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Ferns to Raise as Houseplants

Ferns make for fantastic houseplants. With thousands of species to choose from and one of the most adaptive plants, it's no wonder they are quite literally the oldest plants on the planet. Over time, they have learned to grow in a variety of conditions, one being our modern-day homes. Ferns are popular for adding elegant greenery throughout your space. Not only are many safe for pets but are ideal for first-time gardeners.

The challenges of growing ferns indoors rise mostly from their need for high humidity and moisture. However, a few ferns can adapt to indoor growing, especially if you’re willing to pay attention to their needs. Here is our top pick of ferns to raise in your home.

Pendulous Leafy foliage of Maidenhair Fern in a pot.

Maidenhair Fern

Renowned for being a bit of a diva and fussy with its plant care routine, Maidenhair Fern is one of the most beautiful ferns to grace your home. This variety is elegant and gracious with small, delicate, hand-shaped fronds entangled on wiry black stems. It flourishes by having rich organic soil and being constantly moist. Fragile to bright light or direct sun exposure, keep these beauties in partial shade and high humidity locations such as bathrooms.

Staghorn Fern growing from a tree trunk.

Staghorn Fern

These slow-growing ferns get their names from their resemblance to (you guessed it) deer or elk antlers. As a real statement plant, Staghorns can have two types of fronds: tiny, flat shield fronds that protect the root ball while collecting water and nutrients, or antler-like fronds that can grow up to 95cm long and lend themselves to interesting displays, such as mounted on wood or wooden boards. This fern thrives in consistent, filtered light. Be careful not to allow too much direct sunlight to hit its fronds because it could burn them. Like other ferns, they also prefer warm, humid environments and frequent watering.

A Boston Fern with elongated spine structured leaves with crimped edges.

Boston Fern

This is the most common type of fern houseplant. It has long, sword-shaped fronds and is one of the easiest ferns to care for. Boston Ferns need a cool, moist climate with indirect sunlight to thrive, perfect in areas such as bathrooms, laundries and kitchens. To maintain humidity levels mist your fern weekly and keep the soil moist. Dry soil is one of the most common reasons Boston ferns die, so check the soil daily for water if soil feels dry.

A potted up Button Fern with tiny disk shaped leaves.

Button Fern

Button ferns are low-growing ferns with little dotted dark green spherical leaflets on arching stems. Not only is the Button fern cute and playful fern it also smells a bit citrusy. These plants thrive in bright, indirect sun or half shade and make great houseplants for beginners because they tolerate drier soil and are non-toxic to animals. It needs both humidity and consistent watering, but it can be more forgiving of both, unlike its more pretentious relatives.

Birds Nest Fern with rosette tapering elongated leaves and curled baby growth in the centre.

Birds Nest Fern

As the most common fern you’ll find indoors, the Boston fern is a true classic of its class. Its signature central rosette fanned by its elongated light green sword-shaped frills and striking dark central veined fronds are instantly recognisable.

Grows best in partial shade to full shade, so direct light should be avoided to prevent sun damage. Unlike most other ferns, this one can take a bit of neglect in the watering department, but it still enjoys moisture and humidity the most. Be careful not to pour water directly into the rosette, because that can lead to rotting. Water the soil around the plant for the best results.

Interested in reading more about Birds Nest Ferns? You can read our plant guide post here.

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