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What Kind Of Pot Is Best For a Boston Fern? (Size, Material & More)

Boston ferns are tropical houseplants popular for their deep green color and lush fronds. They are low-maintenance plants but will not thrive if you use the wrong pot to grow them. You might be thinking, which is the best pot for growing a Boston fern? Let’s find out in this article.

Choose a plastic or glazed terracotta pot for growing your Boston fern, as these pots will keep the soil evenly moist and protect the plant from drying out quickly. Also, make sure the pot contains drainage holes and is of the correct size to avoid overwatering or root rot.

This article will help you find out the correct pot for your Boston fern. I will discuss the importance of choosing the right pot and consider the advantages and disadvantages of the different pots available for your plant.

Boston fern pot types

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How to select the right pot for your Boston fern?

The size of the pot matters a lot while growing a houseplant inside it.

The growth of your plant is confined in the pot.

Therefore you need to select a pot that will provide the roots with proper space and support.

If you get a pot that is too small, the roots of your Boston Fern will not get adequate space for growth, due to which it will get root-bound and will require frequent repotting.

A small pot will not allow proper airflow in the soil, due to which the roots will not be able to breathe properly.

Such roots will fail to transfer water and nutrients to the plants required for growth.

The plant will suffer from stress which will harm their overall health.

Also, Boston ferns can grow bigger and larger in structure, and the small pot can break due to the weight of the plant.

Another problem with small pots is that the soil will quickly dry out, and this can cause underwatering issues.

Boston ferns are tropical plants that prefer to grow in moist soil, and if the soil quickly dries out, the plant will experience dehydration and weakness.

On the other hand, if the pot is too large, it will hold more soil and water. 

This will create an overwatering situation as the plant will not be able to absorb the excess moisture and due to which the soil will remain soggy. 

Soggy soil will take more time for drying out, and this damp condition will encourage the growth of diseases leading to root rot.

Also, in a large pot, the plant will focus on spreading out the roots rather than using its energy to grow the leaves.

Boston ferns are not voluptuous plants, so they do not need to grow in large containers.

The pot’s size should be proportionate to the size of the plants since ferns have a shallow roots system.

There must be a 1-inch gap between the sides of the pot and the root system.

So whenever you choose a pot, do not ignore the size and make sure that the pot is not more than 1-2 inches bigger than the previous pot.

The ideal pot size will give the roots adequate space to grow while preventing the excess water from accumulating.

Which pot material is best for Boston fern?

There are different types of pot available in the market for your Boston fern.

You must choose a pot by looking at the size and the material of the pot. 

All types of pots have their pros and cons, and so you need to understand those before selecting the right type of pot for your plant. 

We will now discuss the advantages and disadvantages of all the common pots available in the marketplace.

Ceramic pots

Ceramic pots are quite popular for their elegant and chic visual appearance.

They are less porous than terracotta pots. 

Advantages:

  • Ceramic pots are found in different sizes, colors, patterns, and shapes that can add a decorative look to the plant.
  • They are less porous than terracotta pots, due to which the soil takes much time for drying out, so they are suitable for moisture-loving plants.
  • They are long-lasting and more durable than terracotta pots.
  • They are heavy and steady, like terracotta pots.

Disadvantages:

  • Ceramic pots are not so portable due to their heavy weight.
  • They are expensive as compared to terracotta or plastic pots.
  • One big disadvantage with ceramic pots is that most of them do not have drainage holes, so the surplus water does not get a chance to drain out, which leads to overwatering situation. The soggy soil becomes a breeding ground for diseases and bacteria, leading to root rot.

Terracotta pots

Terracotta pots are clay-based, unglazed pots that are the most widely used for all houseplants.

Glazed terracotta pots are suitable for growing Boston fern as such pots will keep the soil moist and the roots well-aerated.

Advantages:

  • Terracotta pots are made of natural baked clay and are the most suitable pots for growing Boston ferns.
  • They are cheaper than all pots available on the market.
  • They are available in different sizes suitable for growing both small and large plants.
  • They are highly porous, so the excess water will evaporate and won’t stay in the soil.
  • They allow good airflow in the soil, so the roots do not feel any suffocation.
  • They are heavy and stable pots, so there are fewer chances for the plant to fall.
  • The pot ensures good airflow in the soil, so there is a lesser chance for pests and fungi to attack your plant’s root system.

Disadvantages:

  • Terracotta pots are soft and brittle, so there are high chances of getting cracks or damage whenever they fall.
  • They are highly porous, so the soil dries out too quickly, due to which your plant will need frequent watering to keep itself hydrated.
  • They are heavy pots, so moving a potted plant to different places can become difficult.


Plastic pots

Plastic pots are getting popular these days among houseplant lovers since they are cheap and easy maintenance.

You can use plastic pots for growing your Boston fern, as it will keep the soil moist for a long time.

Advantages:

  • Plastic pots are among the cheapest and most affordable pots of all other pots.
  • They are lightweight, so you can easily move your potted plant to another location.
  • These pots are durable, so they will not break or damage if the potted plant falls from a height.
  • Another advantage is that plastic pots are available in different colors, sizes, and shapes.
  • They have moisture retention capacity, due to which the soil does not dry out quickly, so it is suitable for Boston ferns.

Disadvantages:

  • Plastic pots are non-eco-friendly products.
  • The colors of these pots can fade away if kept in the scorching sun.
  • They are non-porous pots, so it does allow the excess water to dry out, due to which the soil remains moist for longer periods. Soggy soil becomes ideal for fungi and diseases to grow, leading to root rot.

Metal pots

Metal pots are unique and are not widely used for growing houseplants. 

Any metal container can be recycled and used as a planter for Boston fern.

Advantages:

  • Metal pots are highly durable and can last for many years.
  • Any metal container in your home can serve as a planter for your plant. You just need to drill a hole at the bottom of the container.
  • The pots can add a decorative and elegant look to your room.

Disadvantages:

  • Metals pots can become heavy and difficult to move after putting your plant and soil in them.
  • They might not have a drainage hole, so you will need to drill holes before using them as a planter.
  • If the metal pots are iron-based, they will rust with time.
  • Metals are good conductors of light, and so the metal pot will get heated fast if kept in direct sunlight making the soil dry.
  • They are non-porous pots, due to which the soil will remain moist and soggy for a longer time, and watering such soil again and again will lead to root rot in your plant.

Wooden pots

Wooden posts are eco-friendly products and give an appealing look to your plant.

Good quality wooden pots can last for many years.

Mostly, it is lined with plastic from the inside to prevent the woods from getting water damaged. 

Advantages:

  • Wooden pots are cheaper than ceramic or metal pots.
  • You can paint wooden pots by using watercolors and make them highly decorative.
  • You can make wooden pots by using wooden baskets or boxes present in your home.
  • They are environmental- friendly products and do not cause any waste to nature.

Disadvantages:

  • Wooden posts will get damaged if they are in direct contact with moisture.
  • These pots can leak and make the floor dirty. You need to keep a tray below the wooden pots to prevent such problems.
  • They are porous and cause the soil to dry up quickly, so you need to water your plant more frequently.
  •  Wooden pots need good maintenance. Otherwise, termites can attack them.

Fiberglass pots 

Fiberglass pots are one of the newer inventions in the houseplant community and serve many benefits to the plant.

These are available in different shapes and sizes and have a similar appearance to plastic or ceramic pots.

Advantages:

  • Fiberglass pots are light in weight as compared to terracotta or ceramic pots.
  • They are durable and are long-lasting.
  • They are available in many colors, shapes, or sizes.
  • They are non-porous, so it is good for growing moisture-loving plants.

Disadvantages:

  • Fiberglass pots are costlier than clayey or plastic pots.
  • They are non-porous, so it increases the risk of over-watering.
  • They are less durable than plastic or metal pots.
  • They will lose their glossy look with time.

What kind of pot do you use for Boston ferns?

The pot for your Boston fern will depend on some factors.

Depending on the material, size, and moisture preference, you must choose the best pot for your Boston fern.

Let us now discuss all the factors you need to consider before selecting the ideal pot for your plant.

Drainage holes

Drainage holes are vital for any pot.

A pot without drainage holes can become a cause for your plant’s death.

The excess water will not be able to pass through the pot, due to which all the water will stay inside the pot, making the soil soggy. 

The excess water in the soil will prevent oxygen supply in the roots, becoming an ideal condition for the growth of pathogens that will cause root rot and many other problems to your plant.

Boston ferns are moisture-loving plants, but they can’t tolerate excess water, so you must select a pot with drainage holes. 

If the pot doesn’t have drainage holes, drill one or more holes before placing your plant in it. 

Material of the pot

Choosing the material of the pot is quite interesting for any plant owner. 

There are different types of pot materials available in the marketplace, and you need to choose a material that will suit the requirements of your plant. 

Boston ferns are tropical plants and prefer to grow in moist soil, so keep this point in mind before selecting the material of the pot.

The best pot for Boston ferns would be glazed terracotta or plastic pots.

You can choose other pot materials, too, as long as you know how to plan your plan inside the pot.

Size of the pot

Boston fern moisture meter

We have already discussed earlier that the size of the pot is a crucial factor in determining the health of your plant.

Both large and small pots can ruin your plant’s health. 

Choosing a large pot will lead to problems like overwatering and root rot. 

Similarly, using a small pot will not give space for the roots to grow properly, making them root-bound.

The size of the pot should be proportionate to the size of your Boston fern.

While repotting, choose a pot 1-2 inches larger than the previous pot.  

Cleaning of the pot

Keeping the pots clean is important for maintaining your plant’s health.

Over time the pot can get dirty with constant moisture, water, soil, or fertilizers. 

The accumulated salts from the fertilizers can damage the plant and roots. The dirt that builds up in the soil encourages fungal growth and other diseases.

So, it’s important to keep the pots clean. 

You can use water and a brush to clean the pot.

Scrub the pot well with a brush.

Once cleaned, put the pot in a solution of bleach and water in a ratio of 10:90.

Leave it for 10-15 minutes. 

This method will kill all the germs and diseases present in the pot and make it safe for use.


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Final words

Boston ferns are low maintenance and easy to grow plants, but if you choose the wrong spot, the plant can suffer from many problems. From the above discussion, you must have an idea about the different types of pots you can use for your plant.

Before selecting any pot, look at its pros and cons. Although you can use any material, the best pot would be glazed terracotta or ceramic pots. Ensure that the pot contains drainage holes to prevent the overwatering issue.

If you have a new plant, choose a pot that is 1 size larger than the roots and size of your plant. While repotting, choose a pot that is 1-2 inches larger than the previous pot. 

Selecting the right pot and proving the plant with good care are the key factors that will help the plant to thrive and remain healthy.


Reference: University of FloridaThe University of Arkansas DivisionTexas A&M University SystemThe University of GeorgiaUniversity of New HampshireWikipediaThe Royal Horticultural Society.