Types of Ferns: Varieties of Indoors and Outdoors Fern Plants

Indoor houseplants or outdoor garden ferns are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. It is simple to grow and care for several indoor fern types. Green leaves of ferns may brighten up any area and aid to clean the air. They are a popular kind of leafy plant. In the right environment, ferns planted outside provide excellent ground cover.

The Polypodiopsida class of plants includes the fern plant, which is a kind of vascular plant. They’re also among the planet’s oldest flora. There are over 10,000 different fern species, according to certain estimates. Ferns, unlike many other plants, do not bloom. The majority of fern species have blade-like leaves (pinnae) connected to a stem and include leaves (fronds).

The majority of indoor fern plants reach a height of 1 to 2 feet (30 to 90 cm). The tallest ferns may reach up to 82 feet (25 meters) in height in the wild! You’ll learn about the differences between fern species and how to care for them in this article. You’ll also discover which ferns thrive outside and the best indoor ferns to grow.

Indoor Ferns And How to Care For Them

Indoor ferns are low-maintenance houseplants that are tough and tolerate indoors. Caring for these green leafy plants, however, has a few things to consider. House ferns need a similar environment to those that spawned in thick tropical shady woods. Fern houseplants prefer to grow in the shade, so they flourish best indoors.

They should be kept away from windows that face directly into the sun. You should keep rooms at a consistent temperature of roughly 70°F (21°C) when caring for indoor ferns. You’ll need to keep your fern moist, and you may have to mist it daily to help it flourish indoors.

Outdoor Ferns

Ferns, particularly for ground cover in shady areas, make a wonderful plant for your garden. Ferns prefer to grow in a north-facing corner of the garden or beneath bigger plants, which is the best location for them. Too much sunlight may scorch the leaves, so ferns need plenty of cover.

You’ll need to water ferns enough to thrive outside. Daily watering may be required if there is no rainfall. A thick layer of mulch around outdoor fern plants helps to create the best environment for them. This helps to keep your garden ferns alive by keeping the soil wet.

Types of Ferns With Names and Pictures

Let’s examine some of the most common ferns in more depth, focusing on their distinguishing characteristics. Indoor and outdoor fern plant cultivation is possible with some of these varieties.

Types of Indoor Ferns

Boston Fern

The Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) is a kind of fern that grows as a houseplant and is one of the most popular. One of the most popular fern houseplants is this indoor fern. The Boston Fern is a perennial evergreen plant with sword-like leaves. The fern grows to a height of between 16 and 35 inches (40 and 90 cm) in hanging baskets, with its long trailing leaves.

It’s vital to maintain humidity levels high when caring for a Boston fern indoors. This advises that you should spray the fern every day and keep the soil moist in dry weather or during winter. This fern plant thrives in indirect sunlight rather than full shade when grown indoors in a pot. Outside, Boston ferns may be found growing; however, they need complete shade and abundant moisture to thrive.

Holly Fern

The Holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum) is another fern that thrives indoors and out. The Dryopteridaceae family of ferns includes this perennial fern species. The leaves of this fern are around 1.6 feet (0.5 meters) long when mature. On each side of the stem, each leaf contains roughly ten leaflets. Green and glossy leaves can help to decorate any space with their beauty.

Most individuals find it easier to cultivate the Holly fern indoors, despite the fact that it is normally outdoors. This fern thrives in both indoor and outdoor environments, so it needs plenty of shade. Holly ferns are one of the simpler sorts of ferns to cultivate indoors, according to some fern enthusiasts.

Staghorn Ferns

Staghorn ferns (genus Platycerium) are one of the most unusual-looking ferns, and they are commonly seen growing on a piece of wood board. Staghorn ferns come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, and some resemble stag or elk horns. The antler-shaped fern leaves protrude from the rhizome with these ferns. The broad and long nature of these fern leaves distinguishes them from other ferns.

You may replicate the way these ferns grow in nature when growing them indoors. Board mounts are suitable for staghorn ferns. You can pour water over the entire board and leave it to dry before repeating the process to water them. These unusual tropical ferns grow on trees or rocks in the wild and have an interesting appearance. As a houseplant, you may grow them successfully in a pot. Staghorn ferns thrive in moist soil, as do most other types of fern. Too much moisture, on the other hand, might cause fern leaves to rot.

Royal Fern

The Royal fern (Osmunda regalis) is a large deciduous fern that is simple to maintain indoors. One of the largest deciduous ferns in Europe is called this. Each frond may be up to 16 inches (40 cm) broad and up to 24 inches (60 cm) long. The leaves may grow to be 2.5 inches (6 cm) long and contain up to 13 pairs of leaflets on the stem. This species has a “royal” look due to its large fern leaves.

The Royal fern, like most ferns, thrives in shaded areas. For the plant to thrive properly, it needs moist, acidic soil. You will need a big pot and a lot of indoor space for this plant because of its fast expanding habits. Royal ferns thrive in shaded woodlands near bogs and rivers.

Maidenhair Fern

There are several cultivars of the Maidenhair fern. The Maidenhair Fern (genus Adiantum) belongs to the Vittarioideae family of ferns in the photo. With its lovely green leaves forming long thin leaves, this is a lovely indoor plant. Little, almost oval leaves (pinnae) are found on some Maidenhair fern species. Longer leaflets are more typical of fern plants, and other types of these ferns have them.

Due to their long leaves and trailing nature, these ferns are ideal for hanging baskets. Put your Maidenhair ferns in a small pot or container if you want to grow them indoors. If possible, avoid repotting the fern, as this may lead to their death. To help the Maidenhair fern thrive as a houseplant, keep it away from sunlight and drafts.

Rabbit’s Foot Fern

The Rabbit’s Foot fern (botanical name: Davallia fenjeensis) is another easy-to-care-for fern that can be grown as a hanging Fern. Indoors, this wiry fern becomes a wonderful houseplant and is quite robust. Rabbit’s Foot fern is commonly grown in shallow hanging pots by many people.

The rhizomes of the fern grow long and hang down from the pot, giving it a trailing nature. The fern has a wild, bushy appearance due to its triangular leaves (fronds). The hairy trailing rhizomes are one of the fern’s distinguishing characteristics, and it is how it got its name.

The fuzzy rhizomes give the appearance of rabbit’s feet up close. One of the distinguishing characteristics of this indoor fern plant is its uniqueness and beauty. Since they can rot, the rhizomes should not be buried in the soil. These ferns need high humidity, despite the fact that they are among the easiest to care for. As a result, you’ll need to spray them with mist every day to promote good development.

Lemon Button Fern

The Lemon Button fern (Nephrolepis cordifolia) is a small indoor fern plant that can be grown outdoors as well. This houseplant thrives in shaded areas away from direct sunlight. They’re a Boston fern family member with a smaller variation. The long fern leaves are one of the distinguishing characteristics of ‘lemon buttons. This fern is also known as the ‘Sword fern,’ Ladder fern, or ‘Narrow Sword fern’ because of its sword-like leaves with little leaflets.

Tables, countertops, and sideboards are all good places to grow ferns. Unlike many other ferns, the long straight leaves grow upright, not trailing. Lemon Button ferns should be kept out of the direct light, as with most indoor fern plants. They must be kept moist and high in humidity to survive. These are little indoor ferns that reach a height of only 12 inches (30 cm). A compact Lemon Button fern may provide lovely foliage outside if you have a tiny rock garden in the shade.

Blue Star Fern

The Blue Star fern (Phlebodium aureum) is an excellent option if you’re looking for an indoor fern variety that’s simple to cultivate. This is a popular fern for beginners and enthusiasts alike because of its unique appearance and relative ease of care. This indoor fern species thrives with frequent misting and is well adapted to dry environments. It has blue-green leaves that look a bit like staghorn ferns. Blue Star fern leaves, on the other hand, develop at the end of fingerlike fronds, unlike its cousins.

The small size of this house fern is one of the reasons why it is so popular. The fern reaches a medium spread in containers and seldom grows much taller than 12 inches (30 cm). You should ensure that the soil is just moist, but not overly wet, while caring for this sort of fern houseplant.

Cretan Brake Fern

Several species of the Cretan Brake fern exist. The Cretan Brake fern (Pteris cretica) is one of the most attractive indoor ferns in pictures. The sword-shaped leaves of this bushy fern are in two tones of green. This is one of the most simple ferns to maintain, according to the list of easy-to-care-for ferns. Among ferns, the leaves have an intriguing form. Long fronds have leaves that look like palm leaves at the ends. A thin green stripe runs down the center of each leaf, with deep green edges.

One of the medium to bigger house ferns is the Cretan Star indoor fern. The plant may grow to be 2.5 feet (75 cm) tall and spread 2 feet (60 cm) under the correct circumstances. This fern plant may also be grown outside; however, since it is a tropical variety of fern, you must reside in warm areas to cultivate it in the shade of your yard.

Types of Outdoor Ferns

There are numerous fern types that you may cultivate in your garden, depending on the climate. Throughout the winter, several evergreen fern types provide stunning foliage. Some outdoor ferns, in particular, have a trailing nature that makes them ideal for ground covers. Of course, with the right fern care, some of the aforementioned fern plants may be grown outside as well.

Ostrich Fern

For your garden, Ostrich ferns (genus Matteuccia) are one of the tallest types of outdoor fern. These ferns can grow up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall, making them among the world’s tallest plants. The ostrich-like leaves give these ferns their name. Shuttlecock fern and Fiddlehead fern are two other descriptive names for this fern.

The top of the leaves on this clumping fern is broader, while the bottom is progressively narrower. The fronds may grow up to 14″ (35 cm) broad at their broadst point. In temperate areas, ostrich ferns thrive. Over exposure to bright light, like that experienced by most ferns, is harmful. They need to develop in the humidity of moist soil while being shielded from the wind and hail.

Japanese Painted Fern

Several cultivars of the Japanese Painted fern exist. The Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum) is one of the most gorgeous ferns available, and it may be seen in this photograph. This is a good ground cover in the shade, as it is deciduous and has a creeping nature. The blue-green or silvery pinnae (leaflets) are connected to red or purple stems, and their color distinguishes them. This genus contains a variety of cultivars with distinct leaf shapes and colors.

Japanese Painted ferns are very coveted due to their toughness, in addition to their lovely color. They are a fern plant that can tolerate temperatures as low as -30°F (-34°C) and is relatively cold hardy. The Japanese Painted fern, like other outdoor ferns, requires plenty of shade.

Australian Tree Fern

The Australian Tree fern comes in a variety of species. The Australian Tree fern is a kind of tree and not a bushy garden plant, as the other ferns on this list are. The Rough Tree fern (Alsophila australis), the Lacy Tree fern (Sphaeropteris cooperi), and the Soft Tree fern (Dicksonia antarctica) are just a few of the species of these tree ferns.

A 15 to 50-foot-tall (4.5 to 15 m) Australian tree fern is possible. These tree ferns have a thick trunk that produces large fronds at the top and look like palm trees in some ways. Some fronds may grow to be up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) long and spread out to create a 19-foot (6-meter) diameter canopy. Make sure that the soil gets enough water if you put one of these huge tree ferns in your yard. These, on the other hand, thrive in both full sun and shade, unlike other fern species.

Asparagus Fern

When cultivated outside, the Asparagus fern (Asparagus aethiopicus) may become invasive. Rock or decorative gardens, as well as outdoor hanging baskets, are ideal for this fuzzy-looking fern. Asparagus ferns may be short or tall growing, depending on the cultivar. The little pinnae have little spines that may cause skin irritation, despite how delicate and hairy they appear. Because the fern is invasive, regular pruning is required to keep it under control.

Little red berries that this fern may occasionally produce are one of the appealing characteristics. The light, lime-green leaves contrast sharply with them. While you might grow Asparagus ferns as an indoor plant, they require a lot of attention. If they are in containers or hanging baskets, however, you may need to bring them indoors during the winter depending on your climate.

Bird’s Nest Fern

The Bird’s Nest fern (Asplenium nidus) belongs to the Polypodiales order of ferns, which has a lovely appearance in any garden. Ferns of this sort may be found on trees, rocks, and soil. The center of the fern looks like a bird’s nest, which is why it’s called that. The leathery leaves (fronds) of this outdoor fern variety appear to be banana leaves. The large leaves, which may be up to 8 inches (20 cm) broad and up to 20 inches (50 cm) long, may grow.

The Bird’s Nest fern is a suitable decorative fern for rock gardens because of its small stature. All you have to do is ensure that it develops in the shade and is watered. The fronds of this fern will acquire a wrinkled appearance in the sun, which is an interesting attribute.

Cinnamon Fern

The Cinnamon fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum) thrives in damp conditions. The fronds of this fern are broad, with long pinnae, and it comes in a variety of shapes. The fronds have a triangular shape because they are wider at the base and taper to the tip. Cinnamon ferns may grow to be between 1 and 5 feet (30 and 150 cm) tall, with a width of 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm). These ferns need plenty of water to thrive outside, and they prefer to grow near streams and ponds.

The cinnamon-colored spores that develop on the fronds are what give the fern its name. These create a green to light brown color change throughout the fern’s middle.

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