“Just as a fossil is 'petrified time,' so is an ancient artifact or text.” - Adrienne Mayor
Predating history, the dinosaurs, and even most plants as we know them, the fern has been a staple of lush forest landscapes since before flowers were cool.
Ferns themselves are living fossils all the way from the Devonian period, and predate most of the plants we’re familiar with by much more than a few million years. Ferns filled prehistoric forests and were the favourite food of some of the most legendary dinosaurs, like the stegosaurus and triceratops!
The giant dinosaurs of the museum may not be making a comeback to roam the earth any time soon. However, any of us could have a prehistoric addition to our house with the fern - a type of plant that has been doing its thing for hundreds of millions of years.
Ferns are beautiful, simple, and undeniably cool. They’ve been in and out of the spotlight for centuries and - surprise - they’re in again! People these days love them for their unique look and the lush, relaxed and dignified vibe that they bring to whatever room they’re in.
Making Your Fern at Home
The best thing about ferns is they figured out how to thrive about 360 million years ago, and haven’t changed much since. Take home a fern and you’re taking home a plant that has been trialed and perfected over the course of the last geological eon. They’ve got this ‘survival’ thing on lock, making them beyond easy to care for.
Low-Light Plants: One of the ideal qualities of ferns is that they are basically designed for low lighting conditions. Most varieties of fern will actually perform better without direct sunlight. As long as they aren’t in total darkness, a fern will thrive in corners where tropical plants might struggle.
Watering: As the beautiful and lush plants they are, ferns are going to be happier with consistent moisture. A good watering schedule is a great place to start, but humidity could make a huge difference for your buddy. If you don’t have a humidifier, keeping a spray bottle nearby could help keep your fern at its best with a daily spritz of mist. Your fern might pout a little if it dries out, but will recover quickly if you give it a drink.
Space: You’ll know your fern is healthy and happy when it grows fast! It’s common for your fern to eventually outgrow its container and need a little more room. Repotting into a bigger container can give them more room to stretch out. If your fern is getting a little big for its boots, they don’t mind being divided up into smaller plants either. You could easily end up with your own prehistoric jungle, with some time and love.
Ferns are the plant that loves you back! As a reward for caring for your leafy friend, many of them are air-cleaning powerhouses that take care of you as you take care of them. While some types are hungrier for airborne toxins than others, many ferns will gladly strip benzene, formaldehyde, toluene and xylene from the air, while adding a boost of humidity.
One of the original houseplants, ferns have captured imaginations for centuries. While they might be ancient, ferns certainly don’t feel overly old-fashioned. These plants are beautiful and striking, and no doubt have one of the coolest histories of any of your houseplants.