perennial | shade | semi-evergreen | tropical look | English country garden
Why we love it Ferns bring a touch of woodland charm to gardens. Every frond (leaf) that magically unfurls is beautifully textured, creating a lush, green backdrop of calm that deepens in colour with age. What's even better is that these eye-catching clumps of vibrant green love to take root in light shade, adding interest to areas where many flowering plants would sulk.
Where's it native to? The species is found across the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe.
Planting location This fern will happily sink its roots down into most conditions but loves lighter, moisture-retentive soil.
Light requirements Dappled shade works wonders although this fern will tolerate brighter conditions, too.
Watering tip Requires little attention but will thank you for soil that's kept moist in summer.
Distance from other plants Although this Dryopteris is unlikely to exceed a height of more than 75cm (30in), mature plants can spread out, forming clumps that can span 90cm (3ft) across, so allow enough space.
Annual or perennial? Perennial
Great planting idea This fern is wonderful for underplanting shrubs where it provides contrast with other ground-cover plants.
Common pests and how to combat them Dryopteris make excellent low-maintenance plants and are mostly trouble-free.
Did you know? Pteridomania (fern mania) was the name for the Victorian craze for ferns - a period when these plants hit the height of fashion and images of their fronds appeared in numerous everyday items, from textiles to sculpture and pottery.
Toxic to pets No.
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