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Dryopteris × australis (southern woodfern)

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

Dryopteris × australis

southern woodfern

(syn. D. celsa x D. ludoviciana)

Dryopteris x australis is a natural hybrid (D. celsa x ludoviciana) found in wild populations from Louisiana to Virginia, but is a superb garden plant as far north as Zone 5. It is taller than either parent and a formidable addition to the garden.

Dryopteris x australis LP32 - 32 per flat Availability
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3-4 Feet


2-3 Feet


18 Inches

Bloom Color

USDA Hardiness Zone 5-9

southern woodfern Interesting Notes

We are a big believer in a fern for every situation and Dryopteris x australis is no exception. A hybrid between fellow southern species Dryopteris celsa and Dryopteris ludoviciana, it is a stately fern with arching fronds reaching 4’-5’ tall. Great for a shady spot in a garden or as a foundational planting, woodfern forms dense clumps and spreads slowly by creeping rhizome. It is a sterile semi-evergreen hybrid and thrives in moist shade. However, one of its strengths is its ability to adapt to dry situations, the cold wet winters of zone 5, and the high summer heat and humidity of zone 9.

Displaying a taller nature than its parentage, Dryopteris × australis is a natural hybrid and can be found in wild populations from Louisiana to Virginia. It prefers moist, rich, well-drained acidic soils in full to partial shade. To ensure a verdant appearance, cut back fronds in early spring for new season’s growth.

Like most ferns in the Dryopteris genus, woodfern can tolerate dry spells once established and is very deer-resistant.

Dryopteris × australis Growing and Maintenance Tips

Prefers moist, rich, well-drained, acidic soils in full to partial shade. Best used as a vertical accent in the woodland or shade garden or as a specimen plant.

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Shade
Full Shade
Part Sun
Part Sun
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant

Additional Information

Green Infrastructure
Bioretention/Rain Garden
Wetland Indicator Status
Falcutative Wetland (FACW)
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Native to North America
Propagation Type
Tissue culture