Fern lovers have probably heard about the Boston fern, a popular variety of fern that adorns indoor and outdoor spaces alike.
Dallas ferns are a more compact version of the Boston fern.
The Dallas variety is quickly becoming a favorite among plant owners because of its restrained size, durability, and beautiful green foliage.
The smaller size of the Dallas fern makes it easy to grow indoors, and the plant is quite adaptable, too.
In this guide, we will see how the two ferns compare in terms of maintenance and appearance.
What Is Dallas Fern?
Growing steadily popular, the Dallas fern is the perfect little plant that anyone can care for.
All it needs is medium, indirect light, moist soil, and humidity.
The size of the fern is ideal because you can place it anywhere in the house, either as a mantelpiece, on a window sill or as a companion plant with other plants in your garden.
The bright green leaves will definitely add a pop of color to your surroundings.
Dallas ferns prefer three to five hours of medium but indirect sunlight during the day.
It needs to be planted in moist and well-drained soil.
This plant can survive winter in zones 10 to 11.
When mature, this plant can grow up to 24 inches in height and 24 inches in width.
What Is Boston Fern?
Boston ferns have been used as an accent plant indoors and outdoors for decades now.
The lush foliage of the fern can be maintained quite easily.
High humidity and moisture suit this plant well and will result in exquisite green foliage.
The usual height of a Boston fern is one to three feet and 2-3 feet wide when mature.
The older the fern gets, the more gracefully its leaves arch.
A hanging basket or container is ideal for planting the fern.
It requires high humidity to thrive, which is why it is suggested that the container should be placed on a tray of wet pebbles.
Constant misting also helps to keep the surroundings humid.
If its humidity requirements are not met, the fern will begin dropping its leaflets gradually.
Additionally, the soil needs to be moist at all times too.
Dry and grainy soil can dry out the plant.
From spring until fall, every month, fertilize the potted ferns with a formula suitable for houseplants at half its strength.
Now, let's look at the differences between these two fern varieties.
Dallas Fern vs. Boston Fern - The Differences
Both the Dallas and Boston fern are similar to each other, except for minimal and negligible differences.
Here are some ways in which the two plants differ:
Dallas ferns are shorter than Boston ferns.
Dallas ferns grow up to a height and width of 24 inches.
At the same time, the Boston fern can grow up to 1-3 feet in height and 2-3 feet in width.
The Dallas fern has shorter and slightly thicker fronds than the Boston fern.
The leaves of the Boston fern are springier than that of its cousin.
While both plants require sufficient humidity to thrive, the Dallas fern needs less of it.
Regular misting, which is once every two days, is more than enough for this variety.
Dallas Fern vs. Boston Fern - The Similarities
The two ferns are pretty similar in terms of care requirements and appearance.
Both the Dallas and Boston ferns prefer medium but indirect light.
Bright light can burn the foliage.
Low light conditions are ideal for these ferns, so they would do well in places with no direct, strong sunlight.
Heavy to medium watering is necessary for the ferns.
This is because dry soil can cause the fern’s foliage to turn crisp.
To maintain the lush, dark green leaves, the soil must be moist at all times.
Every month, from spring until fall, using a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer is suitable for the ferns.
Do not continue fertilizing during the fall and winter months, though.
It will help grow your plant at a steady rate.
In the following section, let's have a look at the FAQs related to these two ferns.
Dallas ferns are easy to grow and require low maintenance.
Low to moderate lighting, well-drained and moist soil, low humidity, and monthly fertilizing during spring and summer is all that this fern needs to thrive.
If these conditions are not met, the green leaves start turning brown and falling off.
When you see this happening, it means the fern needs more care.
The best ferns in terms of popularity and ease of growing are the Boston fern, Lemon Button fern, Holly fern, Bird’s Nest fern, Rabbit’s foot fern, and Staghorn fern.
One of the hardiest ferns is the Fancy fern, while the most common fern out there is Common-lady fern.
The best fern is the one that is most suited to your needs.
They differ in terms of appearance, and care needs, and some can solely be grown indoors or outdoors.
Macho fern is a close relative of the Boston fern.
However, the Macho fern is much larger than the Boston variety.
The Macho fern grows up to six feet in height.
Its fronds arch elegantly when they are mature.
The maintenance needs of both these ferns are similar.
It is best to specifically look up how to care for a Macho fern if you plan to grow one.
Yes. While some ferns enjoy moist soil and humid conditions, they should never be allowed to sit in water.
Overwatering causes the leaves to turn yellow, wilt, and fall off.
On the other hand, watering too little causes wilt, too.
Indoor ferns need to be watered only every ten days, while outdoor ferns need to be watered weekly.
A fern that is planted in clay soil can be watered once every two weeks.
Mixing a couple of tablespoons of Epsom salt with a gallon of water and spraying it on the ferns once in a while can help during their growing period.
It is said that Epsom salt helps the plant’s foliage turn into a rich green shade.
To avoid burns on the leaves, rinse the plant with plain water after spraying the salt solution.
Also, be careful not to overdo spraying the salt solution on the plant.