- Leather Wood Fern – Dryopteris marginalis Hardy Planting Zones- 3-8 Sun or Shade – Part Shade, Shade Mature Height - 18-23” Mature Width- 23-29” Bloom Season – Non-flowering Gardener Status- Beginner
Leatherwood Fern - Dryopteris marginalis
The Leatherwood fern, also known as the marginal wood fern, is a non-flowering fern known for its leathery, evergreen fronds. The leaves are gray-green, with spore cases along the margins. The Leatherwood fern grows erect, taking on a vase-like form. This appearance makes the fern an excellent specimen plant, though it can also be grown in groups. In nature, the leatherwood fern is found in mountainous areas, and it prefers moist, fertile soils. It does not tolerate wind and is frequently grown in protected, shaded areas where it acts as an accent plant to shade ground covers like hostas, or wildflowers. Many gardeners place the leatherwood fern in rock gardens, wild and natural gardens or along wooded areas. It is a native to inland regions of the American South where it grows in rocky areas. Like most ferns, its growth rate is slower than that of other foliage plants. Since the leatherwood fern is frequently grown alongside more vigorous plants, its slower growth rate isn't an issue. It will fill in your landscape with contrast and whimsical fronds within a few growing seasons. The plant has no insect or disease issues and is easy to grow and maintain. If your property is rocky, shady or in need of a soft touch, then the leatherwood fern is an excellent choice for your landscape. It can also be grown in mixed containers with annual wildflowers, where it adds height and architectural interest. Additionally, the leatherwood fern's foliage can elegantly frame a walkway or shaded porch.