Ferns 101

Learn about all the different types and varieties of ferns


This category could also be called hanging basket ferns as most of the the ferns in this category are sold at Painters in hanging baskets (not all). Including:

  • Boston Ferns - These are the ultimate classic fern and a great addition to any porch. They like bright indirect light.

  • Macho Ferns - The name says it all! These big guys like bright morning light and can grow up to 4 ft tall and 5-6ft wide (though in the right conditions our Boston Ferns can give them a run for their money).

  • Petticoat Ferns - These ferns fill hanging baskets beautifully and offer a full appearance that hides almost any container.

  • Kim Queen Ferns - This fern has more of an upright growth habit, can take more direct sun, and will overwinter in your house nicely.

  • Rabbits Foot Ferns - This fern gets its name from the furry rhizomes that grow on top of the soil and crawl down the basket. They are one-of-a-kind and stunning!

  • Tiger Ferns - These ferns have a unique marbled coloring and draw you in to examine them up close.

REMEMBER: Hanging baskets dry out quicker and will require more frequent watering.

AND: Rotate your ferns occasionally to prevent them from becoming lopsided.


This is a large category which includes ferns that grow at various times of the year, are primarily planted in the ground, and includes native ferns. Some popular perennial ferns include:

  • Autumn Ferns

  • Maidenhair Ferns

  • Japanese Painted Ferns

  • Christmas Ferns*

  • Ostrich Ferns

  • Lady Fern*

  • Japanese Holly Ferns

Almost all perennial ferns prefer part/full shade, they can tolerate some morning or filtered sun. Keep their soil moist but not soggy.

Some of these ferns will go dormant in the winter but come back larger and stronger every spring. Keep in mind when you are shopping for perennial ferns that they may look a little bare but they will fill in. Also bear in mind that different perennial ferns grow at different rates - if you're looking for something to fill in space quickly an Ostrich Fern is a great choice, while the beautiful Japanese Painted Fern will take much longer to reach its full size.



Here are some of the ferns we commonly sell as houseplants:

  • Lemon Button Ferns

  • Bird's Nest Ferns

  • Blue Star Ferns

Maidenhair, Asparagus, and Kim Queen Ferns can also be treated as houseplants. 

The most important trick to keeping ferns as houseplants is providing them with ample humidity. We are not big proponents of misting houseplants - misting your houseplants inside without a breeze to move the water droplets around can lead to fungal issues. We've also read that you would have to mist you plants for 15 minutes every hour of every day for it to have any significant impact on the humidity level. Instead we recommend using a humidifier (especially in the dryer winter months), a cloche, or a pebble tray to increase humidity for your plant. If you'll miss the meditative time spent misting your plants, get a microfiber or damp cloth and clean the leaves from time to time instead (that's also a great way to check on the overall health of the plant and stay on top of pest issues).