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The Difference Between Kimberly Queen Fern and Boston Fern

In the heart of Edmonton, where the winters can be long and bitterly cold, the allure of a lush, green indoor oasis offers a respite from the snow-covered landscapes outside. Greenhouses and indoor gardens become our sanctuary, a place where we can immerse ourselves in the beauty of nature despite the freezing temperatures. Among the diverse array of plants that can thrive indoors, ferns have always held a special place. Their lush, feathery fronds can transform any space into a tropical haven. Today, we’ll delve into the subtle differences between two popular fern varieties: the Kimberly Queen fern and the Boston fern, guiding you in selecting the perfect fit for your Edmonton home or office.

Both the Kimberly Queen fern (Nephrolepis obliterata) and the Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’) are popular houseplants and are well-loved for their lush, feathery fronds. Despite their similarities, there are distinct differences between the two. Here are the key differences:


  • Boston Ferns: They have delicate, arching fronds with small, finely divided leaflets. These fronds tend to droop downwards, creating a graceful and cascading effect.
  • Kimberly Queen Ferns: These ferns have more upright, straight fronds. The fronds are slightly broader and less finely divided compared to Boston ferns.


Tolerance to Environmental Conditions:

  • Boston Ferns: They are a bit finicky about their environmental conditions. They prefer high humidity and can react negatively (browning or dropping fronds) if the air is too dry.
  • Kimberly Queen Ferns: They are more tolerant of varying conditions. This makes them a bit more resilient to lower humidity levels than Boston ferns and they can handle more direct sunlight, though they should still be protected from the harsh afternoon sun.



  • Boston Ferns: Require regular watering and misting to maintain the humidity around them. They can be more challenging to care for, especially in indoor environments with dry air, such as those with central heating or air conditioning.
  • Kimberly Queen Ferns: They are generally easier to care for due to their more tolerant nature. They can go slightly longer periods between waterings compared to Boston ferns.


Air Purifying Qualities:

  • Both ferns are often cited as good air purifiers, but the Boston fern is more frequently mentioned in lists of top air-purifying plants. However, the differences in their purification capabilities are not extremely significant for most home growers.



  • Boston Ferns: Despite its name, the Boston fern is not native to Boston. The ‘Bostoniensis’ variety became popular in Boston in the late 19th century, which is how it got its name. The species, Nephrolepis exaltata, is native to tropical regions.
  • Kimberly Queen Ferns: This fern is believed to have originated in Australia.


Growth Habit:

  • Boston Ferns: They can grow quite large if given the right conditions, with fronds reaching several feet in length.
  • Kimberly Queen Ferns: Typically more compact in their growth habit, making them a bit more manageable for small spaces.


In summary, while both ferns have their unique characteristics and beauty, your choice between them might depend on your specific care capabilities and the environment you can provide. If you’re looking for something more forgiving and resilient, especially in an environment with occasional dry air, the Kimberly Queen fern might be a better choice. On the other hand, if you’re after the classic, cascading look and are prepared to provide consistent humidity, the Boston fern could be the right fit.

Choosing the right fern for your indoor space in Edmonton is more than just a matter of aesthetics; it’s about understanding the nuances of care and the environment you can provide. Whether you lean towards the delicate, cascading beauty of the Boston fern or the resilient, upright nature of the Kimberly Queen, both are worthy additions to any indoor garden. Remember, in our chilly Alberta climate, these indoor plants not only add a touch of green to our living spaces but also serve as natural air purifiers, enhancing our overall well-being. As you visit our greenhouse, let the serene beauty of ferns whisk you away to a tropical paradise, even if just for a moment. We’re here to help you make that dreamy escape a reality.

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