Ferns are invariably found growing in moist, shaded, fairly undisturbed spots and in cracks in rocks. Wild ferns are such pretty and interesting plants that they make a good study. Fern "leaves" are referred to as fronds. The fronds of some fern species are composed of a single blade, while other species have their blades divided into smaller sections, and sometimes even those sections can be divided, and divided again. Instead of calling those subdivisions "leaflets," as we do when talking about leaves, when dealing with ferns we call them  pinnae (pronounced PIN-EE; the singular is pinna, pronounced PIN-uh). In many fern species the pinna is divided into subdivisions known as pinnules. The "midrib" of a frond is dark and is referred to as the rachis (pronounced RAY-kiss). The short "stem" at the frond's base is known as the stipe.

In a home garden, the community park or the office space ferns are always look beautiful. Ferns are popular because of their graceful foliage and ability to grow in low light. Many different types of ferns can be grown indoors for interior decoration.


Ferns come in very small size of not more than 6 inches tall and these are best suited for growing in the home garden (indoors) or the office space. Some of the larger ferns may grow up to a 5-foot tall when mature and as such are suitable only for outdoor growing.

The ferns are selected as a garden plant because of their graceful foliage and growing habit. The most commonly grown ferns have finely cut leaves called fronds; there are many other foliage types. Holly ferns have fronds with broad segments that are leathery, shiny and toothed leaves. Several other ferns have fronds that are not divided at all. Staghorn ferns foliage is deeply lobed and resembles the antlers of a stag.

Some ferns are also grown for their unusual stems that creep along the soil surface. These rhizomes are covered with brown or tan hairs that make them look like the feet of animals.


Every variety of the ferns has in their individual growing condition and fertiliser needs. Some commonly grown indoor ferns have a reputation for being fussy, but others are surprisingly easy to grow. The ferns with tough, leathery foliage usually adapt better to typical household conditions than feathery, delicate types. The more delicate types of ferns will grow best with special care.

Most ferns prefer moderate, indirect light inside. Close to a north-facing window is ideal. Never put ferns directly in a south or west-facing window. Direct sunlight will damage the foliage.

The ideal temperature range for most ferns is between 15 to 20 °C during the day and about 5 °C at night. All ferns are moisture lovers, but the amount that they need varies among the many different types of ferns. Some ferns like to be kept almost wet while others should be kept slightly dry between each water application. Be sure not to allow any of them to dry out completely. Do not allow water to stand in pots since this can lead to root rot.

The potting soil for ferns should be porous and in order to allow excess water to drain fast. The ferns grow best in an organic, humus rich soil that is evenly moist and slightly acidic soil.

natural growing habitats.  Humidity is necessary for the healthy growth of the ferns and it has to be maintained because it usually very low indoors at home or in the office. The best method is to use mist spray at least once a day. 

Most ferns should be fertilsed lightly once a month from April through September. Liquid houseplant fertilisers should be applied at about one-half the recommended rate. The leafs of the ferns will get burnt in case of heavy dose of fertilizer application. During winters ferns do not require any fertilisers it should be noted that nor fertilisers are applied to fresh potted or repotted ferns for six months.



The ferns do not have flowers and reproduce with spores, which are so small you can hardly see them with the naked eye. When the spores are mature these are carried by the wind to a new location where, if environmental conditions are right, they germinate to form fern prothalli, from which eventually new ferns will emerge.

In the home garden the best method of propagating most ferns is by division. Repot overcrowded plants in early spring, using a mixture of equal parts of garden soil and river sand mixed with peat moss or leaf mold.

Pests and Diseases

In the home garden, plant diseases are very rare. Too much or too little water and insects and mites are the main problems. Root rot usually results from a soil mix that does not drain fast or because of excess water application.

The most common insect problems are scale insects and mites. Pesticide sprays may injure many ferns. Read the label of any control product carefully, test the spray on a small area or number of plants first, and observe for injury. Insects can often be removed by hand picking or by a brisk water spray outside.

Ferns may develop brown leaves or leaflets at low humidity. This is especially common on ferns with thin, delicate fronds, such as maidenhairs.

Suggested Ferns for the Home Garden and

Office Space


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