Tall fern recommendations by deck

smordApril 1, 2009

Hi! I'm looking for recommendations for tall ferns (3' or over) to grow around my deck in the back yard. One side is almost all shade, the other get a couple hours of morning sun. I'd be happy to mix types. It all tends to stay pretty moist, but we get the occasional dry spell.

Most importantly....should I worry about the ferns spreading under the deck? Would that create problems for people on the deck? (like excess bugs?)

I'm in NJ zone 6.



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Here are a few tall ferns that would be hardy in your area and normally prefer damp soil conditions:

Deciduous ferns:
Osmunda cinnamomea - Cinnamon fern
Osmunda regalis - Royal fern
Osmunda claytoniana - Interrupted fern
Woodwardia virginica - Virginia Chain fern

Evergreen ferns:
Dryopteris erythrosora - Autumn fern
Dryopteris hondoensis - Japanese Hondo fern
Dryopteris marginalis - Marginal or Leatherleaf Wood fern

None of the above ferns have been invasive in my garden and some have been growing there for 20+ years.

The Osmunda clan doesn't tolerate long periods of drought and will go into early dormancy when there is insufficient moisture, but return the following year.

Osmunda cinnamomea & O. regalis produce separate fertile stems in the spring, that are quite attractive.
Osmunda cinnamomea

Osmunda regalis, var. spectabilis

There are some Western Sword ferns that are quite tall, that may work for you, but I have limited knowledge of those, as they don't persist in my area.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 12:19AM
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autumnmoon(6a/se ks)

too hot in my area to grow western sword ferns of any size.. sadly the ones i have get smaller and smaller every year. even with daily waterings.

a nice tall fern that has done especially well for me, and has gotten very large for me is dixie wood fern. i stand just under 6 feet tall and the the ones I planted two years ago come to about mid stomach on me. They don't seem to mind the hot when some of my other ferns tend to go into dormancy (all the osmundas and sometimes ostrich ferns as well) and they are evergreen to boot!

I have seen in less droughty (??) areas ostrich ferns get 6 ft tall, but they do tend to roam all over the place. Some find that a bad characteristic of ferns, I dont!


    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 1:09AM
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