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Friday, April 28, 2006

Ferns As Your Houseplants

The fern is often associated with lush, cool glades and moist valleys. Both indoors and out, the green foliage provides a sense of calm. While many varieties love damp, shady conditions, the fern can be found growing in a huge range of conditions on almost every continent. There are species native to desert, alpine, forest, meadow and wetland ecosystems. Not all are ‘ferny’ either, some like the shield fern, don’t have tiny pinnae on their fronds, but have large, strap-like leaves. And Holly ferns have leaves like, well, holly. They are an ancient group of plants does not produce flowers, but instead reproduces by means of spores.

While outdoor plants usually love shade and evenly moist conditions, indoor versions prefer moderate to bright, indirect light and like to have their soil dry out slightly between waterings. Like a lot of house plants, a fern does best when slightly root bound. High humidity is really beneficial, but as most homes don’t have much moisture in the air year round, spraying the leaves with water from a mister a few times a week is a good practice. Pebble trays filled with water beneath the plant can also help raise the humidity around the plant.

Picture of Maidenhair Fern

Here are some attractive and easy-to-grow indoor varieties:

Picture of Asplenium nidus


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