Hay Scented Fern
- Hay-scented Fern-Dennstaedtia punctilobula Hardy Planting Zones- 3-8 Sun or Shade – Partial to Full Shade Mature Height - 1-2' Mature Width- 2-3' - Gardener Status- Novice
Hay-Scented Fern - Dennstaedtia punctilobula
The Hay Scented Fern can grow up to 2 feet tall and spreads up to 3 to 4 feet wide. This hardy plant is a medium green, but changes to yellow in the autumn. Primarily along the eastern United States, this species grows in colonies making great border foliage. Known to repel deer, these robust plants are not advisable to plant next to a weaker species.
The hay-scented fern, also known as the eastern hay-scented fern, is a deciduous fern. It is most abundant along the eastern North American region with individual plants species being observed from Newfoundland to northern Alabama with a significant frequency of species in the Appalachian Mountains. It is named after its delightful "freshly-mowed hay" scent when the fronds are crushed or bruised. This deciduous fern can grow up to two feet in height with an average spread of three to four feet. The fern is most often observed to have light green foliage with leaves changing to a yellow tint in the Fall seasons. Being an invasive species, similar to the New York fern, this species is excellent for homeowners in search of ground cover in their home gardens. It is often sought after for its repellent properties against deer, which is favorable for enthusiasts looking to protect their garden habitats. It grows most optimally in slightly acidic soil environments that can be either dry or damp. It is essential to maintain the distance between this fern and other small, shade-dwelling plants as the hay-scented fern is invasive and can prevent other species from receiving optimal sunlight and thriving. They are favored by gardeners for border edging and the naturalization of the garden due to their rapid colonization and excellent ground coverage. They are often found in open regions, such as meadows, rocky slopes, and fields where they display a green, carpet-like appearance among the forest grounds. This fern, in addition to other deciduous and perennial fern species, is appreciated by many garden enthusiasts for their ground covering attributes, as well as repellent adaptations and attractive tapering qualities in the fronds.