Grow Ferns Indoors: A Quick Guide to Adding Greenery to Your Home

Grow Ferns Indoors: A Quick Guide to Adding Greenery to Your Home

With their long, feathery fronds and lush, exotic appearance, ferns make beautiful indoor plants. The humidity and moisture from your daily shower make the bathroom the best spot to grow ferns. If you’re interested in growing ferns indoors, in pots, or learning to cultivate ferns from spores, read on:

Ferns thrive in humid, moist environments. Some of the best fern varieties to grow indoors are listed below.

  • Button Fern (Pellaea)
  • Holly Fern (Cyrtomium)
  • Boston Fern (Nephrolepis)
  • Rabbit’s Foot Fern (Davallia)
  • Staghorn Fern (Platycerium)
  • Silver Lady Fern (Blechnum gibbum)

If you have a large bathroom, the broad, bushy foliage of a Silver Lady Fern looks attractive.

Grow Ferns in Pots With This Quick DIY

What You’ll Need:

  • Decorative plant container
  • Plastic pot to fit inside
  • Bucket or container for mixing
  • Small gravel
  • Potting mix for houseplants
  • Slow-release granular fertilizer
  • Fern plant

Step 1

Pour houseplant potting mix into a bucket or container. Add a granular slow-release fertilizer, following packaging directions. Then, mix the potting soil and granules.

Step 2

Add a little gravel to the bottom of the plastic pot to improve drainage. Then, pour in the potting mix to fill the plastic pot halfway to the top.

Step 3

Remove the fern from its original container and place it in the plastic pot. Fill in around the roots and plant with additional potting mix/fertilizer blend. With your fingers, press the soil down gently around the plant.

Step 4

Add a thin layer of gravel on top of the potting mix and water well.

Caring for Your Fern

It’s easy to grow ferns as they are a very low-maintenance plant. Humidity, low light, and fertilizer are the necessities.

how to grow ferns indoors

Humidity –

Ferns do not tolerate dry conditions. Ferns are woodland plants that naturally thrive in the shaded, moist soil found under trees. You’ll know when your fern isn’t getting enough humidity when you notice the fronds begin to turn brown. Make sure your fern takes in plenty of moisture by:

  • Keeping the potting soil damp, but not soggy. You may need to water the plant a little, daily.
  • In the spring and summer, water ferns well. In the winter, water just until the soil is moist.
  • Mist your fern, with room temperature, soft water, preferably in the a.m.
  • Fill a shallow tray with pebbles. Sit your fern on top. Finally, add just enough water to the tray to touch the bottom of the pot.
Light requirements-

Ferns in their natural environment thrive in dappled sunlight, under the leafy canopy of trees. Your indoor fern will need a similar amount of bright, indirect light to grow. You’ll know when your fern isn’t getting enough light when you see slow growth and yellowing fronds. Few ferns will tolerate full sunlight.


In the spring and summer feed your fern every two to four weeks with a mixture of tepid water and a few drops of liquid fertilizer. Occasionally add a few drops of liquid fertilizer to your spray mister. Ferns ‘sleep’ in the winter, so no feeding is required.

how to grow fern from spores
How to Grow Ferns from Spores

Patience and some skill are required when propagating new ferns from spores. Ferns are a unique plant because they reproduce by spores. Spores are in casings (sporangia) located on the underside of the fronds.

Step 1- Locate the ripe spores by looking on the back of a frond for cinnamon brown colored dots or lines.

Step 2- Trim a frond section with pruning scissors.  Place it between two sheets of paper loosely taped together.

Step 3- Also store the frond in a dry, warm, draft-free spot for approximately two weeks.

Step 4- Carefully open the sheets of paper. You’ll see a mix of spores and leaf debris.

Step 5- Separate the leaf debris from the spores by holding the sheet on a slant and lightly tapping the paper. Additionally, the heavier debris will fall from the paper. The lighter spores will remain stuck to the paper.

Step 6- Gently fold the paper in half, lengthwise and tap again to slide the spores into the fold.

Step 7- Sprinkle the spores on top of the potting soil and place the pot near a window.

Step 8- Patiently wait. It will take 6 to 8 weeks for tiny flat, leaf-like plants to appear. Also, keep the potting soil moist. Thin the sprouts to one to two per 3″ area.

Step 9- After an another 6 to 8 weeks, little ferns will emerge. When the first fronds grow to 1/2″ in height, thin them to 3″ apart.

Step 10- Lastly, plant your new ferns in a part shade location. Check them regularly, the first year to make sure they have plenty of water and a humid environment to grow.

Adding greenery to your home can give any room a fresh look. Ferns especially make the perfect addition to any bathroom.  The simple necessities of humidity, low light, and fertilizer make growing a fern in your bathroom so simple.

Find out which indoor plant suits your bathroom best here.

Want to learn more about fall gardening? Click here.

Ferns make beautiful indoor plants to decorate your home with. Bathrooms are a great location to keep ferns as mositure and humidity is very beneficial to these plants. Learn more about care and grow ferns from spores.
Learn how to grow, care for and propagate ferns with our guide!