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Athyrium filix-femina (Lady Fern)

Lady Fern, Female Polypody

AGM Award
Athyrium Filix-Femina, Female Polypody, Lady Fern, Shade plants, shade perennial, plants for shade, plants for wet soil
Athyrium Filix-Femina, Female Polypody, Lady Fern, Shade plants, shade perennial, plants for shade, plants for wet soil

Noted for its vigor and superb elegance, Athyrium filix-femina (Lady Fern) is a lovely deciduous fern forming a large rosette of upright to arching, lacy, lance-shaped, fresh-green fronds. The stems are generally green but sometimes display a very interesting red hue. Fast-growing, this fern is easy to grow and perfect for filling gaps between shrubs or under trees. Low maintenance, pest and disease free.

  • Clump-forming, it easily grows up to 1-3 ft. tall (30-90 cm) and 12-30 in. wide (30-75 cm). This plant naturalizes well and can form great colonies if happy.
  • Recipient of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society for its outstanding qualities
  • A part to full shade lover, it is best grown in fertile, humus-rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils. Do not allow the soil to dry out. More tolerant of drier soils than most other ferns. Will tolerate full sun, if consistent moisture is provided. Provide a sheltered location.
  • This plant is a great choice for shady beds, borders, underplanting of shrubs, cottage gardenswoodlands, rain gardens, or along streams, ponds, or water gardens.
  • Rabbit, deer, clay, and wet soil tolerant!
  • Dead or damaged fronds may be removed as necessary.
  • Propagate by sowing spores in mid to late summer or by division in spring
  • Native to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere

Requirements

Hardiness 4 - 9
Heat Zones 1 - 9
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, A1, A2, A3
Plant Type Ferns
Plant Family Athyriaceae
Genus Athyrium
Common names Fern, Lady Fern
Exposure Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 1' - 3'
(30cm - 90cm)
Spread 1' - 3'
(30cm - 90cm)
Spacing 30" (80cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Plant of Merit, Showy
Native Plants Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Midwest, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northeast, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pacific Northwest, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Rocky Mountains, South Carolina, South Dakota, Southeast, Southwest, Tennessee, Texas, United States, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Tolerance Full Shade, Deer, Rabbit, Clay Soil, Wet Soil
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Ponds And Streams, Rain Gardens, Underplanting Roses And Shrubs
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Informal and Cottage, Traditional Garden
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Athyrium otophorum (Eared Lady Fern)
Athyrium niponicum ‘Godzilla’ (Japanese Painted Fern)
Athyrium niponicum ‘Crested Surf’ (Japanese Painted Fern)
Athyrium filix-femina var. angustum ‘Lady in Red’ (Lady Fern)
Athyrium filix-femina ‘Frizelliae’ (Tatting Fern)
Athyrium filix-femina ‘Lady in Lace’ (Lady Fern)

Recommended Companion Plants

Tiarella cordifolia (Foam Flower)
Pulmonaria ‘Shrimps on the Barbie’ (Lungwort)
Hosta (Plantain Lily)
Astilbe
Trillium
Aquilegia (Columbine)

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Athyrium (Lady Fern)
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 4 - 9
Heat Zones 1 - 9
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, A1, A2, A3
Plant Type Ferns
Plant Family Athyriaceae
Genus Athyrium
Common names Fern, Lady Fern
Exposure Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 1' - 3'
(30cm - 90cm)
Spread 1' - 3'
(30cm - 90cm)
Spacing 30" (80cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Plant of Merit, Showy
Native Plants Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Midwest, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northeast, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pacific Northwest, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Rocky Mountains, South Carolina, South Dakota, Southeast, Southwest, Tennessee, Texas, United States, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Tolerance Full Shade, Deer, Rabbit, Clay Soil, Wet Soil
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Ponds And Streams, Rain Gardens, Underplanting Roses And Shrubs
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Informal and Cottage, Traditional Garden
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