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Which ferns don't take over a garden space?

Posted by Bunnycat z5 NY (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 24, 05 at 11:12

My experience with ferns is very limited. I only have Japanese Painted Ferns, which expand slowly in my garden. I rarely find one popping up uninvited in a different area.
When I was a child my mother's ferns were always popping up under the asphault in the driveway. She put salt on them. My neighbor had the same problem. I have a small garden at our summer cabin, and one fern has popped up and wants to take over. It spreads by way of woody runners.
I would like to add some ferns to my hosta garden which "behave" well like the Japanese Painted fern.
Any suggestions?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Which ferns don't take over a garden space?

Christmas fern, northern maidenhair fern, ebony spleenwort. These are well behaved.

Ostrich fern, sensitive fern, bracken fern, these are not well behaved. If your mother lived in the northeast, it was likely ostrich fern which popped up here and there.

Moderately behaved ferns: New York fern, broad beech fern, lady fern, netted chain fern.

In moist places, ferns are more likely to be aggressive than in dry or average places.

RE: Which ferns don't take over a garden space?

Thank you. I'll see what I can find in the spring at our garden stores.

RE: Which ferns don't take over a garden space?

You might want to try Sword Fern as well and they are good value online at the Botany Store

RE: Which ferns don't take over a garden space?

I don't think that sword fern would survive in zone 5. I can't keep it going in zone 7, even with heavy mulching. It is also moderately invasive in locations in Florida. I would add Autumn Fern and other dryopteris cousins. They are well behaved and fairly easy to grow.

RE: Which ferns don't take over a garden space?

The flip version of your question is actually easier; of the ferns commonly on the market there is only a handful that spread aggressively. To the ones already mentioned by Esh (listed as 'not' and 'only moderately' well behaved) I would add the hay-scented fern (Dennstaedtia)m and the little Blechnums wander a bit too. All the Polystichums I've ever met are very good about staying where planted, as are the Woodsias (definitely hardy enough for you), the Dryopterises, the Cyrtomiums... I don't know if you can grow all these, but if you can they'll stay put.

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