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Re-pot Boston Fern [Top Tips and Aftercare]

The lacy fronds are the signature look of Boston Ferns. But the fronds may turn brown due to root issues, showing the plant may need more expansive legroom!

Re-pot a Boston Fern in early spring or summer by taking a 1-2 inches wider terracotta pot with drainage holes and filling it with a well-draining potting mix. Situate the unpotted plant in the center of the pot, add soil from the sides, and water it thoroughly.

Listen to this article here.

Frequent and haphazard re-potting might weaken the root system and delay growth. So, follow the article to learn about re-potting your Boston Fern and rescue it from this stressful situation.

Reasons to Re-pot a Boston Fern

Repotting is one of the crucial steps in ensuring that your plant has a suitable environment for root growth.

After all, a healthy root system equals a healthy plant.

  • To recover a malnourished plant and replenish lost nutrients from the soil, it’s better to re-pot a fern.
  • The leaves begin to curl inwards and have slow growth. Re-potting will help the fern to make a comeback from such upshots.
Image represents Boston Fern plant
Boston Ferns prefer dappled sunlight but grow leggy if the plant gets significantly less sunshine.
  • Excessive root-binding will cause injury to the roots and cause root decay. Re-pot your plant to free root stress.
  • Re-potting Boston Fern will prevent the premature leaf fall and increase the plant’s adaptability.
  • If you simply want to multiply using roots, divide the root ball during re-potting and replant the divisions.

When to Re-pot a Boston Fern?

If your Boston fern is enormous and from fast-growing species, you can re-pot them once every 6 months.

However, it is recommended to re-pot your Boston ferns once every 1.5-3 years in early spring to summer.
Image represents a pot-bound Boston Plant
It’s time to re-pot Boston Fern when their roots grow from the pot’s drainage holes or cram up in the topsoil.

If you are still confused about whether you should re-pot your Boston Ferns, here are some other common symptoms of a root-bounding.

  • Your Boston Fern might look stunted or take a long time to develop new fronds.
  • When you water your ferns, the topsoil immediately absorbs all the water and drains it immediately from the bottom.
  • If you see a few roots creeping through the drainage holes or shooting off from the topsoil, it may also be an alarming sign for Boston Ferns.

Spring and early summers are the best time for re-potting because the roots will have enough time to grow and adjust to new soil.

Remember that it would be best to re-pot your Boston Fern when the soil is warm (between 40°F and 60°F).

Winter and fall are not ideal, as your Boston Ferns go into survival mode in the cold seasons.

Any disturbances, such as re-potting, can cause stress to your ferns and negatively affect their development.

Materials Required to Re-pot a Boston Fern

The “big three” considerations while repotting are pot material, planter size, and soil.

1. Pot Type and Size

The new pot should be slightly more significant than the existing pot.

Therefore, choosing a pot about 1-2 inches wider is best.

An extensively larger pot can cause root rot due to excessive water retention.

When re-potting your Boston Ferns, it is best to use terracotta pots with bottom drainage holes.

Biodegradable pots allow airflow to and from the pot, providing ample oxygen to the roots.

2. Soil Composition

Boston Ferns need well-percolating soil with the capacity to retain some amount of moisture. 

Also, add organic lime or lemon juice to moderate a pH between 6 and 6.5.

Further, Boston Ferns love an airy and efficiently drying potting mix.

Hence, blending the premium soil with organic perlite can make it puffy. 

How to Re-pot a Boston Fern?

The root system of Boston Fern is considerably strong and can endure a certain degree of distress, making re-potting seamless and convenient.

Moreover, they have shallow root systems. Hence, you can exclude deep pots.

  • Before re-potting, water 1-2 days before to drench the soil thoroughly.
  • Squeeze the sides and carefully slide the root ball outside the pot or loosen the edges of the soil and take the plant out.
  • Separate the root ball inside a bucket of water, remove any injured roots, and trim the fronds at the base as close to the crown as possible.
  • Fill a new pot 1/3rd with potting mix, place the plant in the center, add more soil from the sides, and ensure the plant stands upright.
  • Pat down the soil for a stronger hold, and top it with some mulch.
  • Once your Boston Fern has adjusted properly (in about 2 weeks), you can place them in a well-lit area with indirect sunlight.

How to Take Care of a Re-potted Boston Fern?

A newly re-potted Boston Fern is like a newly grown baby fern plant. It requires a lot of attention and cultural care.

  • Situate Boston Ferns in stippled sunlight for 2-3 hours daily. Locate it near an east-facing window in the morning, or place it 3-5 feet away from a south-facing window.
  • Maintain a suitable temperature of around 65-95°F. Keep the surroundings cool with some shade but not freezing.
  • Water every 2-3 days in spring and summer. Check the soil for dryness before watering in fall and winter.
Image represents a root-bound Boston Fern
While repotting, consider keeping the roots intact at most and save some rhizome bulbs attached to the plantlets.
  • Place the plant beside a humidifier set at 60-70% or group the plants inside a bathroom to maintain the humidity.
  • Apply water-soluble fertilizer monthly throughout spring and summer. Feed the plant sparingly by diluting the fertilizer to 1/4th strength in fall and winter.
  • Spray plants with neem oil during pest and disease outbreaks. Likewise, isolate the diseased or pest-infested plants to treat them separately.

FAQs About Re-potting Boston Ferns

Do Boston Ferns need bottom watering after re-potting?

Boston Ferns can be watered using a bottom-up approach by keeping the plant on 1-2 inches of water and letting the soil saturate thoroughly for 15-20 minutes.

Does Boston Fern need water after re-potting?

You must not water a newly re-potted Boston Ferns for at least 2 weeks and let the plant adjust in the new pot.

Wrapping Up…

If you see any roots circling the pot, untangle the root ball and snip away the unwanted roots.
However, be mindful and keep the tan roots intact.

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