23 Nov

12 Hardy and Beautiful Ferns to Grow in Your Garden

Ferns are excellent plants to grow in shaded gardens. Known for their attractive foliage (known as fronds), these lovely plants offer a great variety of form and size to fit in any spot in the garden. Most Ferns are slow growing and can take several years to reach their mature size.

Following is a list of some hardy and beautiful Ferns that you can grow in your garden as ground covers or border plants, under large trees or along ponds and pools.

Adiantum pedatum (Maidenhair Fern)

Attractive ornamental fern for shaded borders and pathways. Forms large clumps of finely textured fronds. Easily grown in average and well-drained soil.  (Zone 3 – 8)

Adiantum pedatum

Maidenhair Fern/ Image by Joshua Mayer

Athyrium forma rubellum (Lady in Red)

Low maintenance fern characterized by upright, fresh-green fronds with red stripes. Suitable for shaded spots in garden where it can grow in a well-drained but slightly moist and rich soil. (Zone 4 – 8)

Athyrium forma rubellum

Lady in Red fern/ Image by Valleybrook Perennials

 Athyrium vidalii (Japanese lady fern)

Small and easy-to-grow fern, suitable for rock gardens and borders under full to partial shade. Prominent green fronds of this lovely fern are beautifully contrasted by deep red stems. The plant prefers moist, slightly acidic and well-drained soil. (Zone 5 – 9)

Athyrium vidalii

Japanese lady fern/ Image by Powell Gardens

Blechnum spicant (Deer Fern)

Ideal for borders and rock gardens, this lovely fern produces leathery green fronds. Grows in a well-drained, acidic and moist soil. (Zone 5 – 8)

Blechnum spicant

Deer Fern/ Image by Peggy A.

 Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern)

Beautiful evergreen fern with upright leathery fronds that resemble holly branches. Grows in well-drained soil and under full to partial shade. Not suitable for colder climates. (Zone 6 – 9)

Cyrtomium falcatum

Japanese Holly fern/ Image by Leonora Enking

Dennstaedtia punctilobula (Hay-scented fern)

Beautiful fern with delicate green fronds that turn to yellow in in fall. The plant emits fragrance of fresh mown hay when crushed or bruised. Grows in rich, moist but well-drained soil. (Zone 3 – 8)

Dennstaedtia punctilobula

Hay-scented fern/ Image by Nicholas A. Tonelli

Dryopteris clintoniana (Clinton’s wood fern)

Low maintenance and semi-evergreen fern with prominent upright fronds. Grows easily in a moist and organically rich soil. Suitable for fully or partially shaded and marshy spots. (Zone 3 – 8)

Dryopteris clintoniana

Clinton’s wood fern/ Image by douneika (flickr)

Dryopteris tokyoensis (Tokyo wood fern)

Beautiful fern with erect fronds that grows up to 4 feet and spreads across 3 feet. Grows easily in partially shaded spots. This lovely fern requires moderate but frequent watering and is suitable for most shaded indoor/outdoor spots. (Zone 5 – 8)

Dryopteris tokyoensis

Tokyo wood fern/ Image by Ferntastic Nursery

Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance’

Excellent ground cover with arching, evergreen fronds. This lovely fern forms compact clumps of displays striking striking shades of orange-red to copper-pink on new growth. (Zone 5 – 8)

Dryopteris erythrosora 'Brilliance'

Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance’/ Image by James Gaither

Matteuccia struthiopteris (Ostrich fern)

Excellent fern for mass plantation especially under trees or in empty landscape pockets. Clumps grow up to 4 feet and spread across 8 feet. (Zone 3 – 7)

Matteuccia struthiopteris

Ostrich fern/ Image by Ryan Somma

Osmunda claytoniana

Good for growing along ponds and steams. Grows easily in semi-shaded areas where it gets moist environment in a rich and slightly acidic soil. (Zone 3 – 8)

Osmunda claytoniana

Osmunda claytoniana/ Image by Bahamut Chao

Onoclea sensibilis (Sensitive fern)

Large fern that loves moist conditions. Grows well along ponds and streams and produces rich green fronds. This lovely fern is useful for growing in marshy areas as a beautiful ground cover.

Onoclea sensibilis

Sensitive fern/ Image by Tom Potterfield

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