Homeowners desiring to start a fern garden or add fern plants to a wooded area may want to observe what types of ferns grow naturally in the geographical location where they live to make the best selections.
Almost all ferns prefer light to heavy shade and moist soil. During the heat of the summer, mulching can help fern plants retain their moisture in between watering or rain. Although ferns are extremely hardy plants as a group, they grow best in soils with lots of organic matter, a neutral range of acidity, and good drainage. Many ferns can be slow-growing immediately after planting, but once they get their root systems established, they often survive difficult growing conditions. They are generally resistant to both pests and diseases.
The wide variety of ferns available make them a great choice for those shady nooks and crannies around the home and landscape that are calling for foliage. Tall forms can reach three feet in height and are lovely choices for prime shady spots that can be seen throughout the season. Some ferns showcase beautiful silvery-green foliage in the winter, accenting other garden areas that have unique winter appearances. Smaller ferns can be selected to border the shady spots near the home or in front of larger shade-loving plants. Small ferns can add unique features such as ruffly fronds or tasseled-ends to any landscape.