About Fern Houseplants
Fern houseplants are prized for their unique, delicate, textured foliage and air-purifying properties. They are also easy-care and low-maintenance, making them ideal houseplants for beginners.
Ferns are characterized by their feathery leaves (fronds) and lack of seeds, instead relying on spores to produce new plants.
Ferns, one of the largest groups of vascular plants (tracheophytes), belong to the botanical division or phylum Polypodiophyta in the Aspleniaceae family.
The phylum Polypodiophyta is divided into several classes, including Polypodiopsida (the true ferns), Psilotopsida (the whisk ferns), and Marattiopsida (the marattialean ferns). With over 12,000 species, ferns are one of the most diverse groups of vascular plants.
Most ferns are herbaceous vascular plants (tracheophytes). This means they grow in soil and have true leaves, roots, and stems. They reproduce by dropping spores.
Other types of ferns, like the staghorn fern, are epiphytes. This means they attach to other surfaces, like tree bark, to grow. They get their nutrients from the air, rain, and debris accumulation around the plant.
Ferns are diverse plants native to different regions worldwide, from tropical rainforests to temperate woodlands. Some species of ferns are native to specific areas, while others have a more widespread distribution.
Some common fern types grown as houseplants are native to tropical regions of South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia. In contrast, others are native to temperate areas of North America, Europe, and Asia. The specific native habitats of fern houseplants can vary greatly depending on the species. Some species are grown as houseplants even though they are not native to any particular region.
Fern houseplants are known for their distinctive appearance, which includes the following characteristics:
Ferns have long, delicate green fronds in various shapes and sizes, ranging from finely divided and feathery to broad and lush. The fronds may be simple or compound or lobed, divided, or undivided.
Many ferns have underground root systems called rhizomes, which store food and produce new fronds.
They can grow as single specimens or colonies, and their growth habit can be clumping or spreading, depending on the species.
Types Of Ferns
Some types of fern houseplants include:
Nephrolepis exaltata (Boston Fern)
Asplenium nidus (Bird's Nest Fern)
Adiantum raddianum (Maidenhair Fern)
Polypodium aureum (Golden Polypody)
Davallia fejeensis (Rabbit's Foot Fern)
Platycerium bifurcatum (Staghorn Fern)
Phlebodium aureum (Blue Star Fern)
Selaginella kraussiana (Rose Spikemoss)
Pteris cretica (Ribbon Fern)
Microsorum pteropus (Rattlesnake Fern)
Nephrolepis cordifolia "Duffii" (Lemon Button Fern)
Microsorum musifolium (“Crocydyllus” Crocodile Fern)
Microsorum diversifolium (Kangaroo Paw Fern)
Polystichum munitum (Sword Fern)
Pellaea rotundifolia (Button Fern)
Cyrtomium falcatum (Holly Fern)
Athyrium niponicum (Japanese Painted Fern)
Cheilanthes (Lip Fern)
Asparagus setaceus (Asparagus Fern)
Fern houseplants can be styled in many ways to suit your preferences. Here are a few popular ways to style fern houseplants:
Ferns with delicate fronds, such as the Boston fern or maidenhair fern, look beautiful when grown in hanging baskets. The fronds trail down the sides of the basket, creating a lush, tropical look.
Some ferns, such as staghorn ferns, can be grown attached to pieces of wood or bark, mimicking the plants' natural growing environment. This is a unique and eye-catching way to display ferns.
Ferns can also be grown in a closed terrarium, where they can thrive in a controlled environment with high humidity. This option is great for species that prefer a moist environment, such as the bird's nest fern.
Ferns can be planted in a large planter with other plants, such as succulents or flowering plants, to create a lush, tropical look. Ferns with different growth habits, such as the sword fern and button fern, can be used together to create an interesting, layered look.