Ferns originate from tropical zones. Many sources trace the birth of these plants back to the Prehistoric era. Contrary to common belief, growing ferns indoors is quite simple. They require just a bit of attention and the right care. In this brief guide, let’s discover some useful advice for their care. Let’s also explore the most common types found in our country. Finally, let’s discover some curiosities about this plant.
But first, let’s start with its biological identification.
Biological Identification of Ferns
Ferns belong to the family of Pteridophytes. They are perennial plants without flowers and seeds.
They consist of leaves, an elongated stem, and a highly developed root system. The stem is covered with fine hair, while the leaves, called “fronds”, contain small “scales” called pinnae.
Usually, their shape is elongated and divided, but occasionally (though rare), whole leaves can be found.
Ferns reproduce via spores, which, carried by wind and water, colonize various environments.
The plant’s propagation is vegetative.
Caring for and Cultivating Ferns Indoors
Ferns are suitable for indoor cultivation: they need a humid climate and rather warm temperatures. Taking care of a fern isn’t complex: just water it adequately and place it in sufficiently large pots (such as these) using soft and rich soil (found here) and occasionally fertilizing it. Specifically, ferns don’t require constant lighting or much space as they grow slowly and more in height than in width. Thanks to this characteristic, they can be planted in small pots. However, like other plants, once the roots emerge from the pot’s holes, repotting is necessary. One mistake to avoid in caring for ferns is leaving the soil dry for extended periods. Consistently watering these plants, neither too much nor too little, is crucial. As mentioned, ferns need a humid climate, so it’s essential to mist them daily. To maintain the lush foliage of ferns, it’s essential to frequently remove dry tips. Lastly, a great way to ensure proper and flourishing plant development is to fertilize them with green plant fertilizer approximately every 15 days. You can use simple home compost for this purpose.
Types of Ferns
There are approximately 12,000 species of ferns worldwide (120 of which are found throughout Italy). These varieties are widespread across all continents. Among the most common species are:
- Athyrium, an evergreen specimen widespread across the entire northern region. It can reach heights and widths of 0.5 meters;
- Bradford Rambler, which grows only up to 30 cm and has a reddish stem with light yellow foliage;
- Filix-femina, one of the tallest specimens, reaching heights of up to 1.5 m;
- Osmunda, one of the aesthetically more appreciated species. Perfect to be grown on terraces or even indoors as ornamental plants.
Interesting Facts about Ferns
Today, ferns are primarily used as ornamental plants and decorative elements to enrich floral compositions, bouquets, and gardens.
Since ancient times, they have been considered a symbol of abundance, wealth, and good omen. Some specimens are still used today for therapeutic purposes, as various studies have shown positive aspects for treating nausea, pains, and the flu. Moreover, they are an excellent ally for purifying the environment, having a high capacity to absorb harmful airborne substances. Finally, they can also be used in organic agriculture as a natural macerate, useful for preventing disease and parasite infestations.