What do I even do with this Boston fern :’(

by Lucy

Boston Fern

Boston Fern


I had this Boston fern for 3 months now and it’s just never getting better.

I have it on my west window, near a humidifier and it has a wicking system to keep it evenly moist (I don’t drench it, just a small amount of water on the bottom to keep it moist.

The soil I used was 1/3 perlite; 1/3 bark; 1/3 potting soil

And still, it looks THIS ugly. Idk what to do anymore. Please help me get those luscious ferns I see on Instagram lol

And yes the pot has a lot of drainage

Thank you!

Comments for What do I even do with this Boston fern :’(

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May 15, 2022
My Pet Peeve
by: Jacki Cammidge, Certified Horticulturist

That's what I don't like about Boston Ferns, those long leggy things.

Keep in mind where these plants originated; on a forest or jungle floor. Their preferred type of soil is compost or leaf mold. Not well drained soil such as what you would use for succulents.

I would repot it (yes, I hear you groan) into something with more compost type structure, with some worm castings in it. Or, if you really can't bear to repot right now, scoop out a bit of soil from the edges of the pot and mix that with some worm castings or really well composted leaf mold and put it back into the pot.

Then leave it alone. These ferns do not like being touched or moved. It may never be as lush and full as the ones on social media, but it should start to look better with time.

You may want to mist it occasionally, as I see the tips of the fronds are brown and this is a sign that the air is too dry.

May 15, 2022
And where could I get leafmold?
by: OP

I live in the city but I just can’t find anything like that? I have read about it before but yeah, there’s nowhere I can find "leafmould"

May 15, 2022
Leaf Mold
by: Jacki

If there are any trees around, those will be where to find leaf mold. Do you have a garden club near you? Those people are avid gardeners and most likely will have compost. Or, just use peat moss. If all else fails, save your tea bags for a week or so and add those to the top of the soil and scratch it in (open them first).

With plants, nothing is written in stone.

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