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Athyrium × 'Ghost' (lady fern)

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Hardy fern grow sheet

Athyrium × 'Ghost'

lady fern or Ghost fern

From the garden of Virginia's Nancy Swell comes this stunning lady fern with silver-white fronds and a decidedly upright habit. Leaves age to light green with new fronds appearing throughout the season. Upright with a beautiful formal appearance that really stands out in the shady garden. This fern really prefers shade and will stand up with all fronds perpendicular to the ground in full sun.

Athyrium x 'Ghost' LP32 - 32 per flat Availability
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18-24 Inches


12-18 Inches


12 Inches

Bloom Color

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-8

lady fern Interesting Notes

Visitors to our garden have waited for years to be able to get their hands on this tremendous new fern from the Virginia garden of Nancy Swell. This vigorous and easy-to-grow hybrid between Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum') x Southern lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina) combines the best features of both parents. The result is a rigidly upright fern to 2-3' tall with the silvery grey foliage of the A. niponicum. The "formal" effect of this fern opens up a new array of design possibilities in the woodland garden...superb as a hosta backdrop or the perfect addition to the "haunted garden"! Plant Delights

Athyrium × 'Ghost', or Ghost Fern for short, is a remarkable hybrid that brings steely-gray sword-like highlights to the shady garden. With pale foliage on a reddish stem and mid-rib structure this deciduous fern stands out for its ease of cultivation as well as its unique coloring amongst fellow ferns. This robust contribution to horticulture from the late Nancy Swell of Virginia forms a 30″ to 36″ round base full of vigorous fronds offering a light-hearted contrasting touch to dark plantings. Give it a sun-free site in moist woodlands and enjoy it in the foreground or background of your Zone 3 to 8. - Casa Flora

Athyrium × 'Ghost' Growing and Maintenance Tips

This cross between A. filix-femina and A. niponicum can be grown in humus-rich woodlands and shady borders in acidic to neutral, moist, well-drained soils. Spreads by shallow rhizomes. Propagate by division in spring. Best used as a groundcover in the woodland or rock garden or as an edge or border in the shaded garden.

Good Substitutions

Japanese painted fern Athyrium 'Godzilla'
lady fern Athyrium filix-femina
Japanese painted fern Athyrium niponicum 'Regal Red'
Japanese painted fern Athyrium niponicum var. pictum

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Shade
Full Shade
Part Sun
Part Sun
Cut Flower
Cut Flower

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Green Infrastructure
Ornamental Foliage
Propagation Type
Tissue culture