Athyrium filix-femina

2023 – Lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina)

Photo courtesy of Hirt’s Gardens

Lady fern offers great textural contrast and is more adaptable than most other native ferns. At 1-3′ in height and with a 1-2.5′ spread, this fern grows easily in rich, well-drained soils but can also thrive in somewhat drier conditions. It prefers part to full shade but can handle more sunlight if the soil is constantly moist. The yellowy-green, erect fronds form a tight vase shape that can function as a vertical accent or look stunning en masse. Finely-toothed leaflets with dark contrasting stems are vibrant throughout the spring and summer, then turn a golden yellow after the first frost before going dormant for winter. Lady fern is clump-forming, slow spreading, and deer resistant. It is widely adaptable in the landscape, making it a great low-maintenance choice for the garden. For an even more distinctive look, there are many interesting selections of lady fern available.

Osmunda cinnamomea

2011 – Cinnamon Fern

This interesting, colorful character is a favorite fern here at Jenkins. In early spring, its silver-haired shine erupts in tightly curled ‘fiddleheads’. As they continue to unfurl and mature, their white hairs turn cinnamon colored, and hummingbirds collect them to line their tiny nests. When fully mature, its fronds are large, ranging from 2 ½ to 4 feet long. The robust and swamp-loving cinnamon fern can tolerate some sun but prefers a wet woodland habitat. With fertile and sterile leaves, this ‘dimorphic’ fern has both rust-colored reproductive fronds, wispy green vegetative fronds, and outstanding bronze fall color. It is common from Zones 2 through 10.