- - Botanical Name - Bracken Fern - Pteridium aquilinum Hardy Planting Zones - 3-10 Sun or Shade – Sun and Partial Shade Mature Height - 2-4' Mature Width - 18-24" Bloom Season – Spring Gardener Status - Beginner
Bracken Ferns - Pteridium aquilinum
Bracken ferns are common around the world and can be found in gardens and forests in just about every state in the country. This hardy plant can be a favorite fern in swampy areas, pine forests, and locations where hardwood trees grow as well as in sandy habitats. The bracken fern is a dominant ground cover in pine forests that have been intentionally burned. This large fern is easy to grow and has attractive and delicate fronds. As a mostly deciduous perennial, this fern features hardy fronds on graceful arching stems. These stems grow from lengthy, reaching, hairy rhizomes that spread quickly below the ground surface. The triangular-shaped fronds are about one to three feet long and divided two to four times. Each final segment is nearly half an inch long. Bracken ferns can reproduce from spores that fall from the foliage and travel quickly by the wind. It also does well in a variety of soils including moist, dry, sandy or acidic conditions. Bracken ferns are beautiful in home rock gardens and can serve as a simple, fast-growing border for a wooded area. They can be successfully used as a ground cover in sandy, dry areas where the growing grass is tricky. Bracken ferns are also perfect for container gardens, and the plant's leathery fronds are a beautiful addition to flower arrangements. In the fall, the fronds become a lovely golden rust color before winter sets in. This plant ships as a bare root plant and is versatile and easy to maintain.
The elegant cinnamon fern gets its name from the reddish-brown, narrow spikes that rise from the green center. In mid to late spring, these beautiful stalks bear the spore capsules that open for the reseeding and reproduction of new plants. Resembling cinnamon sticks, they are a show-stopper that adds drama to any shade garden.
Also, the new spring fiddleheads appear in a shiny, furry coating. Mature fronds are sturdy and form an arching, vase-like shape. Since this beauty can grow up to five feet tall and almost as full, it's in demand as a perennial attraction in any plot. Hardy in zones 4 - 9, it's a low-maintenance plant that adds beauty to any environment.
Landscapers prize the cinnamon fern as it expands in beds and graces tall borders. Add other shade lovers like the old Cambridge scarlet Monarda, and it awakens any cottage garden. Additionally, naturalizing this fern with wildflowers along forested pathways sends invitations to native birds and butterflies.
Adaptability is a stable characteristic of the cinnamon fern. Maintaining moist roots enables it to flourish in sunny water gardens or stream beds. Once you start landscaping with cinnamon ferns, you'll find that one or two is never enough. So, stock up when you're in the garden center.