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Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)

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Hardy fern grow sheet
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Athyrium filix-femina

lady fern

Handsome crowns of feathery fronds are typical of this genus. Delicate and lacy with arching fronds and dark red stems at maturity. Strong-growing and dependable, lady ferns are great garden plants. Tough and easy to grow, this beauty is the right choice for perennial borders and woodlands alike. A breathtaking flush of new fronds appears in the spring, with new leaves appearing throughout the season for a continuously fresh look. Found in swamps, thickets and damp woods east of the Rockies.

Athyrium filix-femina LP32 - 32 per flat Availability
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24-48 Inches


24-36 Inches


12 Inches

Bloom Color

USDA Hardiness Zone 5-10

lady fern Interesting Notes

Lady fern is a large 2 to 4-foot deciduous plant that is often seen in great swathes of acid wetlands. This is a great plant for the untended spot in the lightly-shaded but moist garden where a low maintenance colony is appropriate. It will spread, and willingly seeds itself about. Fronds are light green and somewhat brittle. It is easily established in Zones 4 to 8. - Casa Flora

Lady ferns have reliable color and are easy to grow. Best growth will occur in partial shade and a rich, moist soil. Relatively tolerant of sun and dry soil as compared to many other ferns. They spread nicely but don't run. A very low maintenance plant that adds a lot of aesthetic value to the landscape.

Athyrium filix-femina Growing and Maintenance Tips

Prefers moist, well-drained, acid soils in full to partial shade. Tolerant of full sun if adequate moisture is provided. Protect from harsh winds, but provide adequate air circulation. Propagate by division every few years in the spring. Best used in the woodland garden or as an edge or border in the shaded garden.

Good Substitutions

Japanese painted fern Athyrium niponicum 'Regal Red'
Japanese painted fern Athyrium niponicum var. pictum
lady fern Athyrium filix-femina
lady fern Athyrium angustum forma rubellum 'Lady in Red'

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Shade
Full Shade
Part Sun
Part Sun
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Cut Flower
Cut Flower

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Green Infrastructure
Ornamental Foliage
Native to North America
Propagation Type
Tissue culture