fern garden ideas

25 Fern Garden Ideas That Offer Tropical Atmosphere

Before we share our fern garden ideas, let’s get to know ferns more. Ferns are tropical plants that show off their beauty through their green fronds. Unlike most plants, they grow thick and spread quickly because they reproduce by spores. Generally, ferns grow in shady areas with high humidity, such as along streams or waterfalls.

However, these green plants are also generally grown as ornamental plants because of their unique foliage. They add greenery to the landscape, offering a relaxed, fresh, and shady tropical rainforest atmosphere. If you are interested in changing the theme of your garden with ferns, you can check out our fern garden ideas below and find one that suits your taste! From the outdoor, indoor, and patio fern gardens, we have gotten all covered!

Fresh Outdoor Fern Garden Ideas

It would be nice to have a green garden that will pamper your eyes with its greenery. Especially with tropical ferns that grow thickly to show off their lush leaves during the growing season. Interested? Take a peek below!

1. Rock Fern Garden

fern garden ideas
Source: Pinterest (@blog.longfield-gardens.com)

Combining rocks with ferns may be a great idea to adorn your landscape. The gray color of the stones will be a neutral background to highlight the light green foliage of these wood ferns. You can choose the limestone that has a broad surface and then stick it vertically to make a garden border. Then, plant the ferns inside the edge by leaving a distance of about 2-3 feet to avoid overgrowing.

2. Scene Fine Garden

fern garden ideas
Source: Pinterest (@finegardening.com)

Growing ferns near a bird bath will entertain your avian friends while having a quick dip. With such foliage, the ferns offer another texture among other leafy plants. Moreover, you can create this scenic garden by arranging river rocks, caladiums, and hostas that have different colors, textures, and heights. Some ornamental grasses may also work great to cover the ground. Add tiny light lamps underneath the bath that will beautifully shine at night to make it more attractive.

3. Tree Stump Gardening With Ferns

fern garden ideas
Source: Pinterest (@Van Meuwen)

Do you have a tree stump in your garden? Don’t throw it away! Instead, turn it into a natural planter for your ferns. All you need to do is to prepare potting soil while checking the tree. If it doesn’t have holes, then create one as a planting location. Next, gently take out the root balls of the ferns, put them in the hole, and cover them with the soil. You can just let it be like that or decorate the stump with other plants to liven up your garden.

4. Vibrant Fern Garden

fern garden ideas
Source: Pinterest (@Fine Gardening Magazine)

Some people love only greenery, but others prefer some bright touches on their garden. Suppose you are the second person. In that case, you may try this fern garden idea. The magenta color of the flowering plants stands out among the dense foliage of ferns and other leafy plants, like a light in the dark. But cool, they are not overpowering. Besides pink or magenta, you can choose flowering shrubs or plants with softer colors, such as yellow or orange.

5. Driveway Bordering

Driveway Bordering
Source: Pinterest (@Dwell)

Besides growing ferns in pots, you can make a garden fern border with foxtail ferns! The neat, curved shape of the fronds with lime green color makes them look similar to succulents. But indeed, they are a fabulous duo to plant side by side as a garden edge or driveway border. After that, add decorative stones or grow lawns to add aesthetic value and cover the ground.

6. Foxtail Fern Landscaping Design

Foxtail Fern Landscaping Design
Source: Pinterest (@hubpages.com)

Another foxtail ferns to landscape your outdoor space. This time, it is not for garden borders. Instead, they enliven the corner area that is unfortunately left empty. Unlike bordering, which requires you to trim them to keep them small, this design allows you to let them grow tall. In addition, grow some other stunning flowering plants around to balance the color shade of the garden.

7. Tropical Forest Garden

Tropical Forest Garden
Source: Pinterest (@Tenniswood Inspiration)

Creating a tropical forest garden does not require you to have a large area of land. With potted ferns, you can already bring the tropical atmosphere to your home. Choose a wide fern planter to grow foxtail fern. Also, combine it with other plants with dense green foliage to boost the shady and relaxing atmosphere of the forest. Arrange them to provide various layers and thick greenery in your small garden.

8. Backyard Fern Garden

fern garden ideas
Source: Pinterest (@Aquascape Inc)

Instead of mimicking a forest canopy, this backyard fern garden layout adopts a tropical rainforest floor landscape. Featuring moss and lawns growing between stone paths, your garden entrance looks like entering a tropical rainforest. Furthermore, the hay-scented ferns growing on the side of the road enhance the atmosphere even more. It is simple yet mingling, a perfect one for those who adore the minimalist concept.

9. Green Garden Design

fern garden ideas
Source: Pinterest (@hannashantverk.blogspot.com)

Even though all the plants here have green leaves, it doesn’t look plain. This is because it plays with the texture of each component in this green garden design. The ferns offer long fronds, while the potted plants provide small foliage with white veins. Meanwhile, the vines serve like vines in tropical forest trees, and the stones add earth elements.

10. Front Yard Landscaping

fern garden ideas
Source: flickr (@Adam Woodruff)

Seeing this arrangement seems to take you to the fairy world. The fronds of the foxtail ferns seem to dance beautifully, thanks to their arching shapes. Meanwhile, the low-growing plants offer purple blooms that beautifully act as ground covers and add a soft touch to the landscape. Meanwhile, the flowering plant next to the ferns shows off its yellow flowers that offer a colorful layer to this garden border.

Indoor Vertical Garden Ferns

While outdoor fern garden ideas can offer lavish green to your outdoor spaces, the vertical fern garden will provide extra oxygen indoors. It also decors your empty wall with lush green, bringing a tropical vibe right in front of you. Check them out!

11. Lavish Colorful Vertical Garden

fern garden ideas
Source: Pinterest (@verdevertical.com)

This vertical garden will make you feel like you are in the middle of the jungle! The combination of ferns, moss, vines and other tropical plants stunningly blends in to create captivating indoor greenery. Moreover, the stone wall adds a natural feel to this arrangement. Meanwhile, the wooden floor adds an excellent finish touch that will make you want to stay longer in this spot. Place a set of chairs and a table to enjoy this scenery as long as you please!

12. Forest Canopy Arrangement

Forest Canopy Arrangement
Source: Pinterest (@Christine Grant)

The dominance of vines with trailing leaves and staghorn ferns makes this arrangement look like a forest canopy at first glance, offering shade to the landscape. Despite being a vertical garden, the vibes feel like being in a real tropical rainforest. Add a mini indoor fountain as a water feature to elevate the atmosphere. The sound of splashing describes the flow of a river that gives calm.

13. Fern Wall Arrangement

fern garden ideas
Source: Pinterest (@Marina Penteado)

Perhaps, it is slightly different from the previous ones that highlight lush greenery for the wall. This one looks more simple and neat but still fresh. The ferns and leafy plants with brilliant variegation grow on a portable board that makes it easy for you to move them wherever you want. So, you don’t need to disassemble the design that you have made. For example, you want to move house. In addition, you can adjust the size of the boards according to your taste.

14. Small Balcony Fern Garden

Small Balcony Fern Garden
Source: Pinterest (@facilisimo.com)

Have an indoor balcony but are confused about how to decorate it? Let’s try this small balcony fern garden decor! You can rely on this one to make a comfy spot to have a chat with your family or just simply read a book. Provide an empty wall or a board that is adjusted to the width and length of your wall. Then, grow Japanese tassel and maidenhair fern that will add different textures to your indoor area.

15. Dining Fern Wall Design

Dining Fern Wall Design
Source: Pinterest (@Florafelt Living Wall Systems)

Add a fern wall design to create a different atmosphere in your dining room! Instead of leaving it empty, you can grow various tropical plants. Some of the most popular ones are maidenhair fern, staghorn fern, caladiums, and Calatheas, which offer distinctive shades, layers, and textures. In addition, a fresh and relaxed atmosphere may add to the room’s comfort while eating food and chatting with family.

16. Vertical Staghorn Fern Garden

fern garden ideas
Source: Pinterest (@Pistils Nursery)

Wall gardening with ferns is not synonymous with thick leaves. If you prefer modern design but still include ferns, you may love this vertical staghorn fern garden. Although with only one type of plant, you will not be bored because the leaves of the staghorn fern add greenery against the plain white wall. Moreover, the arrangement uses wooden boards that mimic the habitat of the staghorn fern in the trees.

17. Pegboards Fern Wall Arrangement

fern garden ideas
Source: Pinterest (@Home Hacks)

Do you have used pegboards in your garage? Turn it into a fern wall arrangement! It is easy and, of course, affordable. Don’t forget to clean the board and prepare all the equipment to make a wall garden, such as green moss, hardware, and twine. You can also try to grow other ferns, like the maidenhair fern with dangling leaves to add different layers. Then, mount it on the wall in your living room or balcony. It will spark tropical vibes wherever it resides.

18. Minimalist Wall Gardening

fern garden ideas
Source: Pinterest (@plantsonwalls.blogspot.com)

Some of you want a simple design with little to no effort to make a fern garden. And here, we grant your wish! It is an effortless vertical garden that will give a tropical touch to your indoor space but will not overwhelm your home’s minimalist design. You can grow several ferns here. However, we recommend Holly fern, Japanese painted fern and hay-scented fern that will offer layers but with similar shapes. The colors also blend smoothly, adding a gleaming touch to the landscape.

19. Green Moss And Fern Vertical Garden

fern garden ideas
Source: Pinterest (@dangergarden.blogspot.com)

Green moss and staghorn ferns make an ideal combo for a tropical and vertical garden. The ferns give bold texture with their long, feathery, fan-shaped leaves. Meanwhile, the mosses perfectly represent the damp, forest floor-like layers. You can try to add other tropical plants or ferns to enhance the tropical vibes. Choose the black board or wooden board to keep this arrangement looking natural.

20. Solid Green Wall Garden Ferns

Solid Green Wall Garden Ferns
Source: Pinterest (@Marisa Lima)

It is a true definition of solid green and dense vertical fern garden. A few  ferns include staghorn, hay-scented, and maidenhair fern that grow beautifully in this vertical wall garden. Not to mention some other tropical plants that elevate the atmosphere. You can also see the ornamental vines or grasses with dangling leaves, making it more like an indoor tropical forest.

Small Porch Fern Landscaping Ideas

Even if you only have narrow patios, it does not mean you cannot adorn them with ferns. Instead, it is your time to explore your creativity to make the ferns a center point of your porch. Are you ready? Let’s get into it!

21. Tiny Balcony Garden Ferns

fern garden ideas
Source: Pinterest (@Hoselink Australia)

This layout turns your apartment balcony into a dazzling fern garden in the summer. The ferns are lushly growing on the hanging planter, adding greenery and fresh vibes to your vibrant orange porch. Meanwhile, the trailing vines grow downwards, resembling vines growing on tree branches in a tropical forest. And look at the flowering plants! The white blooms offer a soft touch among the lavish foliage.

22. Shade Terrace

fern garden ideas
Source: Pinterest (@melindajennings.blogspot.com)

Offer a shady spot on your terrace by hanging some potted hay-scented ferns. The thick foliage creates a great advantage, protecting you from the sun exposure that shines on the porch. Besides, they also make an excellent feature with the pink flowers, allowing them to stand out amid the greenery. As the ferns love the shade, make sure you place them in the north-facing area to avoid the bright direct sunlight.

23. Semi Outdoor Fern Landscape Arrangement

Semi Outdoor Fern Landscape Arrangement
Source: Pinterest (@Julie Hutson)

With this landscape design, you won’t need anything else to decorate your terrace. Just hang some of the dense-growing ferns on both wings of your entrance to spark a tropical theme despite living in the arid region. In addition, those tropical plants also protect you from blinding sunlight. Therefore, you can peacefully enjoy your tea or chill with your friends in the late afternoon.

24. Welcome Front Entrance Design

Welcome Front Entrance Design
Source: Pinterest (@Dawn Silva)

If you prefer not to hang the ferns, you can give this design a try! Basically, these are ferns that are planted in pots and placed on your doorstep. Perhaps, this looks simple but can be fascinating because it provides a green atmosphere in the middle of an area dominated by dark colors. We recommend adding a set of chairs and a table to chat with your guests. You can still highlight the modernity and minimalism of your terrace, but with a beautiful tropical touch.

25. Outdoor Porch Decor With Ferns

Outdoor Porch Decor With Ferns
Source: Pinterest (@Love The Day)

Sync the green theme on your patio with ferns! The dense fern leaves hanging beautifully on the container make the tropical atmosphere even more pronounced. Moreover, the green nuances of the existing chairs and tables highlight the theme with the growing lawns adorning this area. You can also add a standing planter near your chairs and grow ferns or other tropical plants there.


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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

How do you make a fern garden?

Creating a fern garden is relatively easy for those living within the US hardiness zones 8 and 9. But for those outside the growing zones, you may want to prepare some steps prior to planting. We have summed up some of the preparations you can follow:

  1. Prepare growing requirements: As tropical plants, they will thrive in the shade garden. Also, most ferns prefer moist soil. So, make sure you have such conditions first before planting ferns.
  2. Choose the layout. It is an important stage before you plant the ferns. You can try some fern garden ideas, including vertical gardens, balcony gardens, hanging gardens, or tropical outdoor garden designs. Pick one that is suitable for the area you live in.
  3. Pick your favorite ferns! There are some popular ferns to grow in the fern garden, such as Christmas fern, ostrich fern, Japanese painted fern, autumn fern, and tall ferns.
  4. Find out the fern companion plants. It will be great to offer companion plants as they will spice up your fern garden design. Some plants that are commonly grown together with ferns are ornamental grasses, caladiums, and hostas.
  5. Complete it with garden knick-knacks. Besides ferns and their companion plants, you can add more decorations like garden lamps that create interest in your outdoor area. In addition, try to make flower beds or grow deciduous trees to elevate the tropical vibes even more!

What can you plant next to ferns?

Ferns are not fussy about their companion plants as long as they share similar growing conditions. However, several plants make the best mutualism with ferns, such as hostas, caladiums, and dicentras. They provide various textures that draw eyes to your garden. In addition, astilbe, hellebore, and barrenwort are also great to plant with ferns.

Where should I plant a fern in my garden?

Like other tropical plants whose habitat is in tropical forests, ferns grow under shade. Hence, any shady site will be the best place for ferns to thrive. However, some ferns, such as ostrich ferns and osmunda ferns, can tolerate partial sun exposure. Additionally, they favor moist soil. Therefore, prepare the ground first before planting.

How quickly do ferns spread?

Since they reproduce by spores, it is not surprising that they spread rapidly. Among all ferns, ostrich ferns are one of the fastest spreading ferns. In one growing season, they can invade and dominate your garden so that they can interfere with other plants. Therefore, you must pay attention to its growth and immediately prune it when it occurs.

Furthermore, most ferns take time to grow and are considered slow-growing plants. They generally take 5-10 years after planting to reach their mature stage. Some can get around 3 to 6 feet tall, like ostrich ferns, while others stay only a few inches.

What shrubs look good with ferns?

Azaleas are one of the most stunning shrubs you can plant together with ferns. Azaleas share similar planting requirements with ferns, favoring damp soil and shade locations. They will also provide a colorful touch to your fern gardens. In addition, they grow tall and lush with blooms, creating a perfect shade for ferns that grow under them.

How far apart do you plant ferns?

Provide at least two feet of space between one fern and another. It will avoid nutrient competition between plants and allow the roots to develop properly. First, dig a hole the size of their root ball. Make sure it also has a width twice its size. Second, gently remove the young ferns from the pot and transplant them into the hole you’ve prepared. Lastly, pour the soil into the hole.

What time of the year do you plant ferns?

Like other plants, ferns are best planted in spring. During this time, the soil warms and keeps its humidity. The sun also shines not too bright! Moreover, it allows your ferns to grow before the frost comes again in the following seasons.

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