- Botanical Name - Silvery Glade Fern - Deparia acrostichoides Hardy Planting Zones - 3-8 Sun or Shade – Partial to Full Shade Mature Height - 24-36" Mature Width - 24-30" Bloom Season – Summer Gardener Status - Beginner
Best Ferns for Shade Areas
Are you looking for eye-catching planting ideas for your shady yard? Look no further than the humble fern. Whether you are looking for a ground cover to spread over a large area or striking foliage for a hard-to-manage spot, there is a fern for you. Ferns grow in all sorts of climates and conditions, from just south of the Arctic Circle, all the way to the equator and everywhere in between. Here are some easy-to-grow ferns to get you started.
•Christmas fern - Polystichum acrostichoides
This plant remains green throughout the year and is therefore available for use in holiday decorations. The leaves are long and leathery, growing up to three feet long with lance-shaped tips. Christmas ferns are found naturally east of the Mississippi River. They grow well in full or part shade, on stream banks, and under dense canopies of trees.
•Hay-scented fern - Dennstaedtia punctilobula
This is an aggressive spreader and perfect for covering a large area. The hay-scented fern grows well in all soil types, preferring a dry soil with a part to full shade. This fern gets its name from the lovely fresh-mown-hay scent it gives off when brushed or rubbed. It is a deciduous plant that reaches a height of two to three feet.
•Ostrich fern - Matteuccia struthiopteris
This greenery makes a great privacy screen for a shady backyard. It has been known to grow over five feet tall, depending on the nutrients available in the soil. The ostrich fern requires an evenly moist soil to become well. It prefers colder regions and will not tolerate southern or tropical climates. In the spring it is possible to harvest the young shoots for the table. Known as fiddleheads, they are delicious cooked in butter.
•Glade ferns - Diplazium pycnocarpon
A perfect complement to the woodland garden, the glade fern prefers moist, fertile soil. It reaches a height of two to three feet and naturalizes slowly by spreading rhizomes. The fronds are upright and narrow, making a striking backdrop for shorter plants.
Most ferns are easy to grow and maintain and will reward you with beautiful foliage throughout the growing season.