves her misting and would probably go into withdrawal if someone stole her plant sprayers, but it really and truly does not help a plant in terms of humidity. Misting can be a form of relaxation for plant owners; it encourages plant inspections and grooming, and it helps keep a plant dust free; those are the true benefits. But it does not raise the relative humidity. The benefits of misting plants in one of the myths of horticulture.

Now, in all likelihood, your fern will shed a huge amount of leaves not too long after you move it inside. This will be almost impossible to avoid, unless you have that bright, cold, and humid room that it would thrive in. Raise humidity by grouping lots of plants together, and providing a humidifier or bubbling fountains.

I have kept very large Boston ferns going for a long time (years) by cutting them ALL the way back in the fall and placing them in a very bright, cool location. The new leave were adapted to the indoor environment. In the late winter, I divided them in half (and repotted them) and slowly introduced them to the outdoor light. That was a winning routine for me. I opted for the brush-cut simply to avoid the big shedding period and I ended up with very pretty plants.

Others seem to be able to keep them going over the winter though I don't know if they thrive or not.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 11:50PM
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