The appeal of these small plants lies in subtle beauty, not overwhelming show. They sport charmingly detailed foliage, with thin-stemmed leaves divided into numerous narrow to rounded leaflets. Where hardy (down to 24F), they make nice rock garden plants and ground cover, but they are most popular as houseplants. Indoors, give them good light but protect from midday sun; feed monthly with a general-purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to half-strength.
P. mucronata. BIRD'S FOOT FERN. Zones US, MS, LS, CS, TS; USDA 6-11. Native from California to Texas. To 612 in. high and wide, with gray-green, airy-looking fronds and narrow leaflets arranged in groups of three. Little water. Good tucked into rock walls.
P. rotundifolia. BUTTON FERN. Zones CS, TS; USDA 9-11. Native to Australia, New Zealand. Neat little plant grows to 1 ft. high and 2 ft. wide, with spreading fronds divided into nearly round, evenly spaced leaflets. Pretty fern for contrast with finer-textured ferns or to show off in pots, baskets, or raised beds. Good ground cover. Regular water.
P. viridis. GREEN CLIFF-BRAKE. Zones CS, TS; USDA 9-11. Native to Africa. Grows to 1 ft. high and about as wide, with fronds consisting of fresh green, oval- to lance-shaped leaflets. Good as ground cover, in rock garden, in containers. Regular water.