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Athyrium filix-femina

Lady Fern

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Handsome crowns of feathery fronds are typical of Lady Ferns. Delicate and lacy with arching fronds and feathery texture, Athyrium filix-femina is a strong-growing and dependable garden plant. Tough and easy to grow, this beauty is the right choice for perennial borders and woodlands alike. A breathtaking flush of new fronds appears in the spring, with new leaves appearing throughout the season for a continuously fresh look. Lady fern is tolerant of drought, but survives by allowing foliage to die back until the next season.

Benefits

Easy to grow even in deep shade
Spreads in moist soils but not aggressively
Provides cover for wildlife
Attractive foliage all season long
Easy to combine with other shade loving perennials

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Easy to grow in part to full shade. Tolerates sun if the soil stays moist. Prefers well-drained soil with average moisture, but this fern tolerates drier soil than other ferns. Shelter from wind to protect fronds from breaking. If fronds become tattered, cut them to the ground and new fronds will emerge.


Height
18-24 Inches

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Spread
2-3 Feet

USDA Hardiness Zone 4-8

Native Range

Lady fern is found in swamps, thickets and damp woods; Newfoundland and Quebec to the Dakotas, south to Texas and Florida.

Distribution Maps by State and County

Native Trivia

The lady fern was one of the most popular indoor plants in the Victorian era. Almost every house had at least one, if not more, containers housing lady ferns at that time.

Athyrium , from the Greek, a, "without", thureos, "shield" filix-femina, from the Latin, "fern-feminine"


"Lady Fern provides cover and nesting material for birds and small mammals."

Good Companions
Bottle Gentian (Gentiana clausa)

Characteristics & Attributes

Plan Sub Group
Low Perennials
Medium Perennials
Exposure
Filtered Shade
Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
Shade
Soil
Acidic
Humus-rich
Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
Moist
Moist but well-drained
Attracts Wildlife
Amphibians
Mammals
Reptiles
Songbirds
Habitat Collection
Songbird
Native Habitat
Forest
Riparian, wetland
Foliage Color
Green
Uses
Bog, water garden
Border
Container
Ground cover
Mass plant
Naturalizes
Native to
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming