More than 12,000 species
Around 12,000 species of ferns are found around the world. Most of the representatives can be found in the tropics. But there are also many species in Europe. There are around 170 pieces.
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Characteristics common to all ferns
Bracken fern, worm fern, striped fern, king fern, stag tongue fern, oak fern, beech fern, potted fern, thorn fern, ... all types of fern belong to the vascular spore plants. They develop neither flowers nor fruits. They multiply by means of their spores, which are usually located on the underside of their leaves.
Furthermore, the majority of ferns love shady and moist locations. Their natural occurrence are, among other things, forests, crevices, riparian zones and wall cracks. Due to the location requirements, which are easy to meet, many gardeners plant ferns in their green patches. Ferns are also popular as houseplants.
Other features that the majority of ferns have in common are:
- slightly to strongly poisonous
- more or less green foliage
- Structure: roots, stem axis, leaves (exception: tree ferns)
- pinnate leaves
Small, medium and large fern species
The small fern species reach heights between 10 and 30 cm. They are ideal as ground cover, for example under conifers and for greening rock gardens. These include the wall rhombus, the brown striped fern, the Tierra del Fuego fern (a 10 cm high rib fern) and the script fern.
Medium-sized fern species reach heights of 40 to 80 cm. They are cuddly at the sides of the road, under tall trees like trees and in the bed. Representatives of this size category are, for example, the ostrich fern and the common worm fern with its triple pinnate fronds. The large fern species reach up to 2 m high. These include the tree fern, highly poisonous bracken and the king fern.
Interesting varieties for the garden
Gardeners looking for something special can even find it in the ferns. There are tons of cultivars out there that look unusual and cause a stir:
- 'Ursula in Red': red and silvery-gray shimmering fronds
- 'Silver Falls': silvery-white fronds with a red central rib
- 'Purpurascens': copper-red fronds
- 'Gracilis': dwarf variety with great autumn colors
- 'Plumosum Densum': bronze-green, slightly curled fronds
- 'Brilliance': copper-orange fronds
The most popular indoor fern species
All indoor fern species need a shady location and care. Here is a selection:
- Sword fern: simply pinnate
- Nest fern: 100 cm high
- Antler fern: up to 1 m long fronds
- Maidenhair fern: 50 to 100 cm high, delicate fronds
- Golden potted fern: 60 cm long fronds, strongly pinnate
- Rib fern: 100 cm long fronds with wavy plumage
- Shield fern: triangular fronds, up to 25 cm long
Tips & Tricks
The rabbit foot fern is tolerant of drought. He gets along just fine with dry heating air in the living room.