Indoor plants

How and when to replant Boston ferns

A healthy and mature Boston fern is an impressive plant with dark green colouring and lush foliage up to 1.5 metres long. Although this classic houseplant requires minimal maintenance, it periodically becomes too large for its pot, usually every two or three years. Repotting Boston fern in a larger container is not a difficult task, but time is important.

When to replant Boston ferns

If your Boston fern doesn’t grow as fast as it usually does, you may need a larger pot. Another clue is the roots protruding from the drainage hole. Don’t wait until the pot is poorly attached to the root.

If the potting soil is so compacted by the roots that the water flows directly into the pot, or if the roots grow in a tangled mass

on the ground, it is definitely time to replant the plant.

The best way to replant Boston fern is when the plant is actively growing in the spring.

How to replant a Boston fern

Water the Boston fern a few days before replanting because the moist soil adheres to the roots and makes replanting easier. The new pot should be only one or two centimetres larger in diameter than the current pot. Do not plant the fern in a large pot because the excess soil in the pot traps moisture which can cause root rot.

Fill the new pot with 2 or 3 cm of fresh potting soil. Hold the fern in one hand, then tilt the pot and carefully guide the plant out of the container. Place the fern in the new container and fill around the potting ball with potting soil to about 1 inch from the top.

Adjust the soil at the bottom of the container, if necessary. The fern should be planted at the same depth as in the previous container. Planting too deep can damage the plant and cause root rot.

Tap the soil around the roots to eliminate air pockets, then water the fern thoroughly. Place the plant in partial shade or indirect light for a few days, then move it to its normal location and resume regular care.

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