I hear people comment all the time about how huge and gorgeous my Boston ferns are each summer, and after talking with some of those people for only a moment, I realize why they are unable to have the same success. There are a couple very common mistakes that people are making when growing Boston Ferns. Let me explain…
Pot Size – While it is true that you can leave your ferns in the original pot or basket that you purchased it in, doing so will also limit its growth. If you want to grow huge…I mean HUGE ferns, you need to re-pot the fern into something that will allow more growth. Most hanging baskets are either 8 or 10 inches in diameter. Bump it up to 12 or 14 inches and watch out…in a month or so, you will barely be able to pick it up!
I buy tin buckets in about a 14 inch size. I drill holes in the bottom for drainage. If I want to hang them, I make hangers using “S” hooks and some heavy duty chain…otherwise I can use them on large tables or plant stands.
When I re-pot, I use a mix of potting soil and some horse manure, which is great fertilizer.
Watering - Here’s everyone’s biggest misconception…that they will overwater their fern. NOT TRUE! It is virtually impossible to overwater an fern…they LOVE water! So many people comment that they water them with about the same frequency as they would their indoor plants…maybe once every few days. Bosten Ferns crave water…in fact, they need it daily, and during our extremely hot summer days of 90+ degree heat, it wouldn’t hurt to water them twice a day…once as you leave for work, and once when you return. Trust me…if you have adequate drainage, you will not drown your fern. Think about it…think about lush rain forests. What do you find in those wet areas? You got it…Ferns!
As far as keeping them fertilized…don’t over do it! If your ferns start losing their dark green color, find you some good fertilizer for acid loving plants. Follow the instructions and you’ll have those ferns back to a dark green color in no time.