9 Indoor Ferns that Will Turn Your Home into a Tropical Paradise

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cotton candy boston fern on bar cart with wine glasses
Photo: Brie Passano

Many ferns thrive indoors and add a lush look to any room. This diverse plant family comes in an array of colors and textures, including delicate, lacy fronds and smooth, substantial foliage. Here are nine recommendations to get you started.

01 of 09

Staghorn Fern

Staghorn Fern on Wall
Brie Passano

This plant draws attention for two reasons: their namesake forked fronds that look a bit like antlers and their unique growth. Staghorns are epiphytes, which means that in nature they grow on other plants. So they don't need to grow in a pot of soil like other plants do. Instead, use them as statement-making displays, like mounted on boards hung on the wall. Water them like you would air plants, by misting them every day or soaking them in water weekly.

Name: Platycerium bifurcatum

Growing Conditions: medium to bright light and high humidity

Size: to 3 feet tall and wide

02 of 09

Maidenhair Fern

adiantum raddianum maidenhair fern in terrarium
maiden hair fern fritz luth detail. Jay Wilde

Maidenhairs have a reputation for being somewhat challenging to grow indoors. That's because they love moisture, meaning they need lots of water and humidity. So if you are a serial overwaterer, this is the plant for you. Throw in a daily misting or two, and these ferns will reward you with fine-textured fronds on long, black, wiry stems.

Name: Adiantum raddianum

Growing Conditions: medium to bright light and high humidity

Size: to 2 feet tall and wide

03 of 09

Lemon Button Fern

Lemon Button Fern
Brie Passano

This plant is cute as a button with its tiny, golden-green, rounded leaflets (that give it the namesake buttonlike appearance). Those long, arching fronds work well in hanging baskets or a tabletop terrarium. The unfussy fern lends lushness to any decorating style.

Name: Nephrolepis cordifolia 'Lemon Button'

Growing Conditions: medium to bright light and high humidity

Size: to 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide

Buy It: Potted 4-inch, $7, Walmart

04 of 09

Kangaroo Paw Fern

kangaroo paw fern on coffee table in front of window
Brie Passano

Shiny, dark green fronds grow into an unkempt mound reminiscent of Medusa's hair. Native to Australia, this fern got its name from its long leaves, similar to kangaroos' large feet. Like rabbit's foot fern, it features thick rhizomes that may creep down the sides of its container.

Name: Microsorium diversifolium

Growing Conditions: medium to bright light and average humidity

Size: to 2 feet tall and wide

05 of 09

Crocodile Fern

Crocodile Fern sitting on wooden table
Jay Wilde

The straplike, bright green leaves (called fronds on ferns) have a decidedly reptilian, scaly look that doesn't align with what most people picture as a fern. Its fronds also explain its common name. Crocodile ferns make quite a statement when full grown, often reaching 2-3 feet long.

Name: Microsorium musifolium 'Crocodyllus'

Growing Conditions: medium to low light and high humidity

Size: to 3 feet tall and wide

06 of 09

Rabbit's Foot Fern

rabbit's foot fern in container on glass table top
Brie Passano

This beauty features dark green, fine-texture, dainty-looking fronds and fuzzy rootlike stems (rhizomes) that creep down the side of its pot or along the soil. Grayish white hairs cover the rhizomes that inspired the common name. Show off (or even pet) those rhizomes by growing it in hanging planters.

Name: Humata tyermanii

Growing Conditions: medium to bright light and high humidity

Size: to 2 feet tall and wide

07 of 09

Bird's Nest Fern

Bird’s Nest Fern
Brie Passano

Leathery fronds with wavy edges radiate from the center of the plant to create a striking vase shape that vaguely resembles a nest. Because these ferns love high humidity, they are great plants to grow in your bathroom, if you have a window providing plenty of indirect light.

Name: Asplenium nidus

Growing Conditions: medium to bright light and high humidity

Size: to 5 feet tall and wide (but usually 1-2 feet indoors)

08 of 09

Silver Brake Fern

Silver Brake Fern on edge of wooden table
Jay Wilde

We love the two-tone foliage on this eye-catching plant, which also goes by the names silver lace fern and slender brake ferns. Each frond has several slender leaflets with a pale silvery strip down the middle. The leaflets also have crested (or branched) tips. Keep this moisture-loving fern happy by never letting the soil completely dry out between waterings.

Name: Pteris cretica 'Mayi'

Growing Conditions: medium to bright light and high humidity

Size: to 2 feet tall and wide

09 of 09

Cotton Candy Boston Fern

cotton candy boston fern on bar cart with wine glasses
Brie Passano

Boston ferns make excellent houseplants because they aren't too picky about anything beyond getting regular watering and some bright, indirect light. They have course-texture fronds and can get quite large at maturity. Some varieties stay small (like 'Cotton Candy', shown here, that we love for its extra-fine, feathery fronds).

Name: Nephrolepis exaltata 'Cotton Candy'

Growing Conditions: medium to bright light and average humidity

Size: to 1 foot tall and wide

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