Alphabetical Plant Listing

Woodwardia virginica (Virginia Chain Fern)

Virginia Chainfern, Virginia Chain Fern, Southern Chain Fern, Giant Chain Fern, Anchistea virginica


Woodwardia virginica (Virginia Chain Fern) is a deciduous fern adorned with tall, erect to gracefully arching, leathery, pinnate-pinnatifid fronds, up to 3 ft. long (90cm). The fertile fronds appear in summer with spores that are chainlike, linear and arranged parallel to the frond’s mid-vein. They have a shiny dark brown stipe. Emerging coppery red, the fronds change to lustrous dark green as the season progresses before turning bronze in the fall. Arising in rows from a long-creeping rhizome, Virginia Chain Fern can spread aggressively and take over a small garden. It is best planted in large, wet areas where little else will grow, such as near bogs, streams, ponds, or water gardens.

  • Grows up to 2-3 ft. tall (60-90 cm) and 3-4 ft. wide (90-120 cm).
  • Performs best in part shade to full shade in acidic, organically rich, moist to wet, well-drained soils
  • Perfect for shade gardens, native plant gardens, woodland gardens, bog gardens, rain gardenswater gardens or along ponds and streams.
  • Generally pest and disease free. Deer resistant.
  • Cut down old fronds when they deteriorate.
  • Propagate by spores or rhizome division.
  • Native to eastern North America.

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Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 9
Plant Type Ferns
Exposure Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spread 3' – 4' (90cm – 120cm)
Spacing 36" – 48" (90cm – 120cm)
Water Needs Average, High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Moisture Retentive
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Southwest, Texas
Tolerance Deer, Wet Soil
Garden Uses Bog Gardens, Ground Covers, Ponds and Streams, Rain Gardens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage

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Homer Edward Price, Doug MacGrady, Flickr

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.


Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 9
Plant Type Ferns
Exposure Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spread 3' – 4' (90cm – 120cm)
Spacing 36" – 48" (90cm – 120cm)
Water Needs Average, High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Moisture Retentive
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Southwest, Texas
Tolerance Deer, Wet Soil
Garden Uses Bog Gardens, Ground Covers, Ponds and Streams, Rain Gardens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage

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