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Wisconsin's Tropical Gardens

Plant Profile Series


BOSTON FERN (Nephrolepis)

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Boston ferns, with their long, cascading fronds have always been a favorite with indoor houseplant lovers. There are several varieties of this type that each have wonderful characteristics that make them attractive to grow as well as to collect. Included are Fluffy Ruffles, whitmanii, Medusa, Kimberly Queen, and Chino fern (to name just a few).


  • Fluffy Ruffle and Whitmanii are more feathery and lacey due to the double and triple number of leaflets on the frond. Petticoat has an intricate doubling of leaflets at the edge that resemble a petticoat.
  • Medusa has shorter, but more curved fronds making the plant look like a wild head of hair.
  • Kimberly Queen is a more upright-growing fern with slightly darker and more durable fronds.
  • Chino is a tissue-cultured Boston-type that is less messy, easier to grow, and more durable than a typical boston fern.
  • Dallas has shorter, more dense fronds and is also more durable than a typical Boston fern.

WATER: Soil should be kept moist at all times but avoid saturation as this will lead to rot. Reduce watering during the winter months. Do not allow to dry out completely. Ferns like high humidity and must be misted frequently. Provide good air circulation.

LIGHT: Ferns like good indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight.

TEMPERATURE: They like temperatures in the 60 - 70 degree range. They may suffer in temperatures over 75 degrees if the humidity is not high.

These plants are often available in 8" hanging baskets, however, they may also be available in 4" and 6" pot sizes.