Ferns are a lovely addition to any indoor garden. They brighten rooms with color and lush foliage and are very effective air purifiers. Many ferns are easy enough to grow indoors, however, some ferns are easier to grow than others. What qualities plant these particular ferns on the easiest to grow list? Watering amounts, light needs, pest issues, and overall tolerance to the occasional human error. Here’s a list of some of the simplest ferns to grow indoors that will add beauty and health to your home.
Boston ferns– one of the most popular-and attractive-ferns to grow in the home, the Boston Fern is also simple to care for. Along with being attractive, these ferns are also one of the mots effective plants to purify the air in your home. Like many ferns, Boston’s prefer a cool spot with relatively high humidity in order to flourish. With a little care and attention, Boston ferns will be a welcome addition to your home for many years.
Bird’s nest– Bird’s nest ferns have uncut fronds that shoot out and unfurl from a cradle, or “nest” like center. These ferns prefer a spot in your home with indirect sunlight and they like evenly moist soil. When watering, take care not to water the very center of the plant as water can collect in that area and lead to rot.
Button Ferns-Button ferns need a little more attention as they establish themselves in a new place. Once settled, button ferns are fairly low-maintenance. These ferns grow fast but do not usually grow past the need for a 6-8 inch pot. These plants respond well to trimming when they start to thin out too much. Finding the right moisture level is the trickiest part of successfully growing this fern. Keep an eye on the fern’s fronds. If the fronds are green, the moisture level is on point.
Silver brake– Silver brake ferns have attractive silvery white stripes on their fronds making them a nice addition to your house plant collection to add some variance of color. To care for these ferns, trim old, wilting or dying fronds so that new, unfurling ones have room to stretch out. Keep these ferns thoroughly moist at all times as their roots cannot handle dryness. This being said, take care not to over water. Bright indirect sunlight year round is best for the silver brake fern and mist daily to uphold moisture in the plant.
Kangaroo paw– Kangaroo ferns are named such for their large paw shaped fronds. These ferns do well in pots or hanging baskets with moss-based, well-draining soil indoors. They prefer filtered light and should be kept away from direct sunlight. Remove dead fronds and fertilize once a month.
Blue star fern– Blue Star Ferns hail from South American tropical forests and have interestingly shaped and colored fronds. Their blue-green fronds are attractive and lend an interesting color variation. Blue star’s like shady areas and need little water. Water once a week. Unlike some other ferns, blue star fronds should not be directly misted.
Holly fern or Korean Rock fern-A great choice for an indoor container, these showy ferns have dark stems that really make their long fronds stand out. Rock ferns are easy to grow. They grow at a medium rate and can live for up to 15 years. Rock ferns prefer moist and well-drained soil. Some parts of this plant are toxic to humans and animals so be sure to take care when planting around children or pets.
Lemon button fern-The lemon button fern is a member of the Boston fern family. It is a small fern with a yellowish golden color that releases a lemony scent when handled. The leaves of this fern are round and tiny with serrated edges. These plants are great for the beginner indoor gardener. When purchasing one of these ferns be sure to distinguish it from a button fern which have glossier leaves and differ greatly in care and maintenance.
Autumn fern– A perennial plant and evergreen fern requiring low-maintenance, the autumn fern makes a nice addition to your home if you are looking to incorporate some colorful foliage. Its scientific name is Dryopteris erythrosora and it is also referred to as the pink shield fern because of the reddish tint its fronds develop. Autumn ferns usually grow to around 2 feet high and about 18” in width. Soil should be kept evenly moist, leaves may be misted to help with early growth. These ferns need full shade as their leaves can become scorched in even a few hours of sunlight.
Kimberly Queen Fern– This fern is one that does well in sun if it is watered regularly. If you hang it in the shed it requires very little watering. These plants are great in hanging pots near doorways or entryways The Kimberly queen does not really need to be fertilized, but fronds that begin to turn pale green signal that the plant would do well with a bit of fertilizer.
Macho Fern– Another fern that can tolerate sun if well-watered, the macho fern is true to its namesake with its ability to grow to be as tall as 4 feet and 5-6 feet wide. The macho fern prefers and evenly moist well-drained soil and loves a hot and humid environment.
Compact Sprenger Asparagus Fern– A perfect fern for those just getting started with indoor gardening and ferns, This is great plant for hanging baskets. The Sprenger fern does very well in consistently moist, well-drained soil, the same as most of the ferns discussed here. These ferns do with a regular watering schedule and can then be watered heavily and less often once they are established. This is another fern that does tolerate light, preferring partial to full sun.
Elkhorn Fern- This fern is also referred to as a cobra fern. It is a tropical fern and is very easy to grow. Their showy fronds can reach up to 3 feet in length. These ferns prefer bright light, but partial shade is also tolerated. Be sure to watch for browning fronds as this signals the sun may be too direct and the fern is scorching. Allow the Elkhorn fern to dry out in between watering. These ferns grow rapidly once established.
Crocodile Fern– Another exotic looking fern, the crocodile is a South African fern whose fronds resemble the skin of a crocodile. These plants love extra humidity due to their native habitat, so the bathroom is a perfect spot for these. Crocodile ferns love bright, indirect sun and regular watering. It’s forgiveness with skipped watering lands this fern on our easy to grow list as it will still thrive in periods of drought, especially in colder months.
White Rabbit’s Foot Fern- The Rabbit’s foot fern is most often found in hanging baskets in retail markets. It’s “feet” are covered in rhizomes, which resembles fur, thus its name. Hanging pots reveal the “furry” feet of this fern-be sure never to bury these under the soil as they will rot. One of the most important things to pay attention to with this fern is to ensure that it does not sit in water for any length of time or it will rot. Make sure to let the soil slightly dry out in between waterings. Rabbit’s foot ferns like a spot that gets bright, indirect light such as an eastern exposure window. These ferns do enjoy a daily misting to keep their rhizomes from becoming too dry. Misting also helps the fronds from drying out as the rabbit’s foot fern has delicate foliage that dried out quicker than hardier fronds.
While all of these ferns vary slightly in their water and light needs, there are some general tips to keep in mind that will help ferns succeed in your home. Like almost all houseplants, ferns grow best in loose, well-drained soil. Most ferns fail due to overwatering rather than under watering so be sure to water when soil is dry to the touch. Be sure the pot you choose has drainage holes in the bottom to prevent root rot. A classic sign of overwatering is a yellowing of the leaves. If yellowing is spotted, check the soil moisture level. If the soil is wet 1-2 inches below the surface, the fern is being overwatered. Most ferns prefer a humid environment. Keep plants away from heat and air vents. A good general rule for fertilizing ferns is once a month as they can be sensitive to over fertilization. As with any plant, research any possible toxicity when planting around children or pets. To keep ferns clean and free of dust, regularly mist them, except in the case of a fern that specifically notes not to mist. With a little time upfront to find out what your particular fern needs to succeed, these easy to grow ferns are sure to please any indoor plant enthusiast.