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.