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image of modern living room with bostern fernplants

7 of the Most Popular and Easiest Indoor Ferns

image of modern living room with Boston fern plants

Are you lacking some plant-based happiness? Looking to fill your home with some natural plant life, but haven’t tended to anything more complicated than the cactus you had as a kid? But not everyone wants to constantly take care of finicky indoor varieties, even if you do have a green thumb. There is a solution that will fill your desire for a plant-filled home without the annoying maintenance that some plants bring inside. What’s that solution? Ferns. Many people mistakenly think that all ferns are the same, or that they’re difficult to take care of indoors. However, there are a number of indoor ferns that are not only popular indoor plants but are also easy to take care of inside.
Let’s go over 7 of the most popular house ferns that will add some green to your home without all the hassle.

1. Lemon Button Fern

A lemon button fern (Nephrolepis cordifolia) is one of the best beginner plants that you can get in your home. Named for both the button-like leaves and the lemony aroma of the plant, these woodland ferns do best in cool, shady areas, which is perfect for an indoor plant.
These ferns usually only grow to a maximum of 30 cm, which means you won’t suddenly be dealing with a fern overgrowth that you’re not prepared for. It’s compact, which means it can fit in even the tiniest of flats.
The only thing you need to be aware of with lemon button ferns is that they require a decent amount of humidity. Be careful not to situate in where it will get too much direct sunlight, as this can dry it out.
On the note of dryness, you should also be careful not to let the soil dry out. Water it fairly often; don’t be afraid to fully soak the soil either. Lemon button ferns love moisture!
This fern is great for beginner growers, since it’s “drought tolerant” (aka if you forget to water it for a bit, it won’t instantly die), and its small size means it’s a low-commitment decor item.

2. Holly Fern

If the lemon button fern is compact, flowy, light green, and loose, then the holly fern is the exact opposite. This fern has stiff, shiny, dark green leaves that are shaped like (can you guess?) holly leaves. It also can grow to be quite tall, which is something much different from the tiny button fern we just went over.
However, this height can be great for spaces that have more room to fill, particularly ones with higher ceilings or ample space for plant containers.
This plant can also stand much colder and drier conditions than other types of ferns, which is perfect for the approaching colder seasons. It also does fine in areas with more direct sunlight, which is nice if you want a plant in your sunny family room or positioned right next to a large window.

3. Boston Ferns

When we refer to “Boston Ferns,” we could actually mean a number of different types of ferns. Boston fern is the general name for a number of varieties of fern, including:

  • Delilah Boston Fern
  • Compact Boston Fern
  • Florida Ruffle Boston Fern
  • Orlando Fern

In fact, some consider the lemon button fern that we already went over to be classified as a Boston fern (or at least as a very close relative!).
Like the Lemon Button, various varieties of Boston ferns are so popular because of their relatively compact size as well as how easy they are to care for. They’re also quite popular for their natural ability to clean the air: research has shown that Boston ferns can reduce airborne pollutants and toxins in your home.
Many Boston ferns have “drooping” leaves/fronds; putting them in hanging baskets will allow them to grow more naturally and give you the full beautiful effect of their structure. They also love sunlight, so a hanging basket is perfect to situate them near windows.
While forgetting to water or mist them for a day won’t lead to instant death, you will notice their leaves dry up and drop. Keep them nicely watered and away from drafts to avoid this.
Boston ferns also have the advantage of being long-living. As long as you take proper care of it, you could have the same Boston fern for years.


4. Staghorn Fern

Staghorn ferns are great indoor plants for one very interesting reason: they don’t require soil. This makes them great for any indoor space. You can attach them to wood pieces, put them in a planter, and even hang them up on the wall for an interesting and natural piece of decor.
Without having to worry about soil, staghorn ferns are great for beginner planters, and it’s one less thing you need to worry about when it comes to indoor plant care.
The large dark green leaves offer a much different aesthetic than other types of ferns we’ve gone over as well which can add some nice variety to your home. It’s also fast growing, which means you don’t have to wait for what feels like forever to get the look you want.
To water, all you have to do is submerge the entire plant in water a few times, let it dry, and then reposition it back wherever it was. It prefers somewhat brighter light, so consider that when placing it.

5. Bird’s Nest Fern

Moisture and humidity have been key so far when caring for ferns. But if you live in a lower humidity area, then a Bird’s Nest Fern will be much easier for you to care for than other types.
Name for the appearance of the unfurled fronds (that look like, you guessed it, a bird’s nest), this fern is a no-fuss, easy to care for plant. Growing to a maximum of 2 feet indoors, it’s slow growing, which could be a downside if you want relatively instant results (like with the Staghorn).
It’s also quite durable, so if you forget to water it, it isn’t the biggest deal. This is another great easy indoor plant that you can transition outdoors if you wish. When outdoor or planted in a greenhouse, these awesome plants can grow to a whopping 6 feet!

6. Rabbit’s Foot Fern

Like the Bird’s Nest Fern, Rabbit’s Foot ferns are slow growing. They’re delicate looking, with fronds looking like a combination of Lemon Button ferns and Bird’s Nest ferns.
So why “Rabbit’s Foot”? The name actually refers to the stems on this plant. The stems creep down and form what looks like a fuzzy rabbit’s foot. These are often visible, as they tend to grow on the outside of whatever container the fern is in, which adds an interesting aesthetic besides the classic fern fronts we’re used to.
Like Boston Ferns, these plants do well in hanging baskets so you can get the full effect of the fronds and the “rabbit feet.” These ferns like a lot of sunlight, but they don’t do well in direct sunlight. Try placing it near a window that gets a lot of light, but not direct beams.
You want to water these guys often as well, but you want to be careful not to oversaturate the soil. Touch the surface of the soil to check for slight moisture, and water whenever it’s dry to the touch.

7. Maidenhair Fern

Compared to the other ferns on this list, the maidenhair fern is a bit more high maintenance. This type of fern is popular because it’s light, delicate, and beautiful looking.
However, the delicate nature of these ferns leads to you having to be quite delicate and particular when you’re taking care of them. They must be kept in perfectly moist conditions or else they will quickly wilt and die. If you’re prone to forgetting about watering or misting your plants, then a maidenhair fern is not for you.
Keeping the perfect moisture also means you need to be careful about lighting with this type of fern. Too much sunlight will quickly dry it out, but too little won’t allow it to flourish properly.
Try to position it in indirect sunlight in an area without wind or drafts. Maidenhair ferns do quite well in terrariums since those will provide ample and consistent moisture. If you were considering creating a terrarium to decorate your home, a maidenhair fern makes an excellent addition.

Easy and Popular Indoor Ferns: Wrapping Up

Whether you go for the easy Lemon Button or you want to try the slightly more high maintenance Maidenhair, one of these 7 indoor ferns will add the perfect natural touch fo green to your home. In fact, you can try them all out in different rooms to really go all the way with your indoor plants.
If you need some more help or want more information on how to take care of your indoor plants, check out our blog. 

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