Ferns are a great choice for almost any garden, they are generally deer resistant and provide beauty and interest to woodland gardens. Find the right choice for your site from the options below:
Five Finger Maidenhair Fern is a lovely woodland native, thriving in moist humus rich soils. Preferring cool summer temperatures, Adiantum pedatum is hardy all the way to zone 2. The bright green airy fronds are made more attractive by the shiny wiry black stems. Since Adiantum pedatum spreads by rhizomes on the surface of moist soils, it can eventually form an excellent woodland groundcover. This fern will not perform well in full sun or hot summer sites.
Asplenium scolopendrium is an evergreen European fern with a tropical feel, perfect for spicing up the shady border, winter garden, cottage garden, or container with its strappy, bright green fronds that stay lovely and lush all year round. A winner of the coveted Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society for its low maintenance, compact habit and outstanding, long-lasting performance in the garden. The centipede-like brown sori on the undersides of the fronds give this plant its specific epithet, which comes from the Greek term “skolopenda” to describe the creepy-crawlies. Meanwhile, its common name, Hart’s Tongue Fern, refers to the apparent resemblance of the wavy, strappy fronds to a deer’s tongue (a “hart” is a red male deer, also called a “stag”, that is generally older than five years of age). Tolerant of heavy shade, rabbits, and deer browsing.
Lady Fern has green lacy foliage, and is a deciduous clump. It is relatively sun tolerant, in spite of its fine foliage. Athyrium filix-femina is found in rich moist woods, thickets, fields, meadows and ravines throughout northern North America. A good filler for moist woodland gardens.
The medium green delicate foliage of 'Lady in Red' Lady Fern is set off by deep burgundy red stems for a striking effect. Athyrium filix-femina Lady In Red grows slightly smaller than the species. A deciduous clump.
Japanese Painted Fern has very showy fronds, soft grayish green with an overlay of silvery hues accented by contrasting dark maroon midribs. Fronds will become greener with the summer heat. It is a deciduous creeper. Athyrium nipponicum 'Pictum' was the 2004 Perennial Plant of the Year.
‘Regal Red’ Japanese Painted Fern lights up shady spots with a beautiful combination of silver and burgundy red coloration on the delicately cut fronds. The dark red is displayed primarily on the interior of the frond, and it leaches outward to bright silver outer edges. Although a slow spreader, Athyrium nipponicum ‘Regal Red’ will eventually colonize a shady location well.
'Ghost' Lady Fern is a hybrid of A. filix-femina and A. nipponicum 'Pictum'. This fern combines the best of its parents in its brilliant silvery coloring on a light green background. The habit of Athyrium x 'Ghost' is somewhat upright and the color lights up dark spots amazingly. A deciduous clump which slowly widens, 'Ghost' was found in a garden in Richmond, Virginia as a spontaneous seedling.
Hay-scented Fern has lacy green foliage that will take somewhat dry, relatively sunny sites. Dennstaedtia punctilobula is a deciduous spreader that can handle poor soils well. When the fronds are brushed against, they release the smell of fresh cut hay. Native to open woods and wooded banks in the eastern and midwestern US.
Brilliance™ Autumn Fern was selected for its striking new fronds which emerge throughout the spring and summer in shades of salmon, copper and orange. The semi-evergreen fronds then mature to glossy medium green, adding a bright note to woodland settings. Since Autumn Ferns spread slowly by rhizomes, they make a good groundcover in shady sites. Consistent moisture is needed to promote new frond production.
PRN Preferred: Bronze new growth all spring and summer. Looks good throughout most of the winter.
Robust Male Fern has dark green foliage, and does well in deep shade, as well as in sun. Dryopteris filix-mas is a deciduous clump. Highly adaptable because it is relatively sun tolerant. Dryopteris filix-mas is refered to as Male Fern because it was thought to be the male version of Athyrium filix-femina (Lady Fern).
Evergreen Wood Fern has dark green, leathery foliage and tolerates relatively dry sites and deep shade. Dryopteris marginalis is an evergreen clump that performs well on forest edges. The foliage remains green through much of the winter, dying back in early spring as new fiddleheads emerge.
‘Jurassic Gold’ (‘Hollasic’) Wallich’s Wood Fern has amazing spring fronds in shades of yellow, gold and orange. The semi-evergreen foliage matures to bright green in summer, forming an attractive clump that lights up shady locations. Dryopteris ‘Jurassic Gold’ is named for is named for the Jurassic Coast in Southern England, but I assume that is also a nod to the fact that Ferns are a very ancient plant group. The very striking fronds make ‘Jurassic Gold’ a good container candidate for shady locations.
Dixie Wood Fern has shiny green foliage which is large and dramatic. It is a vigorous cross between the Log Fern and the Southern Wood Fern. A large, semi-evergreen clump. Dryopteris x australis has a clumping fern with a tall upright arching appearance. 2021 PHS Gold Medal Plant.
Ostrich Fern has edible fiddleheads in the spring, followed by tall upward to arching green fronds. The finely dissected sterile fronds exhibit a feathery appearance resembling long Ostrich plumes, hence the common name. The fertile fronds appear in mid-summer and persist through the winter. Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in part shade to full shade. Matteuccia struthiopteris is very wet site tolerant and is a deciduous rapid spreader. Relatively sun tolerant, if in a wet location.
Cinnamon Fern has medium green somewhat coarse foliage. The fertile cinnamon-colored fronds appear in early spring, and very upright. Osmunda cinnamomea is very wet site tolerant, and a deciduous creeper. Osmunda fiber used in the potting of orchids comes from the roots of these ferns. Great in rain gardens.
Royal Fern is a tall broad fronded fern that thrives in wet, shady sites. At 48", it towers over other native ferns and stands out because of its coarse open texture. Osmunda regalis is a deciduous spreader, slowly colonizing moist woodland settings. When provided with consistent moisture, Royal Fern ever tolerates full sun. An excellent tall addition to stream sides, ponds, rain gardens and wet meadows. Osmunda fiber used in the potting of orchids comes from the fibrous roots of these ferns.
Christmas Fern has green, shiny foliage. Young fiddleheads in spring are silvery and scaled. Polystichum acrostichoides is evergreen and looks like a Boston Fern. It will not spread or naturalize, but in time the clumps will increase in size. Songbirds will use parts and scale-like hairs in nest construction. Christmas Fern hugs the ground in winter.
PRN Preferred: We love the hardiness and the neat evergreen foliage of this fern.