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Ferns/Boston Fern


my Boston fern is an indoor plant 365 days/year.  It gets sunlight everyday and watered weekly.  The fronds are turning brown and it is dropping leaves everywhere.  It sits in the same room as my humidifier.

What causes this, and what can be done about it?

John hi;

For the most part, Boston ferns will shed even in the best of circumstances.  That is just a part of their normal cycle.

If the shedding is excessive, the plant may have overgrown its current container (if it has been getting dry between waterings, that is a good indication.) In that case, you would need to transplant it to a larger basket with some fresh peat.

It may also be suffering from lack of sunlight, especially as the seasons change.  As rule of thumb, an indoor fern would need the maximum amount of light you can give it (preferably, through a skylight or south-facing window.)

Due to its tendency to shed, a Boston fern is mostly utilized on a covered porch or screened patio, where it can receive plenty of filtered light and where the sheddings can be easily swept or washed away.

Thanks for your question.  Do not hesitate to follow up if you need more assistance or if it appears that I am wrong; there may always be different circumstances in every situation.



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Dan Carmi


I can answer all types of questions regarding ferns: their physiology, life cycle, taxonomy, culture (for both the professional and hobbyist), home and garden application and care, site suitability, and more. I can also answer questions in the fields of greenhouse production, foliage plants, and houseplant care, along with questions in the general field of ornamental horticulture. I may be able to identify fern and foliage plants by photo, but I am unlikely to be able to do it by description (though I will never turn down a challenge). I am not an expert in crop, field, and agronomic production. I am not an expert on annuals, perennials, tree & shrub crops.


I am a horticulturist with a formal education and twelve years experience in commercial fern and tropical foliage production. I also served as Adjunct Professor of Horticulture at Florida Southern College.

Florida's Nursery Growers and Landscape Association: current member and Action Chapter Board Member 2006-2008.

I have a BSc in Environmental Horticulture / Business from Florida Southern College, specializing in Greenhouse Management and Production.

Awards and Honors
FNGLA Action Chapter President's Award 2006-2007, numerous academic awards 2001-2005.

Past/Present Clients
Through my place of employment, I serve hundreds of commercial growers across the country and beyond.

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