- Southern Shield Fern - Thelypteris Kunthii Hardy Planting Zones- 7-10 Sun or Shade – Sun and Partial Shade Mature Height - 24-48" Mature Width- 12-48" Bloom Season – Non-flowering Gardener Status- Beginner
Shield Fern - Dryopteris carthusiana
The Shield Fern is a perennial fern species found throughout eastern North America in damp and shady areas. It prefers soil that is moderately acid or circumneutral in colder regions. Once established, Shield Ferns can be considerably drought-resistant. It is an evergreen fern that grows in clumps and bears a prominent and central rootstock. The leaves have a stripe which is the stem that supports the blade. This strip is about 1/4 the length of the sheet and is adorned with bright golden or brown scales. The strip is grooved and grows on the upper side of the leaves. The leaves themselves are thick with a dark bluish-green color and leathery texture.
Although ferns are not unusually large plants, they can grow rapidly and therefore need special care if being grown in a pot. Similarly, most prefer evenly moist, well-drained soil. Any soil type that is heavy with clay or sand should be prepped with some compost or organic matter to create a better growing environment. Ferns are often used in landscaping - especially in shade gardens - to provide some green coloring. The ferns are relatively low-growing and offer a soft touch to any garden. The frilly quality of the leaves is what makes them a beautiful addition to gardens. Their presence is also associated with things like mountain trails and shaded forests. Ferns are relatively easy to grow, so many people enjoy growing them in their gardens outside or even in pots inside rooms with sunny windows. Shield Ferns are a nice touch anywhere.