15 Different Types of Ferns (Indoor & Outdoor Varieties) 

 May 5, 2022

By  admin

Ferns come in a wide variety of shapes, colors and sizes. All ferns are different from each other by their leaf structure, root system or presence of natural hairs on the fronds. Despite this vast diversity however, there is one thing all these plants have in common: they’re all members of the Cyatheaceae family!

The “different types of indoor ferns” is a plant that is categorized into 15 different types. The most common type is the Boston Fern. They are easy to care for, and they can be grown indoors or outdoors.

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Have you ever seen a documentary on dinosaurs? Remember those palm-like long-leaf bushes in the background?

Those are, after all, ferns.

It’s possible that this is the OLDEST of all plants. AND THEY’RE STILL SUCCESSING ALL OVER THE PLANET.

As a result, it’s no exaggeration to state that ferns are among the most simple plants to cultivate. 

But, more significantly, it’s one of the most adaptable (they grow almost ANYWHERE).

However, there are THOUSANDS of distinct kinds of ferns. 

If you want to have the greatest success with a plant in your garden or at home, you should choose the best one.


What is the definition of a fern? (As well as why you’ll need one!)

Let’s begin with the most basic question: WHAT IS A FERN? What makes it unique among other ornamentals and perennials?

To begin with, it reproduces by spores.

Ferns do not produce flowers or seeds of any kind. It will remain green throughout the year, with little variation in color (even with seasons). 

However, there is a catch…

You could also come across ferns that bloom every year. They’re called “false ferns” because they resemble ferns but don’t generate spores.


In a nutshell, a fern is any plant with long leaves that extend out to the sides and grows in tropical climates. 

There are rare exceptions, since certain ferns are truly winter-friendly. But (as you’ll see later! ), it could be a more realistic description to use. 

Why should you grow ferns in your home?

This is due to a variety of factors. The most prevalent is that ferns may be found almost anyplace in a tropical climate. 

Ferns, on the other hand, are much more than that. 

Consider the following advantages:

  • They may grow in a variety of soils as long as they are sufficiently damp.
  • The majority of plants may thrive in either full sun or moderate shade. 
  • The almost-always green leaves enhance the beauty of any location. 
  • In pots, gardens, between rocks, and in baskets, they thrive. 
  • A normal fern may survive between ten to one hundred years. 
  • To live, they don’t need division or human propagation.


For everyone who wants to create a tropical garden, ferns are a must-have (or anything close to that). 

Does it describe you? Then you’ll like all of the many sorts of ferns we’ll discuss. However, first…

What Are the Different Types of Ferns?

There are at least 20,000 fern species, therefore this is a simple question.

It’s right, you read that correctly.

There are over 20,000 ferns that you may add to your yard or covered patio.

And they’re all looking for the same things.

Are we going to go through all of them now? Clearly, no.

We chose to focus on the 15 fern species that are most likely to appeal to you (and easier to grow at home).

Look them up in the list below. 

Plant 15 of the Best Fern Species in Your Garden (or Pot)

1. Asparagus Fern (Asparagus fern) (Asparagus aethiopicus)

What do asparagus and ferns have in common?

The form is the obvious solution.

Even though they have nothing in common with asparagus, their cylindrical form and needle-like spine leaves give them a similar appearance from a distance.

This fuzziness distinguishes it from other varieties of ferns. They may reach a height of a few inches (20 inches) and a width of the same. However, the leaves will seem nearly hairy.

The color is brilliant, with a lime-green undertone. As a result, you may assume it is a partial-shade rather than a full-sun plant. It may easily burn and become black if exposed to too much sunshine.

These may be hung in baskets, planted in pots, or kept in the garden (as long as you don’t live in a cold climate). 

Many people don’t think of it as a fern, yet it is! Don’t pay attention to them. 

2. Tree Fern from Australia (Alsophila australis)

The most massive of all ferns. 

Given that it is more of a tree than a fern, its name accurately describes the plant. The leaves, on the other hand, give it away — there’s no hiding spot for them!

In extreme situations, an Australian Tree Fern may reach a height of over 30 feet (most stay within 5 and 15 feet). From afar, they resemble palm trees and have the LARGEST leaves of any fern.

Even the trunk may grow to a total circumference of 6 inches. It may cover an area of up to 20 feet in diameter under the appropriate circumstances (tons of moisture). 

They are usually soft green in color and thrive in humid environments. It makes no difference whether you plant them in full sun or partial shade. They also prefer garden soils with plenty of room to any other planting spot.  

3. Fern of the Bird’s Nest (Asplenium nidus)

It’s a strange name for a plant, yet it’s appropriate for it.

You’ll see why as soon as you look at it. 

Its leaves are thicker than those of a conventional fern, resembling banana leaves (for their dark-green tone). These leaves may grow up to 60 inches in diameter, giving the plant a diameter of almost 4 feet.

It isn’t the highest in terms of height. A typical Bird’s Nest fern reaches a maximum height of around 3 feet. 

What’s the greatest part? It can grow just about everywhere. Rocks, dirt, and even trees fall into this category. Even better, it grows well in part-shade with enough humidity. 

4. Fern with a Blue Star (Phlebodium aureum)

One of the tiniest ferns with a one-of-a-kind appearance. 

The leaves of the Blue Star fern have a faint blue-green color. These leaves are distinct from other ferns in that they have a central frond with petal-like leaves on the sides.

At MAX, you can anticipate it to reach a height of 12 to 20 inches. This is true whether the plant is grown inside or outdoors. 

Growing it is not difficult since it thrives in either gardens or pots, depending on the situation. In any case, you’ll need to maintain the soil wet for the most of the time.

NOTE: The soil does not need to be kept wet. You should water it once or twice a week at the most to keep it wet. 

Boston Fern, No. 5 (Nephrolepis exaltata)

The Boston fern is one of the most popular kinds since it’s so simple to cultivate and maintain. It also doesn’t hide behind its appearance.

It has dark green leaves with a somewhat oval form on each frond that you may appreciate. It’s also an evergreen that, under the correct conditions, may reach a height of roughly 35 inches.

To maintain its leaves thick and vibrant, the plant demands a lot of moisture (misting is essential for life) and little to no sunshine. The plant may flourish either inside or outside under these circumstances.

It’s small enough to be considered a pot plant, and it’s a great accent to any garden area (under larger plants). 

Cinnamon Fern, No. 6 (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Another common type that is affected by dampness.

The Cinnamon fern prefers to grow near sources of water since it is a humidity lover that cannot live in other environments.

In the correct conditions, this plant may reach a height of over 5 feet and a circumference of over 3 feet. 

The leaves have a brilliant green color, frequently more so than the ordinary fern. They seem practically gleaming in the light, making this fern one of the most appealing of the genus. 

The name originates from the light-brown fronds that appear in the centre of the plant from time to time.

NOTE: Without appropriate humidity, this fern suffers both inside and outdoors. It’s best for locations with surrounding water gardens or Koi ponds. 

Cretan Brake Fern (number 7) (Pteris cretica)

Do you want a low-maintenance indoor fern? The Cretan Brake might be an excellent option for you.

The reason for this is due to its tropical origins. While it prefers some humidity, it does not mind warm, shady settings. 

It can reach a height of 2.5 feet and a diameter of no more than 2 feet, making it a medium-sized fern.

It has huge fronds with widely split leaves in terms of appearance. These tiny leaves are frequently slender, light-green in color, and have a sword-like form. 

Holly Fern (number 8) (Cyrtomium falcatum)

Few ferns can equal the Holly fern’s adaptability.

It’s one of the most hardy of its species, growing in practically any setting as long as there’s adequate shade (it hates full-sun exposure). 

It may be seen growing on rocks, mud, sand, and even the trunks of trees.

The lustrous leaves may reach a height of two feet and a width of three feet. 

NOTE: There are three types of Holly ferns: Japanese, East Indian, and Hawaiian (see a theme here?)

9. Fern of the Hart’s Tongue (Asplenium Scolipendrium)

Hart’s Tongue is another glossy-leaf fern that is also one of the most exotic.

The light-green leaves have a gleaming aspect and are typically dazzling when the sun shines, making it difficult to overlook.

It makes a wonderful indoor plant, although it likes to be outside. In fact, this plant grows well in hardiness zones 5 through 9. (meaning it can resist most winters without problems). 

It may be grown in gardens, pots, and a variety of soils, including sandy and calcareous soils. It can reach a height of 2 feet and a circumference of 2 feet if planted in the appropriate spot. 

Lady Fern is number ten (Athyrium niponicum)

When most people think of ferns, they think of the Lady fern. 

The light-green tone, together with the long fronds and thin little leaves, make it such.

But there’s another reason: it’s the most popular of all the ferns. 

There’s a reason for this, and it’s not a secret. It is one of the simplest plants to cultivate and may be grown both inside and outdoors.

The plant may reach a height of 3 feet. It thrives in a variety of soil types as long as it is kept moist. Even mild winters aren’t a problem for it.

It likes partial shade to direct sunlight. It’s often referred to as a hanging basket plant. 

The Lady fern comes in a variety of colors and shapes. Some have grey tones, while others have blue tones, and so on. 

Lemon Button Fern, No. 11 (Nephrolepis cordifolia)

The Lemon Button distinguishes out among the rarest types FOR SURE.

There are several explanations for this. 

For one thing, it’s only found in Asian and Oceanic nations, thus it’s rare elsewhere.

Two, it only thrives in gloomy, damp environments. This encompasses both tropical and indoor settings.

It may also grow on rock, many kinds of soils, and tree trunks.

Four, the plant seldom grows taller than 1 foot and has a diameter of roughly 10 inches. 

Five, it has unusually curved leaves that beautifully spread all around it. 

Despite this, it is still lovely and enhances the appeal of any location. 

Maidenhair Fern, No. 12 (Genus Adiantum)

The Maidenhair fern is well-known for its capacity to thrive practically anyplace and its unmistakable beauty.

It’s one among the most dense, especially when numerous plants are planted near together, giving it a bushy look.

The oval leaflets in the fronds of Maidenhair, on the other hand, distinguish it. The light-green hue of these small leaves gleams in the sunshine.

Most Maidenhair ferns reach a height of 3 feet and a diameter of 4 feet. They will only grow if the humidity is high and there is little sun exposure. 

As a result, it is often regarded as a GREAT OPTION for interior environments. 

Ostrich Fern (#13) (Matteuccia Struthiopteris)

Do you have a large garden? Don’t be hesitant to plant an Ostrich fern; you will not be disappointed.

The fronds are among the biggest, and as the plant develops, it takes on the shape of a vase. It may also reach a height of up to 5 feet (sometimes a bit more).

Because the leaves may grow long on the sides, Ostrich ferns can grow to be very large, up to 6 feet in diameter. 

They aren’t fussy when it comes to their development. It shouldn’t be an issue as long as the soil is wet most of the time and is shaded consistently.

Because it can grow tall, we don’t suggest it as an indoor plant, but if you have a big enough pot, it could work. 

NOTE: Despite its size, the leaves are among the most delicate. They may actually be burned off if they are exposed to too much sunshine. 

VERY WELL-KNOWN. The Rabbit’s Foot fern thrives both inside and out, preferring to be planted in hanging baskets and having a bushy appearance.

The triangular leaves have thick fronds. In most situations, you’ll notice a light-green tint and a little shiny aspect.

Given how simple it is to cultivate, it is a popular cultivar. However, you must maintain correct humidity for it to grow. 

Rabbit’s Foot ferns often reach a height of 2 feet and a width of 5 feet.  

Staghorn Fern is number fifteen (Platycerium Alcicorne)

The Staghorn fern is another adaptable species, since it is native to Asia, Australia, and Africa, making it a plant that can thrive in almost any environment.

It may be seen growing on trees, rocks, and a variety of other surfaces. 

Yes, you read it correctly. It’s usually a plant that hangs from the ceiling. It loves to hang from baskets and tree bark rather than grow in containers or straight in the soil.

The leaves are also one-of-a-kind. They have a horn-like appearance and are often shiny and thick.

A Staghorn fern may survive for decades and outlast most other ferns. It will need constant wetness and a high level of humidity to do this. 

NOTE: The Staghorn fern comes in roughly 20 distinct types, each with its own unique appearance. Brown fronds may be seen on some of them. 

Most Commonly Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it true that ferns are harmful to cats?

Yes, the vast majority of them are. 

How frequently should ferns be watered?

In humid locations, at least once a week, and no less than once a day in dry places.

Are ferns tolerant of direct sunlight?

The majority of them are unable to tolerate direct sunlight. As a consequence, ferns are usually found in partial or full shade. 

Is it possible to grow ferns indoors?

Yes, some of them can be grown inside (in a terrarium, a grow tent, or even in your living room). 

Is it possible to plant ferns in the ground?

Some ferns are so adaptable that they can grow on rock, stone, and other abrasive materials. 


Have you gotten a better understanding of the many sorts of ferns?

With so many options, it may be difficult to select the PERFECT one.

Consider your available area as well as the sort of plant you choose to make it simpler. There are enough ferns to cover every imaginable arrangement.

You’ll have an easier time expanding it if you make the right choices. 

A fern, whatever of what you choose, is ALWAYS a good idea. So don’t let this opportunity pass you by!

There are many different types of ferns that can be found in nature. Some varieties can be found indoors, while others can only be seen outdoors. Reference: types of outdoor ferns.

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Emil Schoene

Born and raised in Austin, TX I come from a background of home renovation. By helping my family in my younger years with their construction business, I learned the ropes quickly and as I grew it became my passion that I still do today. Looking to share my knowledge with others. I invite you to leave comments on any post as I know you will have questions that you are not finding anywhere else.

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