ATHYRIUM

FAMILY: Woodsiaceae

TYPE
  • Vines / Ground Covers
  • Ferns
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Partial Shade
  • Full Shade
WATER
  • Regular Water
  • Ample Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • US (Upper South) / Zone 6
  • MS (Middle South) / Zone 7
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8

Plant Details

Prized since Victorian times for their beautiful foliage, these ferns are very easy to grow. All species described here prefer rich, moist, well-drained soil containing lots of organic matter. They do not tolerate extended summer drought or heavy root competition from trees. Fronds of most types turn brown after repeated frosts; leave the dead foliage on the plants through winter to provide mulch and to shelter the delicate fronds as they emerge in spring. Propagate by dividing clumps in early spring. Deer resistant.

lady fern

athyrium filix-femina

  • Native to much of North America.
  • Grows to 4 feet or taller, 23 feet wide.
  • Rootstock rises up on older plants to make short trunk.
  • Vertical effect; narrow at bottom, spreading at top.
  • Thin, finely divided fronds.
  • Vigorous; can be invasive.
  • Tolerates full sun in constantly moist soil.
  • Specialists stock many selections with oddly cut and feathered fronds.
  • In 'Frizelliae' (about 8 inches high, 1 feet wide), frond leaflets are reduced to balls; fronds look like strings of beads.
  • Vernoniae Cristatum (to 212 feet high and wide) has crested and feathered fronds.
  • Victoriae has comblike fronds with narrow, noodle-strapped leaflets.
  • It grows 1 feet tall and wide.

japanese painted fern

athyrium hybrids

  • Crosses between Athyrium filix-femina and Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum', combining characteristics of each.
  • These plants are vigorous and easy to grow.

Branford Beauty

  • Upright growth to 2 feet high, 212 feet wide, with silvery-gray fronds and red stalks.

Ghost

  • Rigidly upright to 23 feet high, 112 feet wide, with pale silvery gray fronds.
  • A standout in deep shade.

athyrium niponicum pictum

  • Arching fronds grow to 112 feet long, making a tight, slowly spreading clump 1 feet high, 112 feet wide.
  • Most common is Athyrium n.
  • pictum, with fronds that are purplish at base, then lavender, then silvery greenish gray toward the tip.
  • Among its colorful selections are the following.
  • Burgundy Lace has soft burgundy-purple fronds with silver streaking.
  • Silver Falls has long, arching, silver-and-green fronds with purplish red veins; foliage of 'Ursula's Red' is silver flushed with wine-red.

english painted fern

athyrium otophorum

  • Actually a native of the Orient.
  • Resembles Athyrium niponicum in size and habit; dark green fronds have a reddish or purple midrib.

glade fern, silvery spleenwort

athyrium pycnocarpon (Diplazium pycnocarpon)

  • From eastern North America.
  • Attractive, rosette-forming deciduous fern with once-divided fronds to 4 feet long.
  • New spring fronds are silvery light green; they turn darker in summer, then russet before dying back.
  • Tolerates full sun in constantly moist soil.

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