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Kimberly Queen Fern vs Boston Fern

These days, the fern is almost a must-have for every home, garden, or apartment. This is not surprising since the bright green zigzag bush brings a lot of energy to an ordinary landscape.

Some of the best ferns are Boston Fern and Kimberly Queen Fern.

The main difference between Boston Fern and Kimberly Queen Fern is that Boston Fern has softer leaflets and more flexible fronds, which makes it look fluffier, but it is also much messier. Kimberly Queen Fern has a sharper silhouette due to stiffer fronds, in addition, it is smaller in size and slightly darker.

Boston fern is a cultivar of Nephrolepis exaltata. It was found among other ferns that arrived at the Boston nursery and was named ‘Bostoniensis.’

Also, all plants of the species Nephrolepis exaltata are often referred to as Boston fern. But it is Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’ that we will be comparing here with Kimberly Queen Fern. Only in one chapter will I tell you about the other Nephrolepis exaltata varieties.

Kimberly Queen fern is another name for Nephrolepis obliterata. It is a species of fern common in Australia, from where it came to the United States. And now it is not yet as common as the 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
Kimberly Queen Fern vs Boston Fern

Kimberly Queen Fern and Boston Fern

The foliage is not the same

Kimberly Queen fern and Boston fern foliage have a few differences so let’s talk a little about that.

Boston Fern has dissected leaflets that are attached to fronds. The leaflets are 1-3 inches long and grow in pairs. They are soft and sag under their weight.

Kimberly Queen Fern also has dissected leaflets of the same size. But they are stiffer and do not sag. As a result, the leaves look sharp and, if I may say so, more aggressive.

Boston fern leaves’ softness makes them less durable, and they fall off faster than Kimberly Queen fern. As a result, Boston Fern is much messier than its competitor.

Another difference is the color of the leaves. Boston fern has bright green leaves, while Kimberly Queen fern is slightly darker green.

As a result, Kimberly Queen fern looks more expressive and requires less maintenance.

Boston Fern is a wider

The fronds of both of today’s ferns are usually 1.5-2 feet long. In rare cases, if the plant is growing in the garden and under ideal conditions, fronds can exceed 3 feet in length or more.

The difference is that in addition to the soft leaves, Boston fern fronds are also gentle. And as a result, they bend under the weight of the greenery. This means that this fern can be 3-4 or even almost 6 feet across. And the height is usually not more than 2 feet.

If you hang a pot of Boston fern on your porch, its stems can sag so much that you get the effect of a weeping fern.

On the other hand, Kimberly Queen fern fronds are stiff like leaves, and the plant has a completely different habitus. This fern has a more upright type of growth, and its height and width are about the same (3 feet).

The stiffness of Kimberly Queen stems is so strong that this plant will not sag even after rain or wind. This plant will always have a strict shape. The exception might be an over-fed Kimberly Queen fern.

Kimberly Queen is way more sun tolerant

Kimberly Queen Fern has a significant advantage over its competitor of being able to grow in full sun.

This plant is not afraid of sunburn and is not afraid of full shade. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need light at all; at least a few hours of diffuse or indirect sunlight is still required.

With enough light, Kimberly Queen fern grows much faster and lusher than its competitor.

Boston Fern does not tolerate direct sun at all. It will literally burn out, and you will get dry, yellowed leaves. To prevent this from happening, plant this fern in the shade. As in the previous case, Boston fern should get some indirect sun because it will be looser in total shade.

In terms of sun tolerance, Kimberly Queen Fern wins unequivocally. This plant is much more convenient to grow in the yard. But when we’re talking about growing indoors, these ferns are equal.

Kimberly Queen fern is a bit more drought tolerant

Kimberly Queen fern is better able to withstand periods of drought. This is because it is native to Australia and has adapted well to the hot, dry climate.

Still, it is not succulent and needs water to thrive. If it hasn’t rained for more than ten days, you need to water the plant. The amount of water should be 1-2 gallons, depending on the size of the plant.

The second indicator of the need for watering will be the soil. It should not dry out more than an inch.

Boston fern is different, and it is not a drought-tolerant plant. If it hasn’t rained in more than a week, be sure to irrigate the fern. The amount of water should be the same as in the previous case.

Also, Boston fern does not tolerate dry, hot air, so you must place it in a moist, shady place. The soil near the roots should not dry out more than half an inch.

Boston Fern has more cultivars

If you consider Boston fern in a broad sense, that is, as a whole species of Nephrolepis exaltata, then you have several different varieties to choose from.

First of all, Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Elegantissima’ is worth mentioning here. This cultivar has even lighter leaves and a slightly larger size. It is also more hardy than ‘Bostoniensis.’

Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Roosevelt’ comes next. It has very fluffy leaflets, which makes it very lush.

Among the compact Boston ferns, one of the best is Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Marisa.’ It’s small size and exciting foliage pattern make it a worthy alternative to ‘Bostoniensis.’

In addition to the above cultivars, there are several other Boston ferns to choose from, so you can find one to suit your taste.

On the other hand, if we consider Kimberly Queen fern as a species of Nephrolepis obliterata, we get an additional variety called Nephrolepis obliterata Emerald Queen. And it does not really differ much from Kimberly Queen.

Related questions

Do Kimberly ferns like sun or shade?

Kimberly ferns, like most ferns, prefer shade or partial shade. Direct sunlight can scorch their delicate fronds and cause the plant to dry out quickly. It is best to place them in a location with indirect or filtered light.

However, they can tolerate some morning sun or bright, indirect light. When grown indoors, they can be placed near a north-facing window or under fluorescent lighting. Overall, Kimberly ferns thrive in consistently moist and humid conditions, so be sure to keep their soil evenly moist and provide adequate humidity levels.

What is another name for Kimberly Queen Fern?

Another name for Kimberly Queen Fern is “Australian Sword Fern” (scientific name: Nephrolepis obliterata).

What is the difference between Kimberly Queen and macho ferns?

Kimberly Queen Fern (Nephrolepis obliterata) and Macho Fern (Nephrolepis biserrata ‘Macho’) are two different fern species that have a few notable differences:

  1. Appearance: Kimberly Queen Fern has smaller, more compact fronds that grow upright, while Macho Fern has larger, broader fronds that grow in a more horizontal, spreading manner.
  2. Size: Macho Ferns are larger and can grow up to 4 feet tall and wide, whereas Kimberly Queen Ferns usually grow to about 2-3 feet in height and width.
  3. Hardiness: Macho Ferns are hardy in USDA zones 9-11 and can tolerate more sun exposure than Kimberly Queen Ferns, which are hardy in zones 9-11 and prefer shade or partial shade.
  4. Care: Macho Ferns require more water and fertilizer than Kimberly Queen Ferns and can tolerate occasional flooding or boggy conditions, whereas Kimberly Queen Ferns prefer consistently moist soil but can be susceptible to root rot if overwatered.

In summary, while both Kimberly Queen Fern and Macho Fern are types of sword ferns, they have notable differences in appearance, size, hardiness, and care requirements.

Do Kimberly Queen Ferns come back every year?

Kimberly Queen Ferns are perennials, which means they can come back year after year in their suitable hardiness zones. They are hardy in USDA zones 9-11, which includes warmer regions of the United States such as the southern states and Hawaii. In these areas, Kimberly Queen Ferns can be grown as landscape plants or outdoor container plants.

However, if you live in a colder zone, you may need to bring the fern indoors during the winter or treat it as an annual and replant it each year.