GinnyTrcka asked a question over on one of the swap threads about hardy ferns, and to keep the info separate, and to keep that already long thread from getting a lot longer, Im going to post the information here!
I LOVE fernsÂespecially hardy ones!
Most of the genus Dryopteris ferns are hardy, and many of them are referred to a "wood ferns," and look a lot like what youÂd most often find growing wild. One of the common names for Dryopteris marginalis is Eastern wood fern, and it looks exactly like something youÂd find growing out "in the woods!"
Dryopteris filix-mas, male fern, is another one that looks like a stereotypical fern!
So far I have Dryopteris erythrosora, autumn fern, which I love because the new fronds are a pretty bronze color when they start, and then they turn green as they mature. But as long as there are new fronds growing out, you get that pretty bronzy look! Autumn fern was one of my "gotta haves!"
Another "pretty" one is Athyrium nipponicum, Japanese painted fern, which has silvery-green fronds with red highlightsÂespecially on the stems, and there are now varieties, as I understand it, that have very red stems! I have the originalÂso far!
I also have a Matteucia struthiopteris, ostrich fern. Got that one at a box store as a root in a baggie with a little bit of peat moss! It was $3.00! (Fern plants are usually higher priced that the other perennials at garden centers, BTW) Ostrich ferns are supposed to be invasive, but mineÂs been in since spring of Â07 and I sure havenÂt had any problem yet! ItÂs the clay factor, I assume! It comes back every year, but it really isnÂt a whole lot bigger than it was the first year! They get big/tall (3' or more), and are more "bowl shaped," but mine hasnÂt gotten big enough yet to see the "bowl!"
And I have a leatherwood/Eastern wood, Dryopteris marginalis, which I also got "in a baggie" for $3.40! It hasnÂt done much either, but all my ferns are up already, and I have high hopes for this year! (I am a little bit worried about the next couple nites since some of the "uncurling" fronds are already 6" high! I pushed a little more mulch around the bottoms, but the tops are still sticking outÂand theyÂre on their own!) This one looks like an everyday, ordinary fern, and would be good for use in flower arrangementsÂif it ever gets big enough! (Different from the leatherleaf ferns used by florists!)
I also bought a cinnamon fern in a baggie, but it died the first winter. After looking up more info online, tho, I didnÂt really care that much that it had died! The "big brown things" that stick up (actually, the fertile fronds) looked pretty in the picture on the package when I got it, but I found some "real" pictures online that were downright uglyÂIMO!
I definitely still want to get a maidenhair, Adiantum pedatumÂI love the delicacy. And IÂll probably eventually get one of the "newer," brighter Japanese painted ferns. And after that IÂll probably getÂanything I run into thatÂs interestingÂthat I can afford! I canÂt really think of any I wouldnÂt like to at least try
Some are evergreen and some are deciduous! And theyÂll ALL do better if you improve the soil with a LOT of peat or other really good, loose, well-draining organic matter. Tho you may want to keep it on the clay-y side for the ones that are supposed to be aggressive/invasive! Natural invasion control! ;-)
And hereÂs a list of ones you should be able to find locally at PaulinoÂs, and probably TimberlineÂand probably any other "real" garden center! (Some of these come in multiple varieties that are slightly different from each other!)
Adiantum pedatum - maidenhair
Athyrium nipponicum - Japanese painted
Athyrium filix-femina - lady fern
Dryopteris erythrosora - Autumn Fern
Dryopteris filix-mas - male fern
Dryopteris marginalis - leatherwood fern, Eastern wood fern
Matteucia struthiopteris - ostrich fern
Osmunda cinnamomea - cinnamon fern
Osmunda regalis - royal fern
Polystichum acrostichoides - Christmas fern
You can, as I did, find some types of bare root ferns at the big box stores in spring, and if you do that, go thru the packages "feeling" the root to find the biggest one you can get! And be sure they havenÂt been sitting out in the hot sun somewhere! As with anything else, plant wise, that you buy at a BB store, consider the conditions in which itÂs been kept up until the time you find it!
ThatÂs a start! If you have any questions, let me know. I may or may not be able to answer them!
When I was up in Waterton Provincial Park (Glacier/Waterton, Montana/Alberta) a few years ago, I collected spores from some ferns that were growing up there, and some day I hope to start them. Also have spores from some of the ones we had for sale when I was working in the green industry. Way back in the late 60's I did actually successfully start some (tender) ferns from spores I got from Parks! It was fascinating to watch them develop!
Any other Fern Fanatics around here?
P.S. Wish I had some pictures to post, but mine still haven't been big enough to bother taking pics of! Hope to get some this year!