Autumn Fern – My favorite fern for all seasons

Autumn Fern

My favorite fern for all seasons and shade gardens is the Autumn Fern . It remains green all winter, adding much needed color to the garden during the drab days of winter. These hardy ferns make me smile as they are definitely my best all season plant.  They have proved to be very hardy, easy to grow and beautiful with autumn colored accented fronds in Spring which matured to a rich green color for summer. I first planted Autumn Fern small plugs (Autumn Fern “Brilliance’) after a local landscaper suggested them. He said they were perfect additions to any shady area and they were his “go to” shade plant.   To say I have been pleased with the Autumn Fern is an understatement. Pink fiddleheads rose up in the spring, which opened to coppery pink fronds maturing to a deep green.  Besides being lush and colorful, once established, they tolerate poorer conditions and drier soil than many of its pickier relatives.

The thick foliage of this fern makes it ideal for establishing outdoor borders or planted in mass. When planting in groups, space around 18 inches apart for good coverage. It is also perfect as a ground cover plant because its perennially-green appearance. The dwarfed nature of autumn fern makes it ideal for home gardens as it grows to around 2 feet in height and about 18 inches in width.   They will spread slowly forming clumps that can be divided every three to four years if desired.

Autumn Ferns (Dryopteris erythrosora) grow in zone 5-9 and are evergreen in zones with milder winters. They like partial shade for best color but tolerate full shade. They can take more sun the other ferns if given enough water and if that doesn’t persuade you, they are also deer and rabbit resistant

Autumn  Fern is usually grown in combination with other shade plants.  It’s light texture adds contrast to companion plants such as Hosta and Heuchera. This fern is particularly nice when grown in woodland or Japanese gardens.

Be sure to come by to get this very easy to grow Autumn Fern, you won’t be disappointed.

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