Nephrolepis exaltata (Boston Fern)

Nephrolepis exaltata (Boston Fern) on 9-3-09, #31-16.

Boston Fern

Nephrolepis exaltata

nef-roh-LEP-iss  eks-all-TAY-tuh

Synonyms of Nephrolepis exaltata (4) (Updated on 1-10-23 from Plants of the World Online): Aspidium exaltatum (L.) Sw., Hypopeltis exaltata (L.) Bory, Nephrodium exaltatum (L.) R.Br., Polypodium exaltatum L.

Nephrolepis exaltata (L.) Schott is the accepted scientific name for this species of fern. The genus and species were named and described as such by Wilhelm Heinrich Schott in Genera Filicum in 1834. It was first named and described as Polypodium exaltatum by Carl von Linnaeus in Systema Naturae in 1759.

Accepted Infraspecifics (2) (Updated on 12-12-21): *Nephrolepis exaltata subsp. exaltata (autonym), Nephrolepis exaltata subsp. hawaiiensis W.H.Wagner. *When an infraspecific taxon is named, an autonym (“type-specimen”) is automatically generated whose description is closest to the (original) species. All have their own list of synonyms.

As of 1-10-23 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 28 accepted species in the Nephrolepis genus. It is “currently” a member of the plant family Polypodiaceae with 68 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made.

Since I wrote this page and have been doing updates, this fern had been listed in six different families… It is certainly not uncommon for a few websites to have different family names with all the polygenetic testing going on. I am not complaining about the testing because it is a necessary thing. BUT SIX DIFFERENT FAMILY NAMES! Some all at the same time! I know many websites do not update that often, or at all and I get behind myself. 

WHERE WAS I? OH YEAH. Nephrolepis exaltata!

Dr. Skinner bought these two ferns from Lowe’s before she passed and I kept them until I moved from Mississippi in February 2013. We had our ups and downs every year as most people do who have overwintered these plants. By the time they start looking AWESOME it is time to bring them inside for the winter. I have been told that “MOST” people don’t bring them in for the winter and just buy new ones in the spring. That is a very good idea…

Family: Polypodiaceae ???
Origin: Confused about that, too.
Zones: USDA Zones 9a-12 (20 TO 50° F) (some say 10a-11b)
Size: 24-36” fronds. Much larger in native habitat.
Light: Part-shade
Soil: Well-drained potting mix.
Water: Average water needs but the soil needs to be consistently moist.

All winter long you have to keep them sprayed because they need LOTS of humidity. Despite that, they will lose A LOT of their leaves and the dead fronds have to be kept cut out. If you don’t this plant will look like a disaster. Despite all the trouble you may experience overwintering them, they look AWESOME when they do look good. I like a nice-looking Boston Fern but they takes a lot of work…

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.


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