If you’ve had any plant experience, I’m sure you’ve had at least one fern in your lifetime. However, did you know that there are hundreds of varieties of perennial ferns that could become a permanent place in your landscape?

Most perennial ferns prefer the same environment to grow, dappled shade for the lighting, and soil rich in organic compost. Our native clay is fine as long as plenty of soil amendment is used. They appreciate the moisture, but most don’t want to be soggy. However, they will need a little extra water in times of drought. Although these ferns are perennial, many die down after frost to go dormant in the winter. The old foliage doesn’t need to be removed, but it is okay to trim off the brown.

If you like an evergreen fern, there are several choices. Consider Christmas Fern, Autumn Fern, Tassel Fern, or Holly Fern, to name a few. Perennial Fern can offer different heights as well as textures. Some plants are low ground covers, while others can grow three to six feet tall. If you have shade and are having trouble keeping a lawn looking healthy, consider replacing your grass areas with large areas of hardy ferns. They will grow quickly, and it won’t be a mowable lawn, but having the different textures of these hardy ferns, might be the ticket.

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