Many people I speak to don’t realise that there are many Australian native plants that do well indoors. Wandering around our local nursery I realise there is likely a very good reason for that – not a single native plant I spotted included that on the label. That may be just one experience, but I do think some clear labelling would go a long way to helping people choose native. When I first started buying for inside I would Google every plant name to check the origin, it was very time consuming.
Now I have to confess, I am still very new to indoor plants. We have 2 African violets that I have tended for years. That was the full extent of my knowledge until recently.
So it goes without saying, these three Australian native plants are all perfect for beginners! They are easy care, low fuss and very beautiful. You really must try at least one.
Australia’s bird’s nest ferns make wonderful indoor plants. Outside in the garden they can grow large very quickly, but inside in a pot their growth is slower so you will get many years from a young plant. Their leaves are glossy and tough. With good light they will grow well. I have to admit I am very inconsistent with my watering of indoor plants. I mean really quite badly. It probably amounts to plant torture. But these plants tolerate periods of dry and wet without showing any signs of abuse. The only critical thing to remember is to keep them from prolonged direct sun, and put it in the shower from time to time to wash dust from the leaves.
Rasp Fern – Doodia aspera
This native fern is prettier than the name would have you believe. The fronds have a tough raspy texture and a very matt appearance, not glossy at all. The prettiness comes from the new fronds which unfurl in shades of pink and lime green. I have seen it called Ruby Raspberry as a common name.
Doodia genus ferns generally handle drier conditions. So this plant will tolerate occasional neglect. It has taken me some time to get that balance right though, and I have definitely found potting up into a heavily perlite based mix does help. If you are someone used to growing Maidenhair ferns then this fern will need less water. If you let it dry out too much you will get some browning leaves or tips. I have a few on mine as you can see, but I think I have found a good balance lately, and the beauty of this native fern is it is tough and tolerant of beginner mistakes. It is a great indoor plant to try even if you have failed with other ferns.
Kangaroo Fern – Microsorum diversifolium
The Kangaroo fern is easy care in a bright spot indoors with glossy bright green leaves. The kangaroo part of the name refers to the mature leaves which are shaped a little like paws. But you will notice the second part of it’s Latin name – diversifolium. The leaf shapes are very variable, even on a single plant as it grows. And immature plants may not have any kangaroo paw shaped leaves at all, so don’t be fooled.
Like the other plants on this list the Kangaroo fern is great for beginners. I have found it needs a little more consistency in moisture than the others mentioned here. But it is less prone to browning, so if you mistreat it nobody will ever guess as it will bounce back once you get your watering back on schedule.
Another of my favourite Australian native plants for indoors is Peperomia blanda. Now this one might be a little harder to find – but it is worth the hunt!
It has lovely thick succulent like leaves. It is great for low light areas as it naturally grows in full shade on mossy rocks and logs in dry rainforest. Don’t water it too much though! Regular misting is better than lots of water as that is more similar to it’s natural environment. That makes it a great plant for your bathroom in particular.
Climbing Maidenhair Fern – Lygodium microphyllum
The Climbing Maidenhair Fern is a hardy Australian native fern in pots. I find it is easier to keep than the traditional maidenhair, which I must admit I don’t have much success with. It is ideal for hanging pots and trailing over high shelves and bookcases.
It is naturally found is moist shady areas, so you would do well to keep it in a bathroom too, or importantly don’t place it near heaters and air conditioners that dry the air. I find a daily misting of water is just what it needs!
WARNING for USA visitors – this plant may be an invasive weed in your area. This post is intended for Australian audiences.
Necklace Fern – Asplenium flabellifolium
Another of my favourites is the Necklace Fern –
Asplenium flabellifolium. It is a sweet little indoor plant and very easy to care for. It is a ground cover fern, so looks best when hanging down from the pot or trained on a support. I found it prefers a bright position without direct sunlight, such as a south facing window, and daily misting rather than too frequent watering.
I hope this list has inspired you to try an Australian native plant indoors! If you are growing other species inside please drop a note in the comments below to share your experience.