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A guide on the Boston fern runners

A Guide On The Boston Fern Runners

Boston fern runners are easy to divide and propagate especially when dug from a mature growing plant.

The Boston fern is one of the most common ferns in the Northeast United States. The Boston fern, Pteris Aquilina, is a very hardy, quick-growing plant that grows in moist soil. It is an excellent choice for shady gardens and containers.

Let’s learn how to propagate Boston fern in this article.

Propagating Boston Fern Runners

Boston fern runners grow very quickly in the spring and summer months. They can be divided and propagated in the fall and winter months as well, however they will not grow as fast as the runners planted in the spring.  It is best to divide Boston fern runners in the springtime when they are at least 4 or 5 inches tall.

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How To Divide Boston Fern Runners  – Step By Step Guide

If you have some Boston fern growing in your home, you can propagate more using the runners.

The best time to divide them is during the fall when the leaves begin to turn brown.  But don’t wait too long because you may lose some of the runners and the plants will die off.

When you are ready to divide the runners, take a look at the base of each runner.  You will see the roots coming out from the base.  Dig up the whole plant, including the roots.  Take it outside and carefully cut the roots apart with your hands or a sharp knife.

This will separate the runners.  After you have done this, you can either leave the runners in a bucket of water for a couple of days, or you can immediately replant the runners into fresh soil.  As for the ferns themselves, they can be divided in the fall when the new growth is visible.

You can use a knife or a spade to make small, shallow holes in the ground.  When you are ready to divide the fern, you simply remove the fronds from the base of the plant.  If the fronds are very large, you may want to use a knife to make a cut in the base of the frond and then gently pull the frond apart.

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Here Is A Step By Step Guide To Help You Do It!

  • Step 1: Remove the runners from the Boston ferns. You can do this either by pulling them out gently or by cutting them off.
  • Step 2: Make a small cut on the bottom of the runner.
  • Step 3: Using your fingernail, pry up the runner. If you’re not careful, you may break the runner, but that’s okay.
  • Step 4: Pull the runner up and out.
  • Step 5: Plant the runner in a pot of soil and water well. The Boston ferns will root within a few days.

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Growing Boston Fern Runners

Boston fern runners are easy to divide and grow.  With proper growing conditions, they will grow and do so well.  The perfect growing conditions include:

  • A Cool, Moist, and Shady Location in Full Sun.  If possible, give them as much light as you can.  They don’t like direct sunlight.  They should be watered regularly (at least once a week) during the spring and summer months. But don’t let it get too dry.
  • Moist and Well-draining Soil.  It is important that your soil drains well and has good air circulation.  Soil with high organic matter content is best.  A lot of organic material helps keep the soil loose and moist.  You may want to add some peat moss or other organic material to your soil when planting.  The ferns will not grow if there is too much water in the soil.   A moist but well-draining location in a spot that doesn’t get too hot or cold.
  • Proper Lighting. The ideal light is full sun in the spring and summer and semi-shaded from mid-summer through fall and winter.  You may want to bring them into the house if it gets too cold or too hot.  The ferns need to be kept cooler than 60° F and warmer than 80° F.
Growing Boston Fern Runners
  • Fertilizer.  Feeding your ferns fertilizer twice a year is recommended.  Use a slow-release fertilizer (with less than 10% nitrogen).  Apply fertilizer when the soil is moist, at least 2 weeks before the new growth appears.
  • Proper Air Circulation. Make sure that you do not allow the leaves to dry out.  During this period, keep your plants on the warm side of the room.  If you notice brown spots on your leaves, it may be time to move them outside. Keep your plants from becoming Boston fern leafless runners by providing the right growing conditions.

Final Thoughts On The Boston Fern Runners

The Boston fern runners as we have seen in this article are easy to divide and propagate providing you with more Boston fern plants. Boston fern is a beautiful type of fern that most people love to grow in their patios, balconies, indoors, and outdoors.

It is also known as ‘Boston Fern’ or ‘Boston Ivy’. The Boston fern is a member of the family of the Lycopodophyceae, which includes the club mosses, spikemosses, and quillworts. It is one of the fastest-growing ferns.


What do Boston fern runners look like?

The Boston fern runners are green in color with a brown stripe. They have a white stripe on the back and a red stripe on the front. The Boston Fern is also known as the Christmas Fern or the Winter Fern. They are found in many parts of the world. It grows best in moist, shady areas.

How to propagate Boston fern?

Boston fern is very easy to propagate from seed and should be given a sunny spot in the garden. It will germinate after about three weeks of soaking in water. When the seedlings are large enough, you can transplant them into larger pots. Boston fern can also be propagated from the runners or by dividing the original plant.

How fast do Boston ferns grow?

Boston ferns are fast-growing plants that are best suited for a warm, moist environment. They can grow to be about 3 feet tall within 4 years. If you live in an area where the climate is not ideal for growing Boston ferns, it’s a good idea to purchase them from a reputable nursery that has experience growing them in cooler climates.