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Dryopteris marginalis (Eastern woodfern)

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

Dryopteris marginalis

Eastern woodfern or marginal woodfern

The leathery leaves of Dryopteris marginalis are a beautiful addition to the woodland garden and can form a lovely an easy to maintain groundcover. A sturdy east coast native, it forms a tidy clump that will not spread and is very tolerant of dry shade conditions once it has established. Marginal wood fern is often found in shaded crevices of rocky ledges and bluffs from Newfoundland to Georgia, west to Oklahoma and Minnesota.

Dryopteris marginalis LP32 - 32 per flat Availability
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12-18 Inches


12-18 Inches


12 Inches

Bloom Color

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-8

Eastern woodfern Interesting Notes

Dryopteris marginalis, the marginal wood fern, is easily identified because the spores are carried along the very outermost edges of the fronds. A common evergreen easterner this native species thrives in rocky to woodland settings. In the garden it requires good drainage and will reward you with a leathery, forest green bouquet of rather ovate 18 to 30 inch fronds. For unexplained reasons, it is better adapted to locales east of the Rockies and there it comes highly recommended. Remarkably cold tolerant the marginal wood fern is suited for a broad range of Zones from a low of Zone 2 up to Zone 8. - Casa Flora

Dryopteris is translated from Greek as "oak fern".

Dryopteris marginalis Growing and Maintenance Tips

Wood ferns prefer average to moist, rich, well-drained soils in shade or part sun. They tolerate drought very well once established. Needs protection from wind to keep the foliage looking nice. Best planted in masses in the shaded or woodland garden, as an accent or mixed with bulbs and other native perennials.

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Shade
Full Shade
Part Sun
Part Sun
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant

Additional Information

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