13 Best Ferns for Any Home (Because You’re Ready for Something New)

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After years adoring that Monstera, philodendron or fiddleleaf fig, you may be ready for a new love, and we’ve got the answer: ferns. With their delicate, wispy fronds and ethereal beauty, ferns feel lush and elegant, instantly elevating a space. “Ferns are having a resurgence among some plant parents because there’s lots of variety,” says Justin Hancock, horticulturalist with Costa Farms. “They don’t all look the same.”

But here’s one point to consider before you add one to your houseplant collection: Some ferns are fussier than easy-care favorites such as pothos or snake plant. That doesn’t mean you can’t grow them; you just need to pay attention to make sure they get the right conditions, says Hancock.

How to Care for Ferns

First, ferns appreciate as much light as you can give them—just don’t put them in direct sunlight, which can fry them. Because their fronds are not as thick compared to the leaves of most houseplants, they also need to be watered more frequently. They’re susceptible to drying out from drafts, too, so keep them away from heating vents and drafty doors.

Because ferns tend to like to stay moist (not sopping wet!), water them as soon as the surface feels dry. Or you may consider displaying ferns in a terrarium, which makes it easier to keep them moist, says Hancock.

Finally, there’s no judgment here, but be real. If you’re forgetful about watering, ferns may not be the best choice for you. Or another option is to put your fern in a self-watering container, though you do have to fill the reservoir occasionally.

10 Fussy Houseplants and How to Keep ‘Em Alive (or What to Grow Instead)

The Best Ferns for Any Home

1. Bird’s Nest Fern

Costa Farms

Resembling a little bird’s nest, this fern has an adorable, rounded shape, with extra-thick fronds that retain moisture well. The curvaceous habit and rosette form makes bird’s nest fern a must-have for any plant lover. It’s the absolute best starter fern, too.

2. Kimberly Queen Fern

Costa Farms

This plant has thick fronds so it’s more resistant to drying out quickly, making it less likely to drop fronds than other ferns, such as the Boston fern. The upright, vase-shaped form of Kimberly Queen fern is quite attractive, too.

3. Lemon Button Fern

Lively Root

The lemon button is a cute little fern that has handsome fronds with little rounded segments. It’s not a real fuss-budget like some ferns, and it stays relatively small, making it a great tabletop plant.

4. Bluestar Fern


Bluestar fern has a gorgeous blue-green color with thicker, elongated fronds that have a different texture from most other kinds of ferns. It’s a resilient fern that makes a striking accent or focal point in the room or when grouped with other ferns. It’s another great choice for new plant parents.

5. Kangaroo Fern

House Plant Shop

Also called kangaroo paw or kangaroo foot, this fern has long indented leaves, instead of frilly and divided fronds. It’s a beautiful emerald green color.

6. Rabbit’s Foot Fern

House Plant Shop

This plant has traditional fronds but adorable fuzzy rhizomes that cascade over the edges of the pot. They look like—you guessed it— tiny rabbit’s feet! You’ll start to see these rhizomes when the plant is in at least a four-inch pot.

7. Maidenhair Fern

Lively Root

Maidenhair fern is absolutely lovely when it’s healthy, but it quickly turns crispy if it’s not getting the moisture it needs. This is an elegant fern that’s best displayed in a terrarium because it needs to stay uniformly moist. It’s definitely on the more demanding side.

8. Staghorn Fern

JM Bamboo

This fern has experienced a surge in popularity due to its architectural form and fuzzy, silvery appearance. Staghorn fern can be mounted on a board or in a hanging basket; water from the bottom of the pot or board by placing the entire thing in a basin of water and letting it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

9. Asparagus Fern

Florida House Plants

This handsome plant is, well, not a fern at all. It’s botanically an asparagus, that does resemble a fern. The good news is that asparagus fern is drought-tolerant due to its thick, fleshy (underground) rhizomes. But it is messy and tends to drop leaves frequently. To be honest, it’s a better outdoor plant.

10. Foxtail Fern

Hirt's Gardens

This is another asparagus, not a fern at all! But its bushy shape is similar, and it does remind you of a fox’s fluffy tail. It’s more commonly grown outdoors in warm climates, but you may see it indoors, too. It is messy, however, and drops tons of leaves, so if you don’t like cleaning, this is a better choice for outdoors.

11. Autumn Fern

House Plant Shop

This is a handsome, colorful fern, often planted outdoors, that does fine indoors. It tends to do better in a self-watering pot. It’s not as vibrantly colored when indoors, but it still retains a lovely, fern-y texture.

12. Boston Fern

Costa Farms

These pretty ferns actually are terribly messy indoors; they tend to drop their fine fronds constantly if they don’t get tons of bright light and moisture. If you have your heart set on one of these indoors, opt for a tabletop size, which will be easier to keep moist. Outdoors, they’re beautiful, reliable ferns that are gorgeous in hanging pots.

Crocodile ferns have a rough, leathery appearance sort of a like a crocodile’s hide. Believe it or not, this cute fern is more closely related to kangaroo fern, despite its similar appearance to bird’s nest fern.

purewow author

Freelance Gardening Editor

Arricca Elin SanSone is a gardener with more than 15 years of experience. In addition to PureWow, she writes for Prevention, Country Living, Veranda, The Spruce and many other...