Check out this list of types of ferns! These fern types include Indoor ferns, Outdoor ferns, Tree ferns, Small ferns, and much more!
Ferns are unique because they reproduce via spores and don’t produce flowers or seeds. There are more than 10,000 fern species that are extremely diverse in terms of size, characteristics, form, and habitat. We discuss all different types of fern plants based on these factors.
There is nothing more exciting than ferns that grow indoors! Liven up your apartment with these indoor growing ferns.
Botanical Name: Nephrolepis exaltata
The feathered fronds of the Boston fern are highly attractive and make a statement in both hanging baskets and containers. Growing Boston fern in pot is not difficult, making it an excellent indoor fern.
Bird’s Nest Fern
Botanical Name: Asplenium nidus
Fronds are long and wide with wavy edges that stand out from other ferns. It does well in filtered and remains happy with minimal care!
Botanical Name: Adiantum
This graceful fern has small and delicate grey-green fronds and looks attractive in any surrounding. Place it near a well-lit window or balcony and mist regularly!
Rabbit’s Foot Fern
Botanical Name: Davillia fejeensis
Fuzzy brown rhizomes resemble Rabbit’s foot, hence the name. It doesn’t create a mess indoors and looks great in hanging baskets.
Botanical Name: Pellaea rotundifolia
Button fern hardly occupies space and has small round buttons like leaves. Growing from 12-18 inches long, it’s in demand as an ornamental plant worldwide.
Growing these ferns outdoors will revive those dull shady spots in gardens. Outdoors ferns also create a vibrant backdrop among other companion plants. Choose cold-hardy ferns as they can survive cold and grow outdoors all year round!
Botanical Name: Polystichum acrostichoides
Christmas ferns is a lush evergreen fern that remains green throughout the winters. It’s probably the only fern that can survive harsh winters outdoors. Growing in clumps, its leathery and glossy green fronds are a treat for eyes in winter when there is hardly any greenery.
Botanical Name: Athyrium filix-Femina
It’s an ideal fern for filling in the shaded spots in your garden or backyard. The feathery and lacy fronds give lady fern an elegant appearance adding to its ornamental value. It’s hardy in zones 3 to 6 and thus will survive outdoors in winter.
Botanical Name: Dryopteris erythrosora
Also known as the Japanese shield fern, its foliage brings out vibrant copper hues in the fall. It’s a semi-evergreen fern excellent for shady borders, groundcover, and even in the container as a houseplant.
Botanical Name: Cyrtomium falcatum
Holly fern is a popular ornamental fern characterized by deep green serrated and sharp-tipped foliage. Make a statement by setting it against colorful flowers in the garden. It grows in USDA hardiness zones 6-10.
Western Sword Fern
Botanical Name: Polystichum munitum
It’s a common fern native to North America and well-adapted to cold, growing in zones 5 to 9. Sword-shaped fronds can grow to around 4 feet, having attractive deep green hues.
There aren’t many ferns that grow tall apart from the tree ferns. But the ferns that grow tall make a bold statement. Strategically place tall and large ferns in the garden to create instant drama. Tall ferns are also an excellent choice for woodland gardens!
Botanical Name: Dryopteris filix-mas
Male fern can grow to around 5 feet tall when mature and features gracefully arching fronds. It forms a large clump and will reappear year after year.
Botanical Name: Matteuccia struthiopteris
Ostrich fern is a smart choice to cover that shady and damp spot in the garden where nothing else will grow. Arching upright fronds resemble ostrich feathers which further add interest!
Botanical Name: Osmunda regalis
It boasts large fronds with serrated leaves, making an impressive statement in the garden. Growing to around 6 feet tall, it creates a beautiful contrast with companion plants in the background.
Botanical Name: Osmundastrum cinnamomeum
The cinnamon fern is an ideal specimen for shady southern landscapes. It features two types of fronds; cinnamon colored center frond and a bigger green surrounding frond.
Small ferns are ideal for tiny apartments and less-than-spacious homes. Whether tabletops, windowsills, or small spaces in bathrooms and kitchens, these miniature ferns won’t disappoint you!
Lemon Button Fern
Botanical Name: Nephrolepis cordifolia ‘Duffii’
It’s a dwarf variety of one of the most popular Boston fern. It refreshes the surrounding by giving hints of lemonish scents in summers and springs.
Cotton Candy Fern
It’s another small-sized cultivar of Boston fern that features very fine feathery fronds. It grows only 12 inches tall and wide and does not require much attention.
Dwarf Maidenhair Fern
Botanical Name: Adiantum microphyllum
As the name suggests, it’s a mini cultivar of Maidenhair fern. Fan-shaped frilly fronds are supported by black stems and grow 12 inches tall.
Fluffy Ruffles Fern
Botanical Name: Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Fluffy Ruffles’
These ferns form a tiny clump of ruffled fronds and scream cuteness. It grows to only 18 inches tall and is perfect for small containers.
Silver Brake Fern
Botanical Name: Pteris cretica ‘Mayi’
It stands out from other ferns, with the light silvery strip running down the bright green leaflets. Silver fern only grows 18-24 inches tall!
Tree ferns are the largest fern type, with a tree-like structure having fronds elevated by the trunk. Mainly cultivated for beauty, tree ferns bring a tropical feel to the garden. Grow tree ferns beside the pool and watch as it transforms into an oasis.
Norfolk Island Tree Fern
Botanical Name: Cyathea brownii
Reaching a whooping height of 20 meters with 5 feet long leaves Norfolk is among the tallest tree fern. As the trunk becomes smooth with age, it’s also called a Smooth tree fern.
Soft Tree Fern
Botanical Name: Dicksonia antartica
Gracefully arching rosette of glossy dark-green fronds growing atop the stout trunk adds an extra dimension to the look of this fern. Soft reddish-brown hairs cover the trunk. Also, going by the name Tasmanian tree fern or hardy tree fern, it’s one of the most cold-hardy tree ferns.
Golden Tree Fern
Botanical Name: Dicksonia fibrosa
Golden tree fern is related to soft tree fern but does not grow that large and remains around 4-6 m tall. The wide trunk appears golden-brown and has fronds growing to 2 m long.
Other Types of Ferns
Apart from the fern types mentioned above, ferns can also be classified as deciduous, evergreen, or semi-evergreen. Many fern species are also epiphytes growing on branches of trees, trunks, and other surfaces. Also, some ferns are vine-like, whereas you can even find some that float on the pond’s surface.
This concludes our list of types of ferns. Let us know which fern you like the most in the comments!