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Fern companion plants for winter interest

Posted by mjjgm 7b - NC (My Page) on
Sat, May 22, 10 at 23:57

I am trying to plan an area in the yard with ferns and hostas - the area is along the deck, about 3 feet wide and several feet.

Since these plants only come up in the summer, what are companion plants that look decent in winter yet still allow the ferns & hostas to pop up in the spring?

I have solomon's seal but wasn't sure if it is too big of a plant to put in this narrow space. For ground cover underneath these guys I was thinking maybe ajuga or creeping jenny, but will those allow ferns & hostas to pop through or will they smother them? Is it best to only put mulch on top of the ferns & hostas?

The mix of ferns I will be planting are as follows:


Are any of these evergreen in zone 7b? (Monroe, NC) I'm thinking Christmas fern might be.

They are in a mixed bag, so if anyone knows how to identify the bare roots, that would be helpful too. (If there's no way to identify the bare roots, maybe I could plant them into little pots to grow a bit to identify before putting them in the ground? That might take awhile though.)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Fern companion plants for winter interest

Probably original poster received an answer elsewhere...

I wouldn't put ajuga near the hosta, but creeping jenny works okay & comes out easily. I tried corydalis lutea (yellow bloomer) because it was slug resistant, but it was a bit too vigorous crowding the hosta & swarming around the clumps.

There are a few evergreens in zone 7 that I like:
hardy ginger
heuchera & our PNW native Tellima
vinca minor
carex esp. Ice Dance or any of the variegated light up on gray days of winter
'Wanda' primrose & others are evergreen or semi
Campanula - serbian bellflower, but do keep it a bit away from the hosta as it is a vigorous spreader.
sword fern (not lady or cinnamon though lovely ferns)
hardy geranium small types planted 2' away from taller large leaf hosta added a punch of color this year & I will see how evergreen they are...

RE: Fern companion plants for winter interest

A lot would depend on which Hostas you're planning to put in. Something like undulata, or venusta, or Dewdrop would be polite and keep to the 3' width.

A thug such as Aphrodite or Sum and Substance will be swamping the area in no time.

Evergreen things: Epimedium, which can form a large clump yet is also slow to increase. There are small varieties.
Claytonia. Can be 'weedy' in a nice way and is easy enough to remove.
Pulmonaria with either silver, or speckled leaves. Or even angustifolia, which is quite a survivor.
Vancouveria is also a possible.

Definitely NOT solomon's seal. Rampant is the polite term - except for the very small one, and it's too easy to lose.

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