Modern ferns are those rare plants of antiquity, which, despite the past time and all kinds of cataclysms, not only survived, but in many respects were able to retain their former appearance. In the indoor format, of course, it is not possible to grow any of the ferns, but some species have successfully adapted to life indoors. They look great as single plants or adorn a group of decorative deciduous flowers. The vibrant green of the dissected leaves in the composition creates an atmosphere of jungle and humid forest.
8 most spectacular indoor ferns
Distribution of ferns in nature
Having appeared on the planet more than 400 million years ago, these higher plants have survived the appearance and disappearance of dinosaurs, the change of historical periods, eras and eras, climate change, geography and geology of the continents, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Some plants replaced others, as more prepared for changing conditions, but only the ferns did not leave the stage.
Each time, adjusting and adapting to the environment, they managed not only to survive, but also to preserve intraspecific diversity, thanks to which we can largely imagine the flora of the ancient world.
Despite all the diversity, often all species are called with one word – ferns. Meanwhile, this is one of the most numerous groups of spore plants, including 48 families and more than 10 thousand fern species, among which there are both herbaceous and tree-like forms.
The variety of ferns is manifested not only in external differences – sizes from miniature to gigantic, the structure of leaves, which are called frond in ferns, but the conditions for their growth are also very different.
Epiphytic ferns can be found in the forest, where they grow on the branches and trunks of trees, in rock crevices, along roadsides and even on the walls of houses. For many of these plants, the main conditions are warm and damp, so most species prefer the humid tropics and subtropics.
The geography of distribution of ferns is very extensive. Various species were able to adapt to the most difficult conditions, so they can be found not only in the jungle, but also in the coniferous forests of Siberia, Bashkiria and the Far East. In Central Russia, about 20 species of ferns grow.
Features of growing indoor ferns
Some fern species do well in our homes, having managed to adapt to potted keeping. Despite the external differences, sometimes very significant, the requirements for the content of indoor species are very similar:
- high air humidity;
- good lighting without sunlight;
- the temperature in summer is not higher than 23оWITH;
- winter dormant period with a decrease in temperature;
- feeding only in the spring and summer;
- timely watering with settled water at room temperature;
- transplant as the outlet grows;
- nutritious air and moisture permeable soil;
- if necessary, division of the mother plant.
For a list of the best ferns for indoor keeping, see below.
The most common genus of ferns in nature Nephrolepis (Nephrolepis). About 30 species of this plant grow everywhere, and you can find them in the most unexpected places. Unpretentiousness, resistance to various diseases and pests were appreciated by flower growers in many countries of the world, and certain types of nephrolepis migrated to the premises.
One of the most popular potted ferns is Nephrolepis exalted… This species is quite often found in houses, as it is the most unpretentious among its fellows. The nephrolepis frond reaches 70 cm in length and, thanks to numerous dissections, resemble exotic feathers of a delicate green color.
If the fern is kept in suitable conditions, and ideally for it – diffused light, warmth and high air humidity, then it will certainly become the center of attention in the apartment – numerous bright slightly curved fronds will not leave anyone indifferent.
Nephrolepis Boston – a close relative of the Exalted Nephrolepis. It differs from its relative only in the shape of the leaf blades, which, twisting, give the whole plant a curly and very decorative look.
Nephrolepis Heart-shaped differs in erect fronds with delicate rounded leaves. Branches of this type look very original and are often used to create bouquets and all kinds of flower arrangements. However, other types of ferns are also used for these purposes.
All types of nephrolepis reproduce easily and do not pose any particular problems when growing. They can reproduce both by spores that form on the underside of the leaf plate, and by offspring that appear on short ground rhizomes.
An adult plant is propagated by dividing the rhizome, while the fern should have several growth points. Their number will determine how many divisions will be obtained as a result of the operation. Reproduction by spores does not always bring results, since they do not fully ripen in indoor plants. Therefore, this method is rarely used by flower growers.
Read more about growing nephrolepis in the article Nephrolepis – unpretentious and elegant.
They withstand room conditions well and some species Aspleniums (Asplenium). The second name of this fern is Kostenets… The Asplenium family unites about 500 different species of this plant, which can be found in the tropical forests of Africa and South America, India, Australia and New Zealand. Florists breed several species of this plant, which are completely different from each other.
Asplenium nesting is a rosette of long smooth leaves with slightly wavy edges and looks more like bromeliads. The length of the leaves often exceeds 70 cm, and, thanks to them, the whole plant has a very attractive solemn appearance. In nature, this epiphytic plant grows on tree trunks and feeds on moisture and organic matter accumulating in the center of the rosette. This feature should be taken into account when growing in a room.
Two types of asplenium – bulbous and live-bearing – are similar to each other not only in appearance, but also in the way of reproduction. The fronds of these plants are similar to nephrolepis – the same dissected pale green color. An adult plant forms daughter rosettes on the surface of the leaf plate, which eventually fall off the mother plant and, once on wet soil, easily root.
Read more about the types and features of growing Aspleniums in the article Asplenium, or Kostenets – a green fountain.
A very interesting kind of fern – Platizerium, or Deer antlers (Platycerium)… This is a rare plant, you can find it in greenhouses or among gardeners who are truly passionate about their work. In nature, a few representatives of this species live in Australia, India and some regions of Africa.
Like many other ferns, Platycerium is an epiphytic plant and in nature can reach very large sizes. The smooth long fronds of the Platycerium, thanks to the original dissection, look like the antlers of a deer, for which they called him that.
The peculiarity of this fern is that it has two types of frond – some are long, up to 1 meter and smooth, while others have special depressions in the form of pockets. These bins accumulate moisture, insect remains, seeds of various plants and leaves. Over time, all this decays, and the resulting organic matter nourishes the plant.
Platiterium does not form spores and is bred only with lateral layers, which appear quite rarely. Most often, flower growers place deer antlers in hanging pots or attach to a snag. For pots, they make a soil mixture from bark, moss, branches or buy ready-made soil for orchids. If the antlers are grown on driftwood, then you need to provide the plant with the necessary air humidity, and when watering, immerse the driftwood in water so that it is saturated with moisture.
For more information about the types and cultivation of Platyceriums, see the article Platiterium, or Ploshorn – the most unusual of the ferns.
Maidenhair, or Curly Fern (Adiantum) – one of 200 representatives of the maidenhair family. In nature, certain types of maidenhair are found in East Asia and South America, and in each of these two zones, their own centers of species identity are formed. Some varieties of this graceful fern can be grown indoors.
Maidenhair Venus hair – perhaps the most graceful of all indoor ferns, but also the most capricious. Long fronds of this plant look like brown thin threads, studded with delicate small leaves of pale green color. Sori located on the lower side – spore-bearing areas – shine through the plates of the segments.
In nature, the maidenhair chooses secluded places for itself in crevices of rocks, among stony placers, near streams and lakes. The main thing for him is that there is shade and moisture. If it is possible to create similar conditions in the room, then there will be no problems with growing the maidenhair.
The plant is propagated, usually by dividing the rhizome or a piece of root with 2 to 3 buds. To grow Venus hair from spores, you will need a small greenhouse with constantly moist and warm air.
Many years ago, while working in a greenhouse, I tried to grow maidenhair from disputes, but all my attempts ended in nothing – the disputes stubbornly did not want to germinate. Pots with mother plants were on our floor, in the darkest corner, as far as the term “dark” is appropriate for a sunny greenhouse.
And what was my surprise when one of the days I saw that the green grass, making its way between the slabs on the floor, are small sprouts of the maidenhair. Dampness and concrete slabs turned out to be better for them than any greenhouse. So she planted them later – separated them with a fork and into a pot.
Read more about the types and cultivation of maidenhair in the article Openwork maidenhair – a popular indoor fern.
The numerous pteris family presented their representative to indoor floriculture – Pteris (Pteris)… Ferns of this species are widespread everywhere – where there are tropics or subtropics, there is also pteris. In indoor floriculture, several types of pteris are common, but they are all quite unpretentious.
Cretan Pteris – the owner of beautiful feathery leaves up to 50 cm long. The segments are arranged in pairs from 2 to 6 and have a beautiful color – the center of the plate is bluish-green with a dark border along the edges.
Птерис мечевидный outwardly a little similar to the Cretan pteris, but its color is somewhat darker, and the leaf segments have jagged edges.
All types of pteris prefer high air humidity, well-lit location, but not exposed to sunlight. Grow well at moderate temperatures no higher than 22оC. In winter, a period of rest is required with a decrease in temperature to 17-18оC. Lower temperatures are undesirable, although hardy pteris can withstand a short-term cold snap up to 10оC.
Pteris reproduces, like most ferns, by spores and division of the bush.
Read more about the types of pteris and about caring for him in indoor conditions in the material Pteris – the most unpretentious of the ferns.
Pelley (Pellаea) belongs to the synopteris family and is found in the subtropical forests of Africa, South America and New Zealand. Pelleys, or, as they are also called, push-button ferns, are grown mainly in greenhouses or in winter gardens, since these are the most capricious of all indoor ferns.
Round pellets the owner of beautiful juicy greenery. Round leathery segments are tightly attached to thin, fleecy shoots, forming a dense green bush, no more than 25 cm high. This is perhaps the only indoor fern that does not require high humidity.
Under natural conditions, the pellet withstands dry periods, shedding greenery at the same time. With the onset of rains, the leaves form new segments and the plant returns to its previous appearance.
Despite being undemanding to humidity, pellets are rarely grown in rooms, since they are very sensitive to air temperature and prefers a cool content, especially in winter.
Other types of pellets can be found in greenhouses – pellet green, spear pellea, pellea naked, pellet ovoid, pellet dark purple… In general, these plants are similar to each other, differ mainly in the shape and color of leaf segments and in height, which varies depending on the species from 25 to 60 cm.
For more information about the features of the species and the cultivation of pellets, see the article Pellea – a miniature fern.
Davallia (Davallia) – another unpretentious epiphyte that was able to adapt to indoor conditions. The main habitats of the Davalliev family ferns are the tropics of Asia, Polynesia, the Canary Islands and the island of Java. The peculiarity of davallia is openwork greenery. Moreover, on the old, lower fronds, it has a yellowish tint, while the young growths appearing from the center dazzle with their bright greenery.
The superficial roots of davallia, growing quickly, creep out of the pot, giving the plant a very exotic look. In no case should you cut off these roots – the plant may not survive this. Due to the shaggy roots hanging from the pot, dawallia is also called “squirrel feet” or “hare feet”.
Long curved fronds allow dawallia to be used as an ampelous plant. In a suspended planter in good light, the plant grows well and looks very attractive. The living conditions are the same as for other ferns, with the only difference that high humidity is needed not only for greenery, but also for aerial roots. Therefore, it is recommended to spray the plant from “head to toe”.
Dawallia multiplies by dividing the bush and the best time for this is spring.
Read more about the types and features of growing davallia in the article Davallia – a hare’s foot.
Blehnum (Blechnum) – one of 200 species of ferns of the family Loosestrife. The geography of distribution of this plant is North America, Asia, Japan, Europe. Blehnum is highly decorative. Long fronds of this fern species, rushing up, often reach a length of 1 m. Numerous green segments have an elongated shape and give the blehnum a resemblance to a palm tree.
Sori are located in pairs on the underside of the green segments along the main vein. The fronds are collected in a tight rosette, which is attached to a lignified short trunk. With age, the trunk stretches, and with it, the resemblance to a palm tree increases.
Blehnum is very picky about not only the humidity of the air – the earthen lump should also always be slightly damp. At the same time, moisture retention in the pot must not be allowed – the drainage holes must work.
Fertilizers are applied in spring and summer twice a month, while the concentration is made two times weaker than the recommended one. He does not like drafts and sudden changes in temperature, so a room with a wide open window will most likely not suit him.
Optimum temperature during the growing season + 20 … + 25оC, during the rest period + 18 … + 20оS. Blehnum does not like frequent transplants, so he is transplanted only as needed.
Blehnum is not the easiest fern for indoor maintenance, but if it is possible to provide it with suitable conditions, it is difficult to come up with the best decoration for the room.
Read more about indoor types and features of growing blehnum in the article Blehnum – a fern is not for everyone.
Dear readers! Ferns in rooms not only live, grow, but also multiply. Of course, for a flower to grow healthy and look gorgeous, it will take some effort. But this does not stop flower growers, especially since nothing beyond natural is needed. Spray more often, water and fertilize on time, put away from the sun and heating appliances – it’s easy. And for owners of apartments with windows to the north – the collection of ferns will replace exotic plants that cannot do without the sun.