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A picture of a Boston Fern

Boston Fern

Nephrolepis cordifolia

Also known as

Tuberous Swordfern, Erect Sword Fern, Fishbone Fern, Ladder Fern, Narrow Swordfern, Narrow Sword Fern, Tuber Fern, Herringbone Fern, Tuber Ladder Fern

Starr 070221-4863 Nephrolepis cordifolia by Forest & Kim Starr (CC BY 3.0)

Full Shade
Easy care
Frequent watering


USDA zone


Minimum temperature

Expected size








3 years to reach maturity

More images of Boston Fern

A close up of the leaves of a green Nephrolepis cordifolia plant
A green Nephrolepis cordifolia fern
A photo of Boston Fern

Boston Fern Overview

Nephrolepis cordifolia is a tuberous perennial fern species commonly known by the names Boston Fern and Herringbone Fern, amongst others. It resides in the Nephrolepidaceae family and is a common houseplant in many areas of the world. Boston Fern plants are typically grown as an ornamental plant for the attractive foliage. This plant produces narrow leaflets are alternatively arranged along long, upright, brown stems. Originating from Northern Australia and Eastern Asia, this species has been introduced to South America and Africa, where it has established and is considered an invasive species. In South Africa, this species is a problem in the Western Cape, North West, Northern Cape and Gauteng.

Common problems with Boston Fern

Generally pest and disease free.

Boston Fern Companion Plants

Plant with ferns and under large shade trees.

How to harvest Boston Fern

Pick the strong green leaves to use in flower arranging.

How to propagate Boston Fern


The stolons can be divided with a few leaves attached to grow into new plants.


The spores self seed easily to grow into new plants.

Special features of Boston Fern

Drought resistant

Can tolerate long periods with little water.

Attractive leaves

Pot plant

Indoor plant

Other uses of Boston Fern


Grow for both indoor and outdoors.

Category 3

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