20 Different Types of Fern Plants for Your Garden

fern

Thanks to their leaves’ unique architectural design, ferns have become a popular decorative piece in offices, home gardens, and living rooms. Are you looking for something pretty and natural to add to your interior home décor or garden? If so, you should try the easy-to-grow fern plant that is both breathtaking and easy to maintain. Below, we have outlined 20 different types of ferns and useful tips to help you incorporate them into your garden.

Definition of a Fern

According to Home Stratosphere, ferns are vascular non-flowering plants that belong to the Pteridophyta division. There are approximately 10,560 different species of ferns and, while this is remarkable, you will also be surprised to know that they are also the oldest plant type in the world. In fact, some fern fossil records date way back to about 360,000,000 years ago during the Late Devonian era. Ferns naturally vary in size ranging from 10 to 25 meters in height. Additionally, there are some fern species that only appeared in the early Cretaceous period, which was around 145,000,000 years ago. Let’s take a look at the 20 you can grow today.

1. ‘Grey Ghost’ Lady Fern (Athyrium Niponicum ‘Grey Ghost’)

The ‘Grey Ghost’ lady Fern cultivar got its name from the nature of the shade of its leaves that is simply surreal. This species of the fern plant usually looks like a plant from the Moon, which is probably the main reason it was bestowed by the Royal Horticultural Society the Award of Garden Merit. The ‘Grey Ghost’ Lady Fern is ideal for modern home gardens, where it can take the center of attention and still add hints of originality to more organic gardens.

  •  Hardiness: It can grow in USDA 4-9 zones.
  • Soil Requirements: It grows well in well-drained loam, sandy or clay soils. The soil can be either acidic or neutral but kept humid at most times.
  •  Sun Exposure: Partial or full shade is acceptable.

2. Staghorn Fern (Platycerium Spp.)

According to Gardening Know How, the Staghorn Fern has fronds that resemble the horns of a deer. Thanks to its fronds that protrude from a central position, this cultivar can be used for hanging baskets and any other identical containers. The Staghorn Fern is also a tropical fern that is perfect for use as a household plant as its very glossy and bright green fronds provide a calming indoor sensation.

  • Hardiness: It can grow in USDA zones of 8 and above.
  • Soil Requirements: The Staghorn Fern is an epiphyte. Hence its does not rely on soil for growth. The plant can be mounted using natural glue to a log or a tree when positioned upright. You can also opt to use a suitable inert growing medium, such as expanded clay pellets or wood bark.
  • Sun Exposure: If planted indoors, make sure to expose the plant to indirect bright light. However, avoid exposing the plant to direct sunlight when grown outdoors. Instead, place it under a shade or use filtered light.

3. Hart’s Tongue Fern (Asplenium Scolipendrium)

The Hart’s Tongue Fern is well-known for its beautiful arching leaves that are not frilled or divided but appear as tiny tongues. Its leaves are usually exotic-looking and glossy with a bright light green color. However, when the spores grow, the underside of the leaves becomes brown, which is also perfect for household decorative purposes. This type of fern was also awarded the Garden Merit Award by the Royal Horticultural Society.

  • Hardiness: It can grow in USDA zones between 5-9.
  •  Soil Requirements: This variety grows well in most soil varieties as long as they are well-drained and are kept moist at all times.
  •  Sun Exposure: Place it near partial or full shade.

4. Delta Maidenhair (Adiantum Raddianum)

The Delta Maidenhair cultivar is a fairly small-sized fern variety that produces plenty of dropping fronds with delta-shaped leaves and purple-black stalks. It has tropical flowers that appear like a natural, green lace. Although it has a less architectural nature, it provides your interior décor with unique underbrush and a soothing sense of lush foliage.

  • Hardiness: It can grow in USDA zones ranging between 10 and 11.
  • Soil Requirements; It grows successfully in fertile, well-drained, and moist loam soils. The soil can either be neutral or alkaline.
  • Sun Exposure: Keep away from direct sunlight when grown indoors and under partial or full shade when grown outdoors.

5. Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium Medium)

Thanks to its very glossy, strong-looking, tongue-like fronds, the Bird’s Nest Fern has been awarded the Garden Merit Award by the Royal Horticultural Society. This cultivar has wavy margins and a dark midrib that curls at the top, which adds beauty to the appearance of its fronds.

  • Hardiness: It grows in USDA zones between 11-12.
  • Soil Requirements: Grows best in well-drained and humid sandy or loam soil, either neutral or acidic.
  • Sun Exposure: Avoid direct sunlight when grown indoors and partial to full shade for outdoor cultivation.

6. Kangaroo Fern (Microrosum Diversifoliun)

This cultivar has very glossy leaves in a dark shade of green, which divide into roughly 14 to 22-inch wide pointed tongue-like parts. The Kangaroo fern is perfect for any tropical setting, either indoors or outdoors, that requires an exotic look.

  • Hardiness: It can grow in USDA zones of 9-11.
  • Soil Requirements: It prefers well-drained, acidic soil.
  • Sun Exposure: Grow it in full shade when grown outdoors and away from direct sunlight when grown indoors.

7. Painted Lady Fern (Athyrium niponicum var. Pictum’ Burgundy Lace’)

The Painted Lady Fern cultivar actually looks identical to a natural Christmas tree decoration. It has very distinctive fronds with a dark purple shade that later matures into a silver-green shade. The differences between the shades provided by this fern variety arise from the striking contrast between the younger shoots and the lower, older foliage.

  • Hardiness: It grows in USDA zones between 5 and 8.
  • Soil Needs: Requires humid and well-drained loam, clay, or sandy soil, with a neutral or acidic pH.
  • Sun Exposure: Full or partial shade.

8. Eagle Fern (Pteridium Aquilinum)

This fern variety has long, dark green, triangular-shaped fronds that divide into small units. The Eagle Fern is mostly used for food in East Asia and is the perfect deciduous cultivar to cultivate under trees. Though some people include it in their diet, it can pose severe health problems when consumed.

  • Hardiness: It grows in USDA zones between 4-7.
  • Soil Requirements: Grows best in strongly acidic sand, loam, and clay soils, but you can use well-drained, moist neutral soil.
  • Sun Exposure: Grow under partial or full shade.

9. Crocodile Fern (Microsorun Musifolium ‘Crocodyllus’)

This classical fern got its name from the appearance of its fronds, which look similar to the scraggly outer skin of a crocodile. The fronds have a light green color with a fleshy appearance that makes them an eye-catching indoor plant.

  • Hardiness: It can grow in USDA zones between 10 and 11.
  • Soil Requirements: It grows successfully in perlite and peat moss growing medium, with a neutral or alkaline pH.
  • Sun Exposure: Avoid direct sunlight when planted indoors and place under partial shade when grown outside.

10. Asparagus Fern (Asparagus aethiopicus)

This fern variety has needle-like leaves with long branches that give it a very distinctive appearance. Like most fronds of the fern plant, its branches arch similarly, making it the ideal plant for hanging baskets or any other similar container.

  • Hardness: It grows in USDA zones between 9-11.
  • Soil Requirements: Grows best in dark-colored, well-drained soils that could be either neutral or acidic.
  • Sun Exposure: Though it can tolerate direct sunlight, it is advisable to grow them in partial or full shade.

11. Holly Fern (Cyrtomium Falcatum)

The Holly Fern has very glossy, waxy deep green-colored fronds. These qualities make this cultivar ideal for both temperate wood and tropical settings.

  • Hardness: It is partial to USDA zones between 6-10.
  • Soil Requirements: Requires well-drained loam and clay soils that are rich in humus. The pH can vary from neutral to acidic.
  • Sun Exposure: Partial to full shade

12. Giant Wood Fern (Dryopteris Goldieana)

This outdoor fern cultivar is perfect for any woody settings, in flower beds, borders, and even as a backdrop to other household plants. Though not as big as the name suggests, this fern variety does grow to maximum heights of 120 cm or 4 feet. It has light pastel green fronds with subtle touches of yellow in its large central rosette segment.

  • Hardness: It grows in USDA zones of 3-8.
  • Soil Requirements: It grows best in moist, well-drained loam, sandy, chalk, and clay soils, with an acidic or neutral Ph.
  • Sun Exposure: Requires partial to full shade.

13. Hen and Chickens Fern (Asplenium Bulbiferun)

The Hen and Chicken Fern is a species with a unique light green foliage that divides into several needle-line sections. Its feather nature is similar to that of chickens, which makes it perfect as a decorative underbrush and a suitable accompaniment for flowering plants grown in borders and beds. This cultivar also has a distinctive arch that appears quite similar to that of pine branches.

  •  Hardiness: It can grow in USDA zones between 9-11.
  • Soil Requirements: Grows best in neutral, acidic, or alkaline well-drained and humid sandy, clay, chalk, and loamy soils.
  •  Sun Exposure: Requires partial shade.

14. Maidenhair Sleepwort (Asplenium Trichomanes)

This fern variety is a tiny, gorgeous plant with hard, black stems and frond segments evenly spaced – much like a fairy ladder. The Maidenhair Sleepwort is commonly grown in borders and beds, as well as under shrubs and roses.

  • Hardiness: It grows in USDA zones between 5-8.
  • Soil Requirements: It grows best in well-drained and wet chalk, loam, clay, and sandy soil, with an acidic, alkaline, or neutral pH.
  • Sun Exposure: Requires partial or full shade.

15. Rabbit’s Foot Fern (Davallia Fejeensis)

This type of fern got its name from its fuzzy rhizomes that emanate from the soil and resemble a rabbit’s feet. Nonetheless, it has thick, beautiful fronds that are divided into various segments forming a triangular shape. Being epiphytic in nature, it derives moisture and nutrients from mediums other than soil, such as trees, debris, and air.

  • Hardiness: It grows in USDA zones between 10-11.
  • Soil Needs: Requires a neutral growing medium with 1-part sand, 1-part loam, 2-parts peat moss, or any suitable substitute.
  • Sun Exposure: Place under partial or full shade when grown outdoors and avoid direct sunlight when planted indoors.

16. Southern Maidehair Fern (Adiantum Calillus-Veneris)

This fern cultivar got its name from its hanging lobes that separate into three frilled light green leaflets that hang on deep blue stems.

  • Hardiness: It is hardy to USDA zones of 8-11.
  • Soil Needs: Requires moist and well-drained chalk, sand, or loamy soils with a neutral or alkaline pH.
  • Sun Exposure: Partial to full shade.

17. Australian Tree Fern (Sphaeropteris Cooperi)

The Australian Tree fern has a long brown trunk with a fuzzy and hairy outer cover. At the top, there are stunning and delicate fronds that protrude from a central position, forming a natural light green segmented foliage.

  •  Hardiness: It grows in USDA zones of 11 and above.
  •  Soil Requirements: Grows well in very rich, slightly acidic, well-drained sandy or loamy soils.
  • Sun Exposure: Requires partial or full shade.

18. Lacy Tree Fern (Cyathaea Cooperi)

The Lacy Tree fern looks like a palm tree with a brown fuzzy trunk that divides into branches that appear like long spokes, fingers, or an umbrella.

  • Hardiness: It grows well in USDA zones between 9-11.
  • Soil Requirements: Grows best in well-drained, rich organic soils, either sand or loam, with a slightly acidic or neutral Ph.
  • Sun Exposure: Requires partial to full shade.

19. Northern Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum Pedatum)

The Northern Maidenhair Fern has stunning thin, black stems that divide its fronds into blades, which appear similar to the wings of an insect. Its fronds are very glossy and waxy with a pea-green color.

  • Hardiness: It is hardy in USDA zones between 3-8.
  • Soil Requirements: It requires humid, well-drained clay, chalk, sand, loam, and sand soil, either alkaline or acidic.
  • Sun Exposure: Partial or full shade.

20. Hard Fern (Blecchum Spicant)

The Hard Fern has unusually shaped fronds with plenty of oblong segments that resemble tongues.

  • Hardiness: It is hardy to USDA zones 5-9.
  • Soil Requirements: Prefers well-drained soils with an acidic or neutral pH.
  • Sun Exposure: Partial to full shade.

Conclusion

With so many different types of ferns to choose from, it can be difficult to pick the perfect plant for your garden. However, with the help of this guide, you can easily choose the type of fern plant you want by evaluating its characteristics. Remember to consider the kind of look you are going for and the amount of space you have in your garden.

Add Comment

Celebrity Homes Dream Homes Luxury Homes Modern Homes Prefab Homes
Lemonis Manhattan Apartment
Marcus Lemonis Snags $18 Million Manhattan Townhouse
new construction
What is the Average Cost to Build a House?
Bakrie House
Check Out This $28 Million Trousdale Estates House
Apartment Designs Bedroom Closet Kitchen Living Room Office
Kitchen Drawers
How to Lay Contact Paper: A Guide
Sink Stopper
What to do if Your Sink Stopper is Stuck
Countertops
Soapstone Countertops vs. Quartz Countertops: What You Need to Know
Backyard Furniture Home Tips Pool Design
Dehumidifier
Five Disadvantages of a Dehumidifier
Here’s How to Make a Disco Ball Planter
Amur Adonis
How to Grow and Take Care of an Amur Adonis