I love ferns. They are incredible plants, and I have been growing them in my garden for years, but I was never able to understand why. I mean, they’re just plants. They grow wherever there’s enough sunlight and water, right? How could there be more to it than that? Until I learned about the amazing functions of ferns — including their healing properties.
I’m just a sucker for ferns. I’ve been collecting them since I was a kid. They’re just so pretty, and I love their lush greenery. I have quite a few fern plants in my house now, and am always on the lookout for new ones.
Ferns are deep green pre-historic plants that can be planted both indoors and outdoors. It has been around for over 350 million years, meaning that it was there even before other forms. As a result, ferns are one of the most sought out plants for indoor and outdoor planting. Most people only taught that it is only found in the wild, but that is not the case; it can also be planted in the house.
If you want to plant one of these types of ferns in your home, then you need to do some research first. These plants are non-flowering and have spores for reproduction. Even though there are more than 9000 species of ferns, we will discuss 21 of the most types of ferns. We will start with the outdoor types and then go to the indoor types.
- Fern Plant Care Tips
- Types Of Outdoor Ferns
- 1. The Shuttlecock Fern (Matteuccia Struthiopteris)
- 2. Autumn Fern (Dryopteris Erythrosora)
- 3. Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum)
- 4. Hart’s-Tongue Fern (Asplenium Scolope)
- 5. Deciduous Painted Japanese Fern (Athyrium Niponicum)
- 6. Carrot Fern (Onychium Japonicum)
- 7. Japanese Tassel Fern (Polystichum Polyblepharum)
- 8. Himalayan Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum Venustum)
- 9. The Alpine Wood Fern (Dryopteris Wallichiana)
- 10. Hart’s-Tongue Fern (Asplenium Scolopendrium)
- 11. Royal Fern (Osmunda Regalis)
- Types Of Indoor Ferns
- 12. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis Exaltata)
- 13. Cloverleaf Fern (Marsilea Quadrifolia)
- 14. Cretan Brake Fern (Pteris Cretica)
- 15. Delta Maidenhair Ferns (Adiantum Raddianum)
- 16. Rabbit’s Foot Fern (Phlebodium Aureum)
- 17. Horsetail Fern (Equisetum)
- 18. Asparagus Fern (Asparagus Setaceus)
- 19. Wire Fern Muehlenbeckia Axillaris
- 20. Ancient Fern (Polypodiopsida)
- 21. Austral Gem Fern (Asplenium Nidus)
Fern Plant Care Tips
Ferns thrive under constant moisture, so if you decide to grow them indoors, you should keep a humidifier near them. Make sure that you repot every 1 to 2 years to keep them green and healthy. If you are keeping a potted fern in the house, ensure that you have enough space so that they cannot be exposed to frost.
Whether outdoors or indoors, ensure that the fern is not exposed to direct sunlight. Too much light or too little can change the color of their feathery fronds.
Types Of Outdoor Ferns
Once you learn how to care for ferns, it will be easy to plant them outdoors. But, first, we are going to discuss some types of outdoor ferns that are common.
1. The Shuttlecock Fern (Matteuccia Struthiopteris)
This is one of the tallest ferns available out there; it is very catchy and has lancing fronds that can go up to five feet high. This fern grows in masses; the fronds are compact and resemble vases. They do well in shades and places that don’t have a lot of light.
You don’t have to water it frequently, and you have to pour water at its base. It can grow up to 1.5 meters tall, and if you want it to do great, you need soil that is high in humidity and moisture.
2. Autumn Fern (Dryopteris Erythrosora)
This type gets its name from its color when it’s young. When young, it has a color mix of gold and copper-red. These colors are the colors of autumn, and that is why it is called the Autumn fern. Their season of growth is spring, and they have a papery appearance.
As summer comes to an end, the color will change to deep green, and unlike other ferns, it can thrive in cold areas. It is a very famous cross plant for cultivars. It can grow to a height of 60 cm and is an evergreen plant.
3. Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum)
This fern species is made of up to 250 types and found on every continent. It is natively from woodlands and grows well in tropical gardens. They have glossy foliage that is deep green, and it blooms the most during spring, and the stalks become black and purple-red.
When it’s young, its fronds attracts by its pink and green contrast. If you are interested in planting this type, you have to know that it can only tolerate mild frost. You can easily recognize them by their short stature, and they use spores for reproduction just like others.
4. Hart’s-Tongue Fern (Asplenium Scolope)
This plant, when observed from a distance, looks like lattice or water crests. They look so because they look like crested edges. They do great in places with low light and with alkaline soil. They look great when planted alongside walkways and pavements.
To identify this type of plant, it is 30-60 cm in height, and when it is young, it has unique wavy edges. It is always green no matter the season and always very attractive; what makes this variant attractive is its frilly fronds, crinkled edges and wavy appearance. You can plant them in your garden to make it more appealing.
5. Deciduous Painted Japanese Fern (Athyrium Niponicum)
This fern stands out from other types of these plants because of its color. It stands out compared to other fans due to its whimsical flair with lacy fronds. They are known as variegated ferns because they have purple veins and silver gray-green foliage. Its fronds arch upwards and are triangular.
It is easy to identify it because it has burgundy and delicate silver fronds. Its growth is prostate since it never grows upright; it is 30-38 cm high. Its silver fronds make it very attractive hence chosen by many. If you plant this fern, ensure it has a lot of moisture to grow better.
6. Carrot Fern (Onychium Japonicum)
This is one of the fastest-growing varieties and is native to Asia and Japan. It gets its name because its leaves are carrot-shaped with dark green hues and a lace texture. This fern can tolerate drought and does well in full sun to full shade. Its stem only can grow up to 2ft, making it great for the outdoors.
They are great for under-planting and as ground cover. Then, during spring, you can pot it and make it a houseplant. It can identify it by its finer fronds and its 10-45 cm height.
For better growth, please place it in an unheated greenhouse when it’s winter.
7. Japanese Tassel Fern (Polystichum Polyblepharum)
This variety is known for its slow growth but robust growth when mature. It is evergreen with arching fronds of medium length. Its name comes from tassels that hang like fronds when they are immature, but they straighten up like arches when they grow. They are great for Japanese weeping males as complimentary ground cover. It grows from 45-60 cm tall and very easy to grow in the garden.
8. Himalayan Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum Venustum)
This one of the varieties that are evergreen, the main thing that distinguishes it from others is its triangle-shaped fronds that are broad. The segments are small and fan-shaped, and it blooms starting from late winter and the whole of spring. During winter, its color is orange, and when it is spring, the color changes to dark green.
It is a perfect fit for under-planting and shade green gardens because of its creeping habit. However, if you plan to plan this type, you should protect it from strong winds. The best way to identify it is using its evergreen leaves and a height of 22-38 cm.
9. The Alpine Wood Fern (Dryopteris Wallichiana)
This Alpine Wood fern is semi-evergreen and is native to China and India. You can notice it by its lancing fronds that sprout from an erect rhizome. It also grows like a shuttlecock with bulky tufts. During spring, the fronds turn yellow, and the midribs and stems are brown. Since it does excellent during winter, this type is perfect to be grown outside as it can tolerate the frost.
As winter goes more profound, the foliage becomes darker green, and this variant produces 60 fronds per year. It grows up to 90 cm high, so if you plant it, you should have enough space for its tall fronds. It is advised to plant them in groups in your compound.
10. Hart’s-Tongue Fern (Asplenium Scolopendrium)
Rosette-like fronds can identify this Hart’s-Tongue type. The fronds are also arched and strap-shaped with dark green hues, and the undersides have brown stripes. This fern has the most striking fronds because it has an undivided appearance. It’ll require plenty of shade, like most of these plants.
It is also very hardy, and it says lush green all year, no matter how cold with its broad fronds. To identify it, it is always green, 45-60cm in height, and its fronds are strong and glossy. If you want this type of fern in your garden, you should take time for grooming as it needs that a lot, especially during spring.
11. Royal Fern (Osmunda Regalis)
This fern is one of the enormous European ferns as it is known for easy growing. It grows to 5 ft. and two inches in width. This variant does well in acidic soils that are acidic and shady locations. They are better outdoors because they grow huge. During autumn, it changes its foliage to bronze with pale green fronds- a real attractive shade.
Types Of Indoor Ferns
These indoor varieties are loved because they look exotic and elegant. However, they are delicate to care for as each and everyone is being cared for differently. If you want an indoor option, then below are the top best indoor styles to keep.
12. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis Exaltata)
Another name for it is a Sword fern, and it is a very popular houseplant. Its care requirements are fundamental as you need well-drained soil. The light should be bright but indirect, and the area should be moist and high in humidity. Don’t use any fertilizer as this variant is very sensitive, and it will die if you use fertilizer.
Its fronds grow 3 ft. long, and the stalks are tough enough to hold leaves. Make sure you grow it in temperatures that range from -13 to 24 degrees Celsius. This fern is also not toxic to pets in case they eat it by accident. If the frond color starts to fade, add some Epsom salts. Please place it in the bathroom for high humidity.
13. Cloverleaf Fern (Marsilea Quadrifolia)
It is very widely known and grows everywhere, and it is considered a complete plant because of its structure and excellent ground cover. It has four to five leaves, and finding five leaves is seen as good luck. Make sure you have some moist soil for this one!
14. Cretan Brake Fern (Pteris Cretica)
This is a bushy fern that has sword-like leaves that are very long. Its inner color is pale green, and the edges are deep green. It is effortless to grow and thrives well in tropical climates with ample shades. It can grow up to 2.5 ft. and come in different colors and shapes. Make sure to prune it and take off any dying fronds.
15. Delta Maidenhair Ferns (Adiantum Raddianum)
The natural habitat for this Delta Maidenhair plant is the coastal regions, as it is perfect for its waxy fronds that are delicate. It has purple-black stocks and needs bright, indirect light to grow well. It produces 1.5 ft. tall and needs constant watering. Its fronds are triangular-shaped, and its pinnate leaves are small and light green.
16. Rabbit’s Foot Fern (Phlebodium Aureum)
This variant is also very popular as it is straightforward to care for it. It is excellent in baskets when you hang it from above. It has a trailing habit and a wire-like appearance. It is loved because of its exotic, bushy appearance that makes it attractive. It grows 1-2 ft. tall and has lace-like leaflets. Use a pot that can drain well, and during spring, you should always change the pot with some wet soil.
17. Horsetail Fern (Equisetum)
This is the last of the equisetum family, and it is very deadly if eaten by horses. Its stems are short-stalked and can be described as a crossover between tall grass and bamboo. It is one of the oldest ferns and can survive anywhere, especially with some soggy soil.
18. Asparagus Fern (Asparagus Setaceus)
There are three known types of asparagus fern, and this is the most common. It is compact and has needle-like leaves, but it is a skin irritant. If left unchecked, they can be very invasive hence require regular pruning. Like others, they need a bright light that is not invasive. Hang it in a basket over the window, and don’t forget to water it.
19. Wire Fern Muehlenbeckia Axillaris
This fern is very easy to identify as its leaves and stems look like a fork. However, they are not ferns in general but considered fern aliens. They have single veins, and their waxy foliage is dark green.
20. Ancient Fern (Polypodiopsida)
It is the mother of cultivars and associated with tree ferns. It is very ancient and found at the apex of the fibrous trunk. They grow directly from the rootstock and great for indoor planting. It does well in cold environments.
21. Austral Gem Fern (Asplenium Nidus)
This is an organic fern known for its deep green, large, jagged edges lancing foliage. It grows well with a lot of moisture and can be grown outside where it is damp and rainy. However, it needs low light, and that is why it is a perfect indoor plant. This plant is recognized by its brown and wavy fronds, 2 ft.
Long leaves and spear-shaped fronds. Its roots are naturally rooted in other trees to get shade and moisture. When the plant is mature, it is larger, and you will need more space. It is also great because it is not toxic to pets.
Ferns are flexible and sturdy and can be grown as houseplants, groundcover, or to beautify the outdoors. First, you have to figure out how to take care of them, and you can grow them anywhere and anytime. Ferns are the most significant survivors, and that makes them the best plant to grow.
Hi, my name’s Elena Coolidge. I’m a DIY enthusiast who loves building fun woodworking plans. These DIY plans are fun hobby projects for enthusiasts or even more advanced builders that want to build things like bunk beds, end tables or even a duck box!