Athyrium asplenioides, (Southern) Lady Fern)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Lady Fern (formerly A. filix-femina) typically grows in wooded ravines, moist woods, and floodplains from southern New England to the southern United Sates. This native is common throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region, except for northern/northeastern Pennsylvania where it is mostly absent. The delicate and graceful appearance of feathery fronds gives rise to its name.

Print Version: Athyrium asplenioides, Southern Lady Fern

Athyrium asplenioides - Fern Height: 1–3 feet                   Spread: 1–21⁄2 feet Bloom Color: Non-flowering  Characteristics Deciduous perennial in whorled clumps Light green, finely divided, arching fronds with reddish-green growth in spring Sori containing spores form on undersides of pinnae (leaflets) Continues to send up fiddleheads until frost Stalks are dark red at maturity Spreads by rhizome, sometimes aggressively  Attributes Tolerates drier soil than some other ferns, dense shade, and rabbits; no serious pests or diseases; deer rarely damage; low maintenance Therapeutic uses Large colonies provide cover for wildlife  Growing and Maintenance Tips Soil Requirements: Rich, well-drained Light Requirements: Partial Shade, Shade Water Requirements: Moist, Wet Shelter from wind so that fronds do not break Divide clumps in spring every few years to reposition crowns at soil level Use in large-scale rain or woodland gardens Hardiness: USDA Zones 4–8  Excellent Replacement for Hedera helix - English Ivy Liriope spicata - Creeping Lily-Turf Vinca minor - Periwinkle

Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets