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Kimberly Queen Fern vs Boston Fern: 6 Major Differences

Hello everyone! In today’s post, I’m excited to share with you a comparison between two highly favored ferns. My aim is to assist you in choosing the one that’s perfect for you.

The primary difference between Kimberly Queen Fern and Boston Fern lies in their appearance and growth habits. Kimberly Queen Fern, known for its upright, straight fronds, is more compact and less likely to shed leaves, making it ideal for indoor environments.

In contrast, Boston Fern features arching, fluffy fronds that create a more sprawling and lush appearance. It’s well-suited for hanging baskets due to its drooping fronds.

Both ferns thrive in similar conditions, requiring indirect light and consistent moisture, but the Kimberly Queen is generally more tolerant of dry conditions and less demanding in terms of humidity, making it easier to care for indoors.

Kimberly Queen Fern vs Boston Fern

Kimberly Queen Fern and Boston Fern

Kimberly Queen Fern Boston Fern
USDA Hardiness zone 9-11 9-11
Mature height 3′ (0.9 m) 2′ (0.6 m)
Mature width 3′ (0.9 m) 4′ (1.2 m)
Growth rate fast fast
Light exposure partial shade, full sun partial shade, shade
Soil moist, drained moist, drained
Soil pH 6.0-6.5 6.0-6.5
Watering One time per ten days in a drought One time per week in a drought
Diseases fungus fungus
Pests insects insects


The Boston Fern features finely cut leaflets on its fronds, each leaflet being 1-3 inches long and growing in symmetrical pairs. These leaflets are delicate and tend to droop due to their weight, giving a softer appearance.

In contrast, the Kimberly Queen Fern boasts similarly sized leaflets, but they’re more rigid, avoiding the drooping effect. This firmness lends the leaves a more defined, somewhat sharper look.

A notable aspect of the Boston Fern is its less durable leaves, which are prone to shedding more quickly than those of the Kimberly Queen Fern, leading to a bit more mess.

Additionally, there’s a slight difference in coloration. The Boston Fern sports a vibrant green, whereas the Kimberly Queen Fern has a deeper green hue.

Overall, the Kimberly Queen Fern stands out for its striking appearance and lower maintenance needs.


Both ferns we’re discussing today typically have fronds that are about 1.5 to 2 feet long. However, in optimal garden conditions, they can grow even longer, sometimes exceeding 3 feet.

The Boston Fern, known for its soft leaves, also has delicate fronds. Due to this, they tend to bend under their own weight, giving the plant a more cascading appearance. This fern usually grows up to 2 feet in height but can spread 3 to 4 feet wide.

When a Boston Fern is hung in a pot, perhaps on a porch, its stems may droop significantly, creating a “weeping” fern effect.

In contrast, the Kimberly Queen Fern features rigid fronds, much like its leaves. It grows in a more vertical fashion, with both its height and width reaching around 3 feet. The robustness of its stems ensures that the plant maintains its structured shape, unaffected by rain or wind. This fern always presents a tidy, upright form.

Sun tolerance

The Kimberly Queen Fern holds a notable advantage in its ability to thrive in full sun. Remarkably resilient, it doesn’t suffer from sunburn and is equally tolerant of full shade. When provided with ample light, the Kimberly Queen Fern grows faster and fuller compared to its counterpart.

On the other hand, the Boston Fern is quite sensitive to direct sunlight. Exposure to strong sun can cause its leaves to dry out and turn yellow. To avoid this, it’s best to place this fern in a shaded area, though some indirect sunlight is beneficial to prevent the plant from becoming too sparse.

In terms of sun tolerance, the Kimberly Queen Fern clearly outperforms, making it a more versatile choice for outdoor gardening. However, when it comes to indoor cultivation, both ferns are on equal footing, thriving well under similar light conditions.

Drought tolerance

The Kimberly Queen Fern is more adept at enduring dry conditions, a trait attributed to its Australian origin where it has adapted to hot and arid climates.

In contrast, the Boston Fern is not drought-resistant. It requires regular watering, especially if there has been no rainfall for over a week.

Additionally, the Boston Fern is sensitive to dry, warm air. To ensure its health, it should be situated in a humid, shaded spot. It’s crucial to keep the soil around its roots consistently moist, not allowing it to dry out more than an inch deep.


The Boston Fern is a variety of Nephrolepis exaltata, identified uniquely amongst other ferns that arrived at a nursery in Boston, hence earning the name ‘Bostoniensis.’

On the other hand, the Kimberly Queen Fern is also known as Nephrolepis obliterata, a species native to Australia. This fern made its way to the United States from its Australian origins. As of now, it’s not as widespread in popularity as the Boston Fern.


When looking at the Boston Fern more broadly, as part of the Nephrolepis exaltata species, you’ll find a range of varieties to choose from.

A notable variety is Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Elegantissima’, characterized by its lighter leaves and slightly larger size. This cultivar is also more resilient than the ‘Bostoniensis.’

Next is Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Roosevelt’, distinguished by its very fluffy leaflets, which give it a particularly lush appearance.

For those seeking a compact option, Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Marisa’ is an excellent choice. Its small size and unique foliage pattern make it an appealing alternative to ‘Bostoniensis.’

Besides these, there are several other Boston Fern cultivars available, offering a variety of options to suit different preferences.

In contrast, if we consider the Kimberly Queen Fern as part of Nephrolepis obliterata, there is an additional variety known as Nephrolepis obliterata ‘Emerald Queen.’ However, this variety doesn’t significantly differ from the Kimberly Queen.


Thursday 16th of May 2024

Very informative. Thank you