Hardy Ferns are great plants for shady woodland gardens. They grow best in full shade and provide texture and height contrast when planted with Hostas. Some Hardy Ferns spread out via rhizomes and can be used as a groundcover to help control erosion.
Hardy Ferns are available in our 1G Deluxe Perennials.
Autumn Ferns show fall colors in the spring as well as the fall. The fine-textured fronds are a copper color when young then they turn green in the summer and bronze in the fall. In southern climates they are evergreen but in northern climates they will die back. It’s fronds are good as filler in floral arrangements.
Keep watered and fertilized for the first year while they are establishing their roots and they will flourish for years. Hardy Ferns prefer moist soil in shaded areas.
Plant in part sun to full shade 12″ to 18″ apart. Grows 18″ to 24″ tall.
Fortune’s Holly Fern is similar to the Japanese Holly Fern. It has leathery, light to medium green foliage along woody stems. It is evergreen and has long fronds up to 24″ long and an arching habit. It is one of the most cold hardy of all the holly fern cultivars. It is also deer and rabbit resistant.
Plant in full shade to part shade 12-18″ apart. Grows 12-24″ tall.
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Japanese Beech Fern has lush glossy green foliage. It is semi-evergreen and can spread to form large colonies via runners. This spreading makes it a good groundcover for heavy shade areas as well. It is a vigorous grower but can be easily controlled. It has an arching habit. Japanese Beech prefers soil with extra or above normal moisture, but will grow in average evenly moist soil conditions. It can be evergreen in warmer climates.
Plant in part shade to full shade 12-18″ apart. Grows 12-24″ tall.
Japanese Holly Ferns add interesting texture to a garden with its dark green foliage. This type of fern grows in a mound that can reach 1-2 feet high and 2-3 feet wide. Other ferns have delicate fronds but the Japanese Holly has holly-like leaflets called pinnae that are leathery. These fronds (stems and leaves) are tough and resilient and can hold up to tough windy conditions that can harm normal ferns. Japanese Holly is evergreen fern and it’s young fronds start out a light green and mature to dark green.
To keep your fern looking good, trim ragged fronds back to about 1-2 inches above the crown. Trimming too close could damage the crown. Make sure that the soil drains well to prevent root rot.
Plant in part sun to full shade 24″ to 30″ apart. Grows 24″ to 36″ tall.
Korean Rock Fern is a dwarf, evergreen fern with fronds that begin a dark purple and mature to a dark green. The leaflets are leathery with dark veining on dark stems that add a bit of contrast against the green. This fern is relatively fast growing and has a mounded habit.
It’s compact size works well in smaller gardens and containers. In the late winter or early spring before new growth begins to sprout, cut back the old spent fronds taking care not to damage the crown. Korean Rock prefers evenly moist soil with a lot of organic matter. It can struggle some during the hottest part of the summer.
Plant in part shade to full shade 14″ to 16” apart. Grows 12-16″ tall
Ostrich Fern is one of the most widely used hardy fern because of its perfect vase shape and bright green fronds that resemble ostrich feathers. They grow to about 3 or more feet and then arch at the tips. Because of their feathery appearance, they move gracefully in the breeze but prefer to be well protected from high winds. Ostrich Ferns are well suited as a specimen plant.
Unlike some other ferns, Ostrich ferns can be planted in moist, shady areas such as pond banks or damp borders. Runners spread out underground producing more of these beautiful ferns. Early in the spring is when the fiddleheads begin to sprout. These produce the tallest fronds and are followed in a few weeks by shorter fronds that will produce reproductive spores.
Plant in part shade to full shade20″ to 24” apart. Grows 24-60″ tall under ideal conditions.
Robust Male is an evergreen hardy fern. It’s fronds are medium green with darker green centers. Plants are robust and drought tolerant once established.
Plant in part shade to full shade 24-36″ apart and grows 36-48″ tall. Specimen plants can reach up to 5 feet wide and 5 feet tall.
Shaggy Shield Hardy Fern has textured fronds that are dark green with black stems. The stems have black scales. Leaflets are long, narrow and heavily serrated. Shaggy Shield does well in moist, shady areas and is evergreen in climates with mild winters. In the spring before new growth begins to emerge, trim back the old growth to tidy up the plant.
Plant in part shade to full shade 18-24” apart. Grows 18-24” tall.
Southern Wood Fern is a fast growing, deciduous fern with upright fronds and a fountain shaped habit. It has light to medium green foliage. It is a tough plant with strong garden performance. Southern Wood Fern is one of the best ferns for the South and provides year-round interest.
Southern Wood spreads through rhizomes that radiate outward underground. It’s spreading rhizomes form dense colonies. This southern native can live in wet or dry, shady conditions. It can be grown in full sun if kept sufficiently wet or if planted in a bog or pond edge.
Plant in part shade to full shade 18-24” apart. Grows 24-30” tall.