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Should I Mist My Boston Fern? (How Often+Pros & Cons)

Boston Ferns are universally loved houseplants, popular for their lush green leaves, which can raise the visual appeal of any home corner. If you own one of these beauties, you might be wondering if it is a good idea to mist them. Let’s find out.

Misting a Boston Fern can temporarily increase the humidity around the plant, but consider installing a humidifier if you want a long-term solution. Excessive misting can lead to pests and diseases as well. Experts suggest occasional misting with neem oil to keep the leaves clean and pests away.

In this article, we will discuss how misting helps a Boston Fern and some better ways of increasing the humidity for the plant. Keep reading.

Boston fern misting

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Do Boston Ferns like to be misted?

Boston Ferns are native to tropical climates, so they love humidity.

They are likely to display dry, brown leaf tips and yellow and falling leaves without sufficient humidity.

If your area has low humidity and dry air, you have to raise the humidity around your Boston Fern because they need that moisture.

Boston Fern will enjoy being misted, but if you do it too frequently, it can lead to several problems in the plant.

However, there are several ways of increasing the humidity around the Boston Ferns indoors.

How often should I mist my Boston fern?

There are multiple ways to increase humidity for your Boston Ferns, but misting is what you can do if you can’t avail the other techniques.

Misting offers only short-lived moisture to the plant, and thus it may not always be sufficient.

But some plant owners who opt for misting wonder how many times they should mist their Boston Fern?

You have to remember that misting is a temporary solution to increase humidity.

Sometimes, you might need to mist multiple times a day in extremely hot weather.

If the place you live in already has enough humidity in the air, you do not need to mist the plant too often.

In that case, consider misting once a day or every 2-3 days, depending on the weather and your convenience.

However, if the temperatures are extremely high and the air is very dry, you may have to mist daily and multiples times every day.  

The frequency of misting depends on external factors like weather, air quality, etc.

Signs that your Boston Fern requires more humidity

Boston fern 4

Boston Ferns are hardy plants.

Even when they are almost shredded and dried out, they will bounce back if they get the proper care.

Thus, understanding the requirements of your Boston fern is important as that will help you create the right condition for your plant.

A moisture-loving plant, Boston fern, will show clear signs if it does not get enough humidity.

High humidity is crucial for Boston Ferns, and they thrive in humidity levels of above 80%.

Some of the signs of low humidity on Boston Ferns are:

  • Brown leaf tips and edges: Most moisture is lost through the leaves. The edges of the leaves are sensitive and can easily turn brown in low humidity conditions.
  • Dry, crispy leaves: Low humidity levels can cause excessive drying of the leaves, and sometimes they cannot remain sufficiently hydrated. So they can become crispy and dry. 
  • Leaf dropping: Low humidity is a common cause of leaves dropping prematurely.
  • Yellowing of the leaves: Yellow leaves signify multiple problems in the Boston Ferns. However, low humidity is one of the most common of them all.

Some of these symptoms may also indicate other problems.

You can opt for a hygrometer to measure the humidity around your plant to confirm whether low humidity is indeed the problem.

While your Boston Ferns require a very high humidity range of around 80%, anything below 50% can be a low range for your Ferns.

In that case, you have to resort to artificial means to increase humidity for your plant. 

Does my Boston fern require a humidifier?

Boston fern high humidity

Undoubtedly yes, your Boston Ferns need a humidifier

Those who have not heard about humidifiers, you must learn about them because, in the indoor garden setup, tropical moisture-loving plants like Boston Ferns require a humidifier to meet their humidity demands.

When it comes to using artificial means to increase humidity, using a humidifier is the best resolution as it provides a more long-lasting solution than misting.

Use filtered or distilled water to fill the humidifier.

This warmth mimics the natural environment of these plants.

Place it around your Boston Fern or other tropical moisture-loving plants to increase the moisture level in the air that would make your plants flourish.

Humidifiers can increase the humidity for most houseplants, including Boston Ferns.

While some plants may survive low humidity, their health and growth can be seriously affected.

A humidifier lets you control, increase and decrease the humidity level in your house.

Adding a humidifier is the best way to provide humidity to your Boston fern.

How do you give Boston fern humidity?

There are different methods of adding humidity to your Boston fern.

A humidifier is one of the most long-lasting solutions, which has already been discussed above.

However, not everybody might be able to get a humidifier.

In that case, there are other ways to help you with this.

Let us discuss them so you can choose which one to get for your Ferns.

  • Use a pebble tray
  • Cover the plant with a plastic bag
  • Keep the Boston fern in the humid areas of homes
  • Grouping with other tropical plants
  • Keeping the Fern near an aquarium
  • Double pot your Boston Fern
Boston fern high temperature

Create a pebble tray

A pebble tray or a humidity tray is an easy and less time-consuming way to increase the humidity around the plant.

It provides constant humidity without drowning the plant. 

  • To make a pebble tray, take a tray and fill it with pebbles. Make sure the tray is slightly larger than the pot. For example, if your pot is 6 inches, use a tray of 8 inches. 
  • Then place a layer of pebbles on the tray and place the pot on top of the pebbles.
  • Add water to this tray to fill the tray and keep the pebbles consistently wet.
  • When the water evaporates from the tray, it will increase the humidity around your Fern.
  • Add water whenever you notice the water level has gone down.

Most importantly, make sure the bottom of the pot is sitting on the pebbles but not directly touching the water.

If the pot sits on the water directly, that will cause soggy soil, leading to root rot.

Relocate your Boston fern

You can relocate your Boston fern in your bathroom, laundry room, basement, or kitchen areas.

These places have higher humidity levels than other areas of your home.

The steam from a shower will add humidity to your Boston fern. 

The boiling water of the kitchen can also increase the humidity if you place your Boston fern in the kitchen.

You can consider shifting your plant to these rooms, provided the rooms have sufficient light and aeration.

If not, then your Boston fern will not survive here.

If you find that these areas of your house are well ventilated with plenty of air and light, then you can keep your Boston Fern here. 

Cover your Boston Fern

Though this is not a very visually appealing way, it is a great way to raise the humidity of your Boston fern.

Covering the Fern with a plastic bag creates a humid environment for your plant.

Plants under plastic bags retain moisture and capture what the plants produce by transpiration.

However, keep in mind to keep the plant away from direct sunlight as that may lead to excessive-high temperatures.

So the plastic bag greenhouse should be in a shady spot. 

Also, remember that this is not a permanent solution and a temporary one, as keeping your plant under plastic bags for a long duration can lead to other issues like a fungal infection.

Consider an aquarium

adding a small aquarium near your plants

Aquariums are another smart way to increase the humidity of the plant.

If you have an aquarium, consider placing your Boston fern around it.

As the aquarium’s water evaporates, it creates a high humidity zone around it, which solves the low humidity problem.

Group it with other tropical plants

Grouping plants together increases the humidity around that area.

Grouping plants give off humidity, creating a moisture-rich condition for the other plants in the space.

In this process, they help to increase each other’s humidity while taking in carbon dioxide and creating the vapor transaction amidst the atmosphere and the leaf.

However, you have to be certain that none of the plants have pests or bugs problems as grouping can spread to other plants.

Double pot your Boston fern

Double potting your Fern is a great way to give the plant more humidity.

You place the plant in a shallow terracotta pot not more than 1 inch larger than the root ball.

Make sure the pot contains drainage holes.

You can set that pot inside a slightly larger pot lined with damp sphagnum moss.

Water evaporating from that moss will raise the humidity levels around the plant.

Keep the Ferns in a plastic pot instead of terracotta as the former is non-porous, so the moisture stays locked.

Advantages and disadvantages of misting

Boston fern neem oil

Before starting to mist your Boston fern, understand the pros and cons of misting. 

Advantages of mistingDisadvantages of misting
Misting is easy. Pour water into a spray bottle and spray on your Boston fern.Misting with poor water quality can lead to salt and mineral build-up. 
Misting with poor water quality can lead to salt and mineral build-up. Misting provides a short-lived result that is not sufficient for your Boston fern. The water evaporates very fast, and the plant gets dry again.
The leaves can photosynthesize better after misting.Misting results in fungal growth and pest infections on the leaves. That is why misting should be done in the morning so that the water does not stay on the leaves for long.
Misting the Ferns with Neem oil helps to prevent pest attacks.Misting the soil results in fungal growth and fungus gnats on the soil.
Misting gives your Ferns a more appealing look.Excessive misting can lead to bugs that thrive in the wet leaves.
Over misting can keep the leaves wet most of the time, slowing the photosynthesis process.
Advantages and disadvantages of misting.

How do you mist a Boston fern?

Remember the following points in mind to mist your Boston fern. 

Now let us see how to mist the plant and some things you should remember.

  • Misting alone will not help increase the humidity permanently. It is just a temporary fix.
  • You can use any of the other methods described above, along with misting the plant.
  • Never use normal tap water to mist the Boston fern as it contains chlorine, fluorine, and other harmful minerals, and they would accumulate salts on the plant.
  • Use rainwater or distilled water to mist the Boston fern.
  • Adding some Neem oil to the water while misting prevents bugs and infestation.
  • Mist plants in the morning so that all the extra water dries out throughout the day.
  • Don’t forget to spray both the top and bottom leaves to emulate the humidity of the native lands.
  • Make sure you keep your Boston fern in a place that receives good airflow, so misting can lead to wetness around the plant. And in the absence of good airflow, the dampness can lead to pest infestations.
  • Use a spray bottle to mist instead of using your hands to splash water. The fine spray bottle helps the water droplets to evaporate faster, preventing fungal growth.
  • Also, make sure the water from the leaves does not fall on the soil as that may lead to fungus growth in the soil.

Final thoughts

Before you start misting your Boston Ferns, know the effects, advantages, and risks. Doing it the right way can give good results.

Do not forget that only misting will not give you the desired result if humidity is the concern. So it is recommended to get one of the other ways like using a humidifier, a pebble tray, keeping it in a high moisture area, or grouping the Boston Ferns with other tropical plants.

Also, continue to mist the Fern every 2-3 days, depending upon the weather. Water your Boston Fern as and when required to keep the soil moist. Do not confuse misting with watering.

Reference: University of Florida, The University of Arkansas Division, Texas A&M University System, The University of Georgia, University of New Hampshire, Wikipedia, The Royal Horticultural Society.

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