List of ferns

There are more than 20,000 known species of ferns, so this could, in principle, be a very long list. However, here are some of the most popular, common, and beautiful ferns that decorate gardens around the world.

Alphabetical list (common names)

Autumn fern

  • Dryopteris erythrosora
  • Semi-evergreen
  • Full or partial shade, and full sun
  • Height: up to 1 m
  • Soil: tolerant of most pH and drainage conditions.

Bird’s nest fern

  • Asplenium nidus
  • Evergreen
  • Partial or full shade
  • Height: up to 1 m
  • Soil: acid or neutral. Moist, well-drained.

Boston fern

  • Nephrolepis exaltata
  • Evergreen
  • Partial shade
  • Height: up to 1 m
  • Soil: acid or neutral. Moist, well-drained.

Carrot fern

  • Onychium japonicum
  • Deciduous
  • Prefers partial shade
  • Height: up to 0.5 m
  • Soil: acid, neutral or alkaline. Moist, well-drained.

Image Credit: Keisotyo

Christmas fern

  • Polystichum acrostichoides
  • Evergreen
  • Partial shade
  • Height: up to 1 m
  • Soil: acid, neutral or alkaline. Moist, well-drained.

Cinnamon fern

  • Osmunda cinnamomea
  • Deciduous
  • Prefers partial shade
  • Height: up to 1.5 m
  • Soil: acid. Moist, poor drainage tolerated.

Common bracken

  • Pteridium aquilinum
  • Deciduous
  • Prefers partial shade or full sun
  • Height: up to 1 m
  • Soil: acid, neutral or alkaline. Moist, well-drained.

Common polypody

  • Polypodium vulgare
  • Evergreen
  • Partial shade or full sun
  • Height: up to 0.5 m
  • Soil: Neutral or alkaline. Moist, well-drained.

Crocodile fern

  • Microsorum musifolium
  • Evergreen
  • Partial to full shade
  • Height: up to 1 m
  • Soil: Acid or neutral. Moist, well-drained.

Hairy lip fern

  • Cheilanthes lanosa
  • Evergreen
  • Full sun
  • Height: up to 0.5 m
  • Soil: acid, neutral or alkaline. Moist, well-drained.

Image credit: Krzysztof Ziarnek

Hard fern

  • Blechnum spicant
  • Evergreen
  • Prefers partial or full shade
  • Height: up to 0.5 m
  • Soil: acid or neutral. Moist, poor-drainage tolerated.

Hart’s tongue fern

  • Asplenium scolopendrium
  • Evergreen
  • Prefers partial or full shade
  • Height: up to 0.5 m
  • Soil: alkaline or neutral. Moist, well drained.

Hay-scented fern

  • Dennstaedtia punctilobula
  • Deciduous
  • Full or partial shade
  • Height: up to 1 m
  • Soil: acid or neutral. Moist, well-drained, and tolerates dry soil.

Heart fern

  • Hemionitis arifolia
  • Evergreen
  • Prefers partial shade or indirect light
  • Height: up to 0.5 m
  • Soil: neutral. Moist, well-drained.

Image credit: Krzysztof Ziarnek

Holly fern

  • Cyrtomium falcatum
  • Evergreen or semi-evergreen
  • Full or partial shade
  • Height: up to 1 m
  • Soil: acid, neutral or alkaline. Moist, well-drained.

Interrupted fern

  • Osmunda claytoniana
  • Deciduous
  • Prefers partial shade
  • Height: up to 1 m
  • Soil: acid. Moist, poor drainage tolerated.

Japanese painted fern

  • Athyrium niponicum
  • Deciduous
  • Prefers partial shade
  • Height: up to 0.5 m
  • Soil: acid, neutral or alkaline. Moist, well-drained.

Kangaroo paw fern

  • Microsorum diversifolium
  • Evergreen
  • Prefers partial shade
  • Height: up to 0.5 m
  • Soil: acid or neutral. Moist, well-drained.

King fern

  • Dryopteris affinis
  • Semi-evergreen
  • Shade, partial or full sun
  • Height: up to 1.5 m
  • Soil: acid, neutral or alkaline. Moist, well-drained.

Lady fern

  • Athyrium filix-femina
  • Deciduous
  • Prefers partial or full shade
  • Height: up to 1 m
  • Soil: acid or neutral. Moist, poor drainage tolerated.

Lemon button fern

  • Nephrolepis cordifolia (duffii)
  • Evergreen
  • Partial shade
  • Height: up to 0.5 m
  • Soil: acid or neutral. Moist, well-drained.

Macho fern

  • Nephrolepis biserrata
  • Evergreen
  • Partial or full shade
  • Height: up to 2 m
  • Soil: acid or neutral. Moist, well-drained

Maidenhair fern

  • Adiantum raddianum
  • Evergreen
  • Partial shade
  • Height: up to 0.5 m
  • Soil: neutral or alkaline. Moist, well-drained.

Maidenhair spleenwort

  • Asplenium trichomanes
  • Evergreen
  • Full or partial shade
  • Height: up to 0.3 m
  • Soil: neutral or alkaline. Moist, well-drained.

Male fern

  • Dryopteris filix-mas
  • Deciduous
  • Prefers partial or full shade
  • Height: up to 1.5 m
  • Soil: acid, neutral or alkaline. Moist, poor drainage tolerated.

Marsh fern

  • Thelypteris palustris
  • Deciduous
  • Partial or full shade
  • Height: up to 1 m
  • Soil: acid or neutral. Moist, tolerates poor drainage.

Northern maidenhair fern

  • Adiantum pedatum
  • Deciduous
  • Partial or full shade
  • Height: up to 0.5 m
  • Soil: acid, neutral or alkaline. Moist, well-drained.

Oriental chain fern

  • Woodwardia orientalis
  • Evergreen
  • Prefers partial shade
  • Height: up to 1.5 m
  • Soil: acid or neutral. Moist, tolerates poor drainage.

Ostrich fern

  • Matteuccia struthiopteris
  • Deciduous
  • Full or partial shade
  • Height: up to 1.5 m
  • Soil: acid or neutral. Moist, well-drained.

Rabbit’s foot fern

  • Davallia solida (var. fejeensis)
  • Evergreen
  • Partial shade
  • Height: up to 1 m
  • Soil: acid or neutral. Moist, well-drained.

Royal fern

  • Osmunda regalis
  • Deciduous
  • Full or partial shade, and full sun
  • Height: up to 2.5 m
  • Soil: acid, neutral or alkaline. Moist, poor drainage tolerated.

Sensitive fern

  • Onoclea sensibilis
  • Deciduous
  • Full or partial shade
  • Height: up to 0.5 m
  • Soil: acid or neutral. Moist, poor drainage tolerated.

Silver brake fern

  • Pteris argyraea
  • Evergreen
  • Prefers partial shade
  • Height: up to 0.5 m
  • Soil: acid or neutral. Moist, well-drained.

Soft tree fern

  • Dicksonia antarctica
  • Evergreen or semi-evergreen
  • Full or partial shade
  • Height: up to 4 m
  • Soil: acid or neutral. Moist, well-drained.

Southern wood fern

  • Dryopteris ludoviciana
  • Semi-evergreen
  • Prefers full or partial shade
  • Height: up to 1.5 m
  • Soil: acid, neutral or alkaline. Moist, tolerates poor drainage.

Staghorn fern

  • Platycerium bifurcatum
  • Evergreen
  • Prefers partial shade
  • Height: up to 1 m
  • Epiphytic (but can be grown on loam). Keep moist, well-drained.

Sunset fern

  • Dryopteris lepidopoda
  • Semi-evergreen
  • Full or partial shade
  • Height: up to 1 m
  • Soil: acid or neutral. Moist, well-drained.

Woolly lip fern

  • Cheilanthes tomentosa
  • Evergreen
  • Full sun
  • Height: up to 0.5 m
  • Soil: acid or neutral. Moist, well-drained.