Hardy Ferns
The following range of ferns are all grown in 2 litre, 7.5 litre and 20 litre pots and due to the nature of their production are available intermittently throughout the season. Many customers find it easiest for us to suggest a collection for them based on those plants which are looking their best at the time.
ADIANTUM PEDATUM  -  ‘’AMERICAN MAIDENHAIR’’
Fronds: 30cm-50cm   Soil Preference: Acid   Foliage: Deciduous
A very delicate looking species with fan like foliage.  Looks like the houseplant of the same name. Spreads by wiry rhizomes. Prefers a cool site in summer, preferably in shade, in a moist soil. Not suitable for container growing.
ADIANTUM  PEDATUM ‘IMBRUCATUM’
As above, but a little lower in height and the fronds are denser (imbrucatum: overlapping) and more erect. In the right light the foliage appears glaucous. Great for a shady corner of the rock garden.
ASPLENIUM SCOLOPENDRIUM  -  ‘’HART’S TONGUE FERN’’

Fronds: 23-60cm, depending on the soil.   Soil preference: Alkaline   Foliage: Evergreen

A fern that looks nothing like most people’s idea of a fern. It has long narrow strap like leaves that are bright green when young and become darker with age. Although they won’t survive very dry soils, the Harts Tongues are remarkably tough. They don’t mind a bit of sun and although the fronds are longer in alkaline soil, will grow happily in neutral to acidic. Looks really good grown in a container.

We grow the following cultivars, all have the same cultural details but differ in the following ways.

A. SCOLOPENDRUM ‘ANGUSTIFOLIA’  -  ‘’NARROW LEAFED HARTS TONGUE’’
As scolopendrium, but slightly smaller, fronds are narrower and serrated around the edges.
A.  SCOLOPENDRIUM ‘CRISTATA’  -  ‘’CRESTED HART’S TONGUE’’
Smaller than the species with a more rounded appearance, fronds are crested at the ends. Possibly the best of the Hart’s Tongues for the garden.
ASPLENIUM TRICHOMANES  -  ‘’COMMON SPLEENWORT’’

Fronds: 15-35 cm.   Soil preference: Alkaline.   Foliage: Evergreen.

This is a native fern, usually seen growing in the crevices of old walls, sometimes in old lime mortar and very little else. The plant forms a neat rosette of fronds, each with purple black stems and bright green leaves. It seems happiest in semi rather than deep shade, it also prefers a dryer soil then most ferns.
ATHYRIUM FELIX FEMINA  -  ‘’LADY FERN’’

Fronds: 60cm-120cm   Soil preference: Acid   Foliage: Deciduous.

The Lady Ferns are all lovers of shade or semi shade, the midday sun will fry the foliage in the summer. Moist, humus rich soil is best, as they also resent drying out in hot weather,  mulching around the base helps a lot. The fact that Lady Ferns are deciduous puts some people off using them, but the space created as they die down is ideal for planting winter and spring flowering bulbs. As the bulbs die down, up come the new fronds to hide the dying foliage. 

We also grow the following cultivars, all have the same cultural details but differ in the following ways:
A. FELIX FEMINA ‘FRIZZELIAE’  -  ‘’IRISH TATTING FERN’’
The fronds are long and slender and the ‘’leaves’’ are very small and rounded, giving the frond the appearance of a necklace, if you have a good imagination. An extraordinary looking little fern which defies description! Grows to about 45cm.
A. FELIX FEMINA ‘VICTORIAE’  -  ‘’LADY FERN’’
Strong growing fern, but very delicate to look at. The fronds end in tassles and all the pinnae (leaflets) are paired so as to form crosses.  Can grow to 3 feet or more.
ATHYRIUM NIPONICUM ‘PICTUM’  - ‘’JAPANESE PAINTED FERN’’

Fronds: 40-60cm.        Soil preference: Acid.   Foliage: Deciduous

The only fern that can be described as ‘’variegated’’.  The fronds are soft silver grey with burgundy midrib and veins. Best colour is obtained by growing in shade but with good indirect light.
 
ATHYRIUM OTOPHORUM – “EARED LADY FERN”

Fronds 30-45cm.  Foliage: Deciduous

This fern has lance shaped, green leaves which have reddish veins and mid-ribs.  It retains its fronds quite late into the autumn.
ATHYRIUM OTOPHORUM ‘OKANUM’  -  ‘’RED STEMMED FERN’’

Fronds: 50-65cm.        Soil preference: Acid.   Foliage: Semi Evergreen.

This fern is described as deciduous on the colour label, but in my own garden it is proving evergreen although it is easily flattened by snow. The fronds are very pale green when young and become darker with age. As the common name suggests, the stems are deep wine red in colour and contrast well with the pinnae.
BLECHNUM PENNA MARINA  -  ‘’ALPINE WATER FERN’’

Fronds: 15-30cm.        Soil preference: Acid / wet.            Foliage: Evergreen.

A delightful little fern that is ideal as ground cover. Given a moist soil it will grow in a sunny situation as well as it does in shade. As it is a creeping fern it prefers a friable humus rich soil, this will enable it to spread.
BLECHNUM SPICANT  -  ‘’HARD FERN’’

Fronds: 26-60cm.        Soil preference: Acid.   Foliage: Evergreen.

A very hardy native fern, easily  grown in a shady position. Forms a neat mound of ‘’ladder’’ like fronds. New fronds are pale green and contrast well with the older dark green ones.
CYRTOMIUM FALCATUM  -  ‘’JAPANESE HOLLY FERN’’

Fronds:  24-48cm.   Soil preference: Acid/Alkaline   Foliage: Evergreen

This is one of two japanese Holly Ferns we grow, see below. The individual leaflets are dark green, shiny and thick textured, coupled with the serrated edges this gives rise to the name Holly Fern. This is an easily grown fern and will tolerate most soil types and conditions. It will even grow in full sun!
CYRTOMIUM FORTUNEI  -  ‘’JAPANESE HOLLY FERN’’

Fronds: 25-50cm.        Soil preference: Acid.   Foliage: Evergreen

This is similar to the above but with less serration on the leaflets and a more upright habit. It is also less tolerant of extreme conditions and prefers an acidic loamy soil.
DRYOPTERIS AFFINIS – “GOLDEN MALE FERN”

Fronds 1-1.2m.  Foliage: Deciduous

This fern has lance shaped fronds which are very impressive when uncurling. The fronds are dark green with golden- brown scaly stems.
DRYOPTERIS AFFINIS CRISTATA ‘THE KING’  -  ‘’SCALY MALE FERN’’

Fronds: 90-120cm.   Soil preference: Neutral to Acid.   Foliage: Semi-Evergreen.

An aptly named fern as it makes a magnificent large display of foliage. The fronds are rich green with large crests on the frond ends and pinnae (leaflets). It is a very tough, strong grower and is a must for all collections.
DRYOPTERIS CRISTATA

Fronds 90cm.+. Soil preference: Moist

This fern is often taller than 90cm.  The fronds are fairly erect and are crested at the tips.
DRYOPTERIS CYCADINA  -  ‘’SHAGGY SHIELD FERN’’
Fronds: 20-40cm.        Soil preference: Neutral to Acid/moist.   Foliage: Evergreen
A distinctive fern, the stems are covered with long black scales and the foliage has a tropical almost ‘’palmy’’ look to it. A very hardy fern needing partial shade
DRYOPTERIS ERYTHROSORA  -  ‘’AUTUMN FERN’’
Fronds: 20-45cm.        Soil preference: Acid/Alkaline.   Foliage: Evergreen

One of the most popular of all ferns, easily grown in any soil that is not waterlogged, will grow in sun or shade and can be grown in a container. What more could you ask? The new foliage is coppery gold, maturing to glossy green.

DRYOPTERIS FELIX-MAS  -  ‘’MALE FERN’’
Fronds: 60-150cm.   Soil preference: Neutral to Acid.   Foliage: Semi- Evergree n.

Probably the best known of our native ferns with its tall upright leathery, tough looking fronds. Maybe a bit large for the small garden, many of the cultivars are smaller, see below. Although semi-evergreen it will benefit from being cut down in early spring to tidy up the older fronds.

DRYOPTERIS FELIX MAS LINEARIS

Fronds: 60cm  Foliage: Deciduous
This fern is fairly robust although it looks delicate.  It has dark green erect fronds with narrow pinnules  which can tolerate a windy part of the garden.  Several crowns can be produced over the years.
DRYOPTERIS SIEBOLDII
Fronds 45 to 60cm  Foliage: Deciduous

This fern is unlike any other Dryopteris in that it has leathery, triangular, lance shaped fronds.  They are pale green and the plant requres a shady situation with well drained soil.

DRYOPTERIS DILATATA CRISPA WHITESIDE – “Broad Buckler Fern”

Fronds 60cm

This fern prefers the shade and a well drained soil.  The fronds are triangular and are broadly lance shaped.  The ends of the fronds are crispy
GYMNOCARPIUM DRYOPTERIS ‘PLUMOSUM’  -  ‘’OAK FERN’’

Fronds: 15-30cm.        Soil preference: Acid.   Foliage: Deciduous.

Given a soil that is not allowed to dry out, the Oak Fern will make excellent ground cover in shade. It spreads by slender underground rhizomes which like an open humus rich soil. The feathery pale green triangular fronds are held at 90 degrees to the short stems and so give a good carpet of foliage.
 
MATTEUCIA ORIENTALIS  -  ‘’SMALL OSTRICH FERN’’

Fronds: 30-90cm.   Soil preference: Acid.   Foliage: Deciduous.

Many people will know M. struthiopteris, the Ostrich Feather Fern, this is its lesser-known stout little brother! It is easily grown in acid loamy soil with some shade when the sun is at its zenith. Spreads quite rapidly via underground rhizomes and produces tough looking fronds that arch over backwards, almost to the ground.
MATTEUCIA STRUTHIOPTERIS  -  ‘’OSTRICH FEATHER FERN’’

Fronds: 60-150cm.   Soil preference: Acid.   Foliage: Deciduous.

Another very well known fern, also known as the ‘’Shuttlecock’’ fern, as the rosette of fronds resembles a shuttlecock when fully open. Very easily grown in acidic soil that is on the damp side; get the conditions right and you may as well be growing Bracken as it can be very invasive. Don’t let this put you off though, just choose your site well.
ONOCLEA SENSIBILIS  -  ‘’SENSITIVE FERN’’

Fronds: 30-60cm.        Soil preference: Acid/Neutral.   Foliage: Deciduous.

The common name comes from the frond’s susceptibility to frosts in this country, in warmer climates it is evergreen. When grown in a wet soil it will happily stand full sun and will form a spreading colony and can be used to stabilise stream banks etc. The upright triangular fronds are pale green.
OSMUNDA REGALIS  -  ‘’ROYAL FERN’’

Fronds: 60-210cm   Soil preference: Acid/ neutral.   Foliage: Deciduous

One of the largest of our Hardy Ferns growing well in a wet soil. The new fronds unfurl on coppery bronze brown stems, turning from pale green to dark green with age. Older plants can form a stout ‘’trunk’’ and the fronds can be over four feet in length. Once frosted the fronds turn a pale chestnut brown and last all winter, giving a good display until March when they should be removed.
OSMUNDA REGALIS ‘PURPURESCENS’  -  ‘’ROYAL FERN’’

As above. The new stems are a pinkish purple shade in spring and are tinged purple throughout summer. Not quite as exciting as it sounds.

POLYPODIUM VULGARE                -  ‘’POLYPODY’’

Fronds: 20-45cm.        Soil preference: Acid/Alkaline   Foliage: Evergreen

Our native Polypody can often be seen growing along the branches of oak trees or even on old roofs. Its dark green fronds are deeply lobed and give the appearance of a double-sided comb. It makes good ground cover and other than being a bit susceptible to drought, which will usually only fry off the foliage and not kill the plant, it is very tough and adaptable.
POLYSTICHUM ACULEATUM  -  ‘’HARD SHIELD FERN’’
Fronds: 60-120cm.   Soil preference: Alkaline.   Foliage: Evergreen

An easily grown fern for a moist lightly shaded position. A mature plant makes a dense clump of foliage in which the older foliage is very dark glossy green. In spring the new fronds are light green and as they unfurl, curl over backward. These contrast well in the dark background.

POLYSTICHUM MUNITIUM  -  ‘’SWORD FERN’’
Fronds: 30-90cm.        Soil preference: Acid.   Foliage: Evergreen
As with many ferns, a moist shady situation is best for the sword fern. Not the most exciting fern when young but as it matures the long finely cut fronds can be up to three feet or more. These tend to curl and arch over giving a lovely effect.
POLYSTICHUM POLYBLAPHARUM  -  ‘’SCALY SHIELD FERN’’
Fronds: 60-120cm.   Soil preference: Acid.   Foliage: Evergreen
A super fern, it is easily grown in semi-shade or shade in a humus rich soil where it will form a rosette of foliage. The fronds are glossy dark green doubly pinnate and harshly textured.
POLYSTICHUM SETIFERUM  -  ‘’SOFT SHIELD FERN’’
Fronds: 60-90cm.        Soil preference: Acid/Alkaline.   Foliage: Evergreen
One of the most popular of the garden ferns, forming a low spreading mound. Its colouring is a soft mid-green and the fronds are branched into many smaller leaflets, giving it a very soft appearance. It can be easily grown in partial sun or shade in a loamy soil. In most situations P. setiferum will only get to a couple of feet in height and the cultivars even less. The fronds can also produce small plantlets along their length. These can be carefully cut off and grown on peat and sand in a tray covered with polythene.
P. SETIFERUM ‘CONGESTUM’ 

Cultivation as above. Much smaller, 15-23cm only, and not as ‘soft’ looking. An excellent little plant for the rock garden.

P.SETIFERUM ‘HERRENHAUSEN’

As above in cultivation size and appearance except that the fronds are even more divided, congested and overlapping. A superb fern when mature.

P. SETIFERUM ‘PLUMOSUM DENSUM’

As above in cultivation and appearance except that the fronds are even more divided than Herrenhausen, giving it the appearance of a low mossy mound of about 45cm.

 
WOODSIA OBTUSA  -  ‘’BLUNT LOBED WOODSIA’’  
Fronds: 15-45cm.        Soil preference: Neutral/Alkaline.   Foliage: Deciduous.
A lovely little plant for a well-drained container or rock garden in shade. The soft looking pale green, bipinnate fronds make a fine show especially in Spring.
   
  Tree Ferns

 

DICKSONIA ANTARCTICA  -  ‘’TASMANIAN TREE FERN’’