Unlock Lush Growth: 6 Expert Secrets on How to Propagate a Boston Fern and Multiply Your Green Oasis!

Mentari Aisyah

How to Propagate a Boston Fern – Planting a Boston fern can liven up any room in your home! This splash of foliage, also known as Nephrolepis exaltata, comes with some unique challenges; however, with the right knowledge and care it can provide long-term success. Propagating a Boston fern is a great way to expand your collection or give one away as a gift. With this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about propagating your own Boston fern including which materials are necessary for successful propagation and key steps from seed sowing to nurturing new plants into maturity.

Two popular strategies to propagate your Boston fern are by division or propagation from runners. If you decide to divide the plant, carefully unearth it and take apart the roots before replanting in separate pots. On the other hand, just pluck off any tiny shoots at their base that have sprouted up around the main plant – these will mature into new plants if grown correctly!

Why should you propagate a Boston fern plant?

Propagation is a cost-effective way to obtain multiple plants with one purchase. So, if you’re looking for the most economical method of increasing your garden and exploring different species, propagation may be just the solution! Additionally, propagating is an excellent idea when a plant turns leggy or too large; Boston ferns are known as rapid growers so they often require this process.

In addition to pruning the leggy growth of your plant and using it for propagation, you can give shape to its appearance as well. Don’t let those stems go to waste! Propagation is a surefire way to keep your beloved greenery alive and thriving.

Take advantage of the few healthful stems of your plant and propagate them to cultivate a new, thriving one.

What is the best time to propagate a Boston fern?

Spring or summer is the perfect time to propagate a Boston fern, as they are tropical plants which enter an inactive state in winter. During this growing season, these beautiful greenery will be at their best when propagating!

During the growing season, make sure to give your plant all of the best conditions that it needs; this way, it won’t be subject to any stress. When repotting in early spring, take a slice with healthy roots from a fern and replant each division into their own pots with new soil mix. Keep the pot somewhere warm where there are no drafts or sudden temperature changes for optimal results. Ensure you keep the soil slightly moist too!

Let your plant’s roots recuperate and become stronger over the entire growing season before attempting to propagate it. Otherwise, you may have wasted all of your hard work for nothing! If you observe that the leaves are curling up or turning dry and brown, try restoring its health before propagating.

What are the tools you will need for propagation?

To properly propagate your Boston fern, you’ll need the right tools. Here’s a list of items to help you get started:

  1. A healthy Boston fern plant
  2. Potting mix and water
  3. Bleach
  4. Plant mister
  5. Plastic sheets
  6. Sharp scissors
  7. Tray
  8. Essential Plant Supplies
  9. Pebbles

What are the different ways to propagate a Boson fern?

Propagating your Boston fern is easier than ever with three simple methods.

  1. Propagation by division
  2. Propagation by runners
  3. Propagation from spores

Now, let’s dive into the specifics of each method.

How Will You Take Care of a Propagated Boston Fern

How to Propagate a Boston Fern

So, you’re ready to learn how to propagate a Boston fern? Here’s your guide.

Propagation by division

To propagate your Boston plant through division, the initial step is to divide it into sections.

  1. Take out your plant from the pot.

Carefully remove your plant from the pot, in order to sectionalize it with its rooting system. Keep in mind that the leaves are fragile, so handle them gently and cautiously to avoid any tearing of foliage.

If the roots have clumped together, gently brush away the soil and use your fingers to delicately separate them.

  1. Separate the plant into sections

Depending on the size of your mother plant, you can determine how many divisions to cut off. To divide your plant successfully, use a sharp pair of shears to slice through its root system.

  1. Cut the root ball into two halves.

Divide the halves into quarters, and then once more into eights – this will result in a grand total of eight sections. A Boston fern that has grown to its full potential can accommodate up to 8 divisions. However, if the root ball is small, only cut it into fourths and do not proceed further than that.

For the plants to thrive in their new pots, make sure each section includes leaves, stems, and roots. In this way, you can ensure optimal growth of your new plants.

Don’t let the thought of cutting through roots scare you, for doing so will have no ill-effect on the health of your budding plants.

  1. Place the offsets into the new potting mix.

For the fourth step, return the mother plant to its original pot. If you removed a large portion of it, go for a smaller-sized container instead.

All the new Boston sections should be nestled snugly into their respective pots. Make sure that each pot is able to accommodate these smaller divisions accordingly.

Leave a minimum of two inches between the pot and root system for optimal growth.

  1. Care for the new Boston plants.

Now that you have planted your ferns, it’s imperative to make sure they are supplied with necessary water and light. Water the plants when the top layer of soil feels dry; however, be conscious not to over saturate them as this can cause root rot. The ideal amount is moist but never soggy!

When it comes to ferns, indirect light is the way to go. Make sure they avoid direct sunlight at all costs for optimal health and growth.

Propagation by runners

If you’re looking for a simple way to section off your plant, runners are the perfect solution! These leafless stems present in ferns can be used for easy propagation.

The steps involved in this propagation method are:

  1. Select a healthy runner from the plant.

Start by selecting healthy, green runners that are peeking out of the plant. Avoid any brown or crispy-looking runners as they will not have successful growth.

  1. Separate the runners from the plant.

This step allows for the most effective removal of the runner from its origin. To ensure successful propagation, a few sections of the root system must be included in this cut.

  1. Plant the runners in the potting mix.

Choose a pot that is large enough and fill it with the best quality of soil. Make sure to dig deep enough, cover the root system securely, then place your runner on top for extra protection.

With regular contact with the soil, a new Boston fern will begin to sprout and its roots can effectively stretch out. That’s why it is crucial for runners to stay in close connection with the ground beneath them.

  1. Water the potting mix.

Once the Boston fern runners have been planted, it’s time for watering. Only water them when the top layer of soil is dry to the touch; this will help ensure that your plants are receiving just enough hydration.

In the beginning stages of plant growth, you can use a moisture meter to check the soil and ensure that it is properly moistened. Make certain not to overwater your plants as this could lead to waterlogging in the roots.

  1. Wait for the new growth.

To ensure the health of your baby fern, it’s essential to maintain a consistent watering routine while keeping other environmental elements balanced. Although you may be tempted to inspect its growth rate, refrain from touching or moving any of the runners.

Exercise caution when it comes to the delicate roots of newly-planted flowers as any mishandling can decrease their chances for growth. Nonetheless, with a bit of patience and care, you’ll soon be able to witness beautiful new blooms emerge from your pot!

  1. Care for the new growth.

After you witness your plant’s new growth, return to the regular care routine that you would normally provide for it.

Propagation from spores

Gardeners often propagate plants from spores, which can be found on the underside of fronds as well as in tiny sporangia capsules. Spore propagation is an easy and effective way to cultivate a variety of species.

Let us look at the steps involved in this method.

  1. Collect the spores from the plant.

Initially, seek out the small raised dark brown or black bumps located on the underside of each fern frond.

When the fronds appear ready for harvesting, snip them off and lay them flat on a sheet of white paper. Place another piece of paper above it and press down with a book to ensure that no air can get through.

Give it a few days, and you will spot a brown powder accumulating on the paper – these are spores that must be harvested for propagation.

If you don’t notice any spores on your fronds, it’s likely that you collected them too soon. Spores act as the dust particles of plants and are necessary for cultivating new ones; they share similarities with pollen grains in this regard.

While you can propagate ferns all year, the optimal time to initiate spore propagation is during March and July.

  1. Prepare the fern compost.

For this stage, you must make fern compost. Blend together peat moss and compost in a ratio of 50:50 for the best results. Then take an unglazed pot and sanitize using a bleach-water solution to prevent disease or infection from occurring.

After the pot has air-dried, top it off with some fern compost. Cover the compost with a paper towel before pouring in boiling water – this will cause the soil to expand and help sanitize it. Then just wait until your mixture is cool enough to handle before moving on!

  1. Sow the fern spores.

After the compost has cooled, carefully take away the paper towel and spread a light coating of spores on top. Once you’ve sowed the Boston ferns’ spores, cover with plastic to avoid any sort of contamination.

  1. Keep the spores moist.

To ensure your compost reaches its full potential, it must be properly hydrated. Place the pot in a saucer of water to guarantee that all components are sufficiently moistened – but avoid watering directly on top as this can cause damage to the spores within. By taking these simple steps, you will accelerate germination and help your compost reach its peak performance!

After a thorough watering of the plant, return it to its plastic bag and make sure you place the pot in an area with plenty of warmth but no direct sunlight.

The plastic covering will serve as a miniature greenhouse, and must be protected from direct sunlight to avoid excessive heat. It’s important to ensure the soil is consistently moist; if you notice that the top layer of compost appears dry, simply peel back the plastic before adding steaming hot water then re-cover it.

  1. Transplant the baby fronds.

Now, all you need to do is exercise patience and wait for the spore propagation – it will take time. After a month has passed, an emerald slime coating should appear across your compost surface.

This is just the start, and it takes several months for this slime to mature into small fronds. Once these baby plants have enough size and strength, transferring them carefully into their pots can commence.

Common problems when propagating a Boston Fern

How Will You Take Care of a Propagated Boston Fern?

If you want to successfully propagate Boston ferns, it is essential that you understand and adhere to the fundamental needs of this plant. By creating the ideal growing environment for your ferns, they will undoubtedly thrive!

Now, let us delve into all the essential care instructions that you must follow for your recently propagated plant.


If you want to see your Boston fern thrive, position it near a bright window with indirect light for 2-3 hours every day. This will provide the perfect environment for growth and keep your plant looking beautiful!

To preserve the stunning colors of your fronds, ensure that you do not keep them in darkened areas. Furthermore, direct sunlight should be avoided as it will lead to sunburn on their leaves.

To meet your plants’ light needs, you can also turn to artificial lighting.


For a successful Boston fern, it’s essential to keep the soil evenly moist. It is just as imperative not to overwater your plant; this will lead to complete saturation and make the soil muddy. You should check in on your soil regularly and water your beloved greenery promptly if you detect that its dryness has returned!

During the peak of summer and spring, make sure to water your soil when the top layer feels dry. As winter arrives and plants go into a dormant phase, reduce watering as there is no active growth present.


In order to ensure healthy growth, the optimal potting mix for a Boston fern should be nutrient-rich with good drainage and air circulation. Additionally, it is extremely important that the soil remains only moist—not waterlogged.

Ensure your new baby ferns have the best start by preparing a custom potting mix for them: combine 1 part potting soil, 1 part peat or sphagnum moss and 1 part perlite.

For optimal growth of your plants, it is important to use a combination of peat and perlite in the soil. This will ensure that the water retention rate remains balanced while also promoting effective drainage for healthy root development. Additionally, make sure that the pH level should be slightly acidic with a range between 5.0-5.5 for proper nutrient absorption by the plant’s roots!


Boost your Boston ferns with a monthly fertilizer application during spring and summer. For optimal effects, use a water-soluble fertilizer that has an NPK ratio of 20-10-20 at half strength. Allow the plant to have its dormant season without fertilizers as it will remain inactive anyway and won’t need additional nourishment.


If you’re looking to create a tropical oasis in your home, the Boston fern is an ideal choice! To keep them thriving and healthy, it’s important that you maintain temperatures between 65-75°F. If the temperature dips below 35°F or rises above 95°F, it can cause irreparable damage to this beautiful plant. By providing proper protection from extreme weather conditions, your Boston fern will be able to flourish with ease!

For optimal growth, your plant should only be propagated during the warmer months of spring and summer.


Boston ferns, being native to tropical regions, require specific humidity levels in order for propagation and continued growth. Keep your plant’s environment at a minimum of 50-60% humidity in order for it to flourish!

Boost the humidity level of your home by using a humidifier or placing the plant in a pebble tray – both easy solutions for providing your precious pet with an environment that it loves.

Common problems when propagating a Boston Fern

Why isn’t my new boston fern growing

Propagating through division allows for faster growth than other forms of houseplant reproduction such as stem or leaf cutting. Though, do not anticipate instantaneous results; it may take several weeks/months before your plant is securely rooted in its new pot and growing fresh foliage and stems.

Are your Boston Ferns not growing as you’d hoped? If the temperatures are a bit cooler, lack of growth could be why. For accelerated root growth, try using a heat pad beneath your new plants; it’ll create an optimum environment for them to thrive in. Heat pads also work wonders when propagating through runners. So if you want more lush foliage and healthy roots – don’t forget to turn up the temperature!

Why is My Cutting Yellow

If you’ve noticed your Fern’s leaves turning yellow, it may be due to too much direct sunlight or inadequate watering. To determine the root of the issue, inspect your plant’s soil and see whether there is enough water or if its been burnt/scorched by excess rays from the sun.

How to Propagate a Boston Fern

Top tips for a successful Boston Fern propagation

To ensure a successful propagation, it is essential to follow the right method and pay attention to certain details. Springtime is usually the best period for starting this process; however, you don’t want to start too early as low temperatures can harm your efforts quickly! Therefore, make sure that any frost has been eliminated before taking cuttings or spore cultivation. This will guarantee better chances of success when propagating!

Additionally, keep a vigilant eye on all your plants during the propagation process. It is often a stressful experience for everyone involved, so make sure to inspect them daily; this will help you detect any problems rapidly before they become too severe. The best way of solving difficulties is recognizing and treating them immediately!

How to care for your new Boston Ferns after propagation?

Boston Ferns are able to handle intense light, but be cautious when introducing your new plants to direct sunlight. Too much sun at once can put too much stress on them while they’re still young and developing a strong root system; however, the ferns require an adequate amount of light for growth and maintaining health.

Moisture is essential when it comes to caring for your Boston Ferns, since dry soil is their nemesis. They abhor the potting mix drying out and will immediately show signs of distress if that occurs. In addition to making sure the soil stays hydrated, you should also try to boost humidity levels in order for your plant not to get dried out. A few spritzes from a mister or using an air humidifier are great ways of keeping them healthy and thriving!

After propagating your Fern, you don’t need to worry about fertilizers. We never suggest administering fertilizer to new plants within the first year; however, this is especially true for Boston Ferns. Over-fertilization can be very damaging and even deadly for these sensitive greenery!

We hope this guide has been of assistance to you. Although it may take some time for your plants to become revitalized with more leaves or runners, the right methods and ever-important care routine, along with a suitable amount of heat and light will be sure to bring success.

Final words

If you’re looking for an affordable and straightforward option to increase your Boston fern collection, propagation is perfect for you! Additionally, if your plant has become leggy or in a declining state of health, propagating can also be beneficial. Thankfully growing and caring for these stunning plants are incredibly easy tasks. Just keep in mind the guidelines and tips outlined within this guide, and you’ll be sure to have a thriving new batch of Boston ferns in no time! Good luck, and happy propagating!​

Mentari Aisyah

I'm a passionate gardener with over two decades of hands-on experience in nurturing plants, designing landscapes, and cultivating gardens. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or need personalized advice. Happy gardening!

Related Post

Ads - Before Footer