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How To Care For Boston Ferns

How To Care For Boston Ferns

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Trying not to *unalive* your new hanging Boston Ferns outside? Read these top tips on how to care for Boston ferns and keep your porch plants thriving…

boston ferns care outdoor pin

This past Mother’s Day, I finally convinced my husband that my dream of owning hanging Boston ferns was a good idea.

I’ve wanted them for forever, but Chris has always been big on buying actual flowers instead of plants.

Since installing them on the porch, he has this ritual of driving past the front of our house twice just to see them hanging there.

He finally understands. 😉

Between the green grass he loving tends to and the Boston ferns hanging up by our rocking chairs – our front porch looks so cozy now!

hanging boston ferns care_4849

For safety reasons, I will not be showing the front of our house. Thanks for understanding!

*This post contains affiliate links, however, all opinions are my own, as always.

How To Hang Boston Ferns On Your Porch

You’ll need:

Chris drilled some holes in the wood beam on our front porch and used closed-eye hooks.

Our reasoning for using these was so that no matter how hard the wind blows, the hook holding the hanging basket is a full circle, which means there’s much less of a chance of a basket getting knocked down. Sometimes we get 40-50 mph winds.

We found our Boston ferns at Walmart for about $16 per fern (the larger ferns were double the price and didn’t look as healthy), and I was happy to find them there!

I think perhaps next year we might go bigger with our ferns for a fuller look, but for our first year and the selection we found, I love them.

I also found these Boston ferns on Amazon with great ratings in a 2-pack bundle.

How To Water and Care For Boston Ferns

I don’t know what it is about hanging ferns, but they’re so beautiful to me.

Lush, green, full of life.

Turns out they’re pretty easy to kill, too…

I’ve been researching different ways to care for them and water them.

With my recent diagnosis of POTS, I struggle with holding things like a water hose above my head for long (or even short, if we’re being honest) periods of time.

I discovered this bucket method of soaking your plants that I am so excited to share.

We can quickly remove the fern from its eye hook and dunk it in water!

I also recently consulted my Instagram fam on the best care tips for hanging Boston Ferns outside, and the best tip I received was to give our new ferns magnesium.

Found in Epsom salt, you can easily give your Boston ferns a magnesium boost.

epsom salt and bucket for hanging boston ferns

We picked up our Epsom salt from Walmart while we were there, but you can grab yours here as well.

Just make sure you don’t have additives like fragrance, lavender, etc.

According to Balcony Garden Web, “Epsom salt contains 10 percent Magnesium and 13 percent Sulfur, application of it can increase both. And, we know they are the second most important essential nutrients after Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. They help in chlorophyll production, healthy plant growth, and resistance against diseases and pest[s]. Both of them are required if you want to grow Lush and Green Ferns.”

You’ll also need a big bucket – this one is one of my husband’s that he used for the ice fishing season I found in our garage.

epsom salt for hanging boston ferns

First, fill up your bucket with plain water near where your hanging Boston ferns are residing.

Trust me, you won’t want to try to lift a heavy bucket full of water around the yard!

If you don’t have a hose at the ready and you have some tiny helpers in tow, you can also make this game by filling up plastic cups of water at the sink and pouring them into the bucket on a hot day. It will tire them out and give them the sense that they are helping!

Add in 3-5 tbsp. of Epsom salt to your large bucket of water and stir.

I used an old stick I found in the yard – you don’t have to get fancy.

hanging boston ferns care

Carefully dip your Boston fern into the bucket of Epsom salt water.

Push the plant down into the water until you hear the bubbles stop.

I used the handle end of a lint roller for this task because my daughter ran outside with it, but there are better options you can use, like a stick from the yard ;).

Be sure not to push the plant down with your hands as wasps are known to live in ferns and you might get stung.

This helps ensure the soil is fully saturated and your fern will not continue to try to float above the water.

soaking hanging boston ferns in bucket care

You can let this sit for an afternoon or overnight.

With my ferns, I started in the morning and rotated my four ferns, once every 3-4 hours or so as I remembered.

If you have multiple hanging Boston ferns outside, you might follow this rotation:

-Before breakfast


-After lunch

-Before dinner

Before bed, take the last fern and hang it back up.

You can also run an experiment on the last fern and let it soak in the Epsom salt water overnight to see how it does in comparison to the other ferns!

You can also fill up four buckets at once and have them all soak overnight – it’s up to you and what you have on hand or are willing to grab from the store.

hanging boston ferns care

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Using this bucket method, I water my ferns once a week and they are thriving.

In hotter climates, you may find yourself needing to water your ferns around the 3-4 day mark.

How To Keep Birds From Nesting In Boston Ferns

One thing I’ve noticed since hanging up our Boston ferns is that they seem to attract a lot of birds!

Birds are either trying to fly in the plant to make a nest or they are stealing pieces to bring home to their nest.

To keep birds away, you can use something shiny in your planter pot to deter the birds from coming near your ferns.

You can buy bird deterrents like this or use aluminum foil – these shiny objects reflect the light from the sun and prevent the birds from landing or coming near your ferns

Do you own Boston ferns? Let me know in the comments below!

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