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A Cheat Sheet on Ferns

Updated: Apr 11, 2022

Part of what makes Painters so magical this time of year is the lush canopy of ferns lining the ceiling. There is nothing like it!

We are kind of famous for our ferns. Why is that? We grow the majority of them on site from plugs. We started growing our (now giant) Boston Ferns last July! There is something special about being involved in every step of the growing process - we can tell you everything that has ever touched our ferns, can guarantee they were grown with love, plus locally grown means a smaller carbon footprint (no transporting fully grown plants)!

We’ve got thousands of ferns, and multiple varieties to choose from… but how do you know which fern is right for you? Here’s a cheat sheet:

  • Boston Ferns - When you think of hanging porch ferns, these are probably what comes to mind. They like to remain evenly moist, cannot tolerate direct sun but do well in medium/bright indirect light, can grow 2-3 wide, and while they have been used as a houseplant since Victorian times, their tendency to shed means we prefer to keep them on the porch during the warmer months and treat them as annuals rather than bringing them inside.

  • 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. Their fronds have a thicker, leathery appearance and glossy shine, which combined with their size make quite the statement.

  • Petticoat Ferns - A cousin of the familiar Boston Fern, these ferns fill hanging baskets beautifully and offer a full appearance that hides almost any container. The fun thing about Petticoats (and where they get their name) is the ruffled frond tips! They like part-full shade and to remain evenly moist.

  • Kim Queen Ferns - This fern has more of an upright growth habit, and is well suited to hanging baskets and porch pots. Out of these options, this is the best choice for an indoor fern, as it sheds little and will over-winter nicely indoors. Additionally Kim Queen ferns can tolerate the most light of those listed (and also survive in very low light!).

  • Tiger Ferns - These ferns have a unique marbled coloring (they’re actually variegated Boston Ferns). Their yellowy green, patterned fronds tend to grab attention! They like indirect light/shade and are otherwise similar to Boston Ferns.