Ferns

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Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14
Ferns

It seems hard to believe that I'm starting a fern thread; I'm a total fern newbie! I love ferns, it's just that I know almost nothing about them, and until the last few years with some trees gaining size and shading effect, my sun-scorched hillside location was not very fern-friendly.

When I extended my deck, I wondered if ferns could be grown at the foot of the east-facing deck, getting full sun all morning but shaded from early afternoon and after. I worried because from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM, it still gets blazing hot there. So I chose two ferns as guinea pigs, a hopeful guess on my part that ferns could survive this particular man-made position with only partial shade, but most importantly, shaded from the hottest afternoon sun. In 4 years hence, it seems to have worked out rather well; I'm prepared to put more ferns in a "decks edge fern row".

The two ferns chosen were Athyrium filix-femina 'Lady in Red', a showy selection from the New England Wildflower Society, and Dryopteris filix-mas 'Grandiceps Wills', a Male Fern selection with small pinnae crests and larger terminal crests. Both have done very well, although 'Lady in Red' can show some frond burn in the hottest weather... in fact I'm showing a photo of some burn, taken recently after a few days approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but it's really minimal and does not seem to harm the overall vigor and beauty of the fern.

Please tell me about your favorite shade-loving ferns! And someone, please start a thread on sun-loving or xeric ferns.

Hoy
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Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

At home some ferns are weeds seeding themselves in seedpots and everywhere. Still I like ferns and have planted quite a few but have almost no pictures of them!
Here is one from last spring showing the croziers of emerging Dryopteris affinis.
'Lady in Red' looks fine!

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Hoy wrote:

At home some ferns are weeds seeding themselves in seedpots and everywhere. Still I like ferns and have planted quite a few but have almost no pictures of them!
Here is one from last spring showing the croziers of emerging Dryopteris affinis.

How big does D. affinis get (width and height), and does it spread?  I'm looking for ferns that make clumps rather than spread, some ferns can be aggressive spreaders.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Hoy
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Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Mark, D. affinis a native here but it does not spread much neither by spores or otherways. Others like D. carthusiana, dilatata and expansa are worse. And Athyrium filix-femina is worst!

D. affinis get about 1m tall when the conditions are right and about the same width. It is a very nice fern. (Can't show pics until I get home.)

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

penstemon
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-06-24

There are quite a few ferns that will probably take full sun in eastern North America. (They won't here, unless they have constant moisture.) Any of the rock ferns, Pellaea, Cheilanthes, etc., would be good choices.
The problem is that the market for xerophytic ferns is non-existent, which is perfectly understandable, so you would have to grow these from spores.

Bob

extreme western edge of Denver, Colorado; elevation 1705.6 meters, average annual precipitation 30cm; refuses to look at thermometer if it threatens to go below -17C

Harold Peachey
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Joined: 2010-03-22

On a local woods walk yesterday

Asplenium scolopendrium var. americanum

Harold Peachey
USDA Z5, Onondaga, NY US

Harold Peachey
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Title: Member
Joined: 2010-03-22

Asplenium rhizophyllum

Harold Peachey
USDA Z5, Onondaga, NY US

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Asplenium scolopendrium is native where I live but I have never seen them in the wild! But I grow some in my garden. Nice to see a close relative in such an abundance! A. rhizophyllum looks interesting too.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Harold Peachey
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Title: Member
Joined: 2010-03-22

Trond,
These pictures were taken at a Clark Reservation http://nysparks.state.ny.us/parks/126/details.aspx near Syracuse, NY, USA.  The Hart's Tongue grow on the north facing slopes of glacial potholes, growing only on directly north facing slopes, disappearing with only a degree or two variance.  A. scolopendrium v. americanum is listed as rare, locally abundant.  I am fortunate to live in a geologically interesting region that is home to many interesting plant communities.  Interestingly, the European Hart's Tongue A. scolopendrium is tetraploid while the american variety is diploid

Harold Peachey
USDA Z5, Onondaga, NY US

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

I just posted a newsy item about NARGS member Tom Stuart and an article about ferns he is interviewed in. See it here:
http://nargs.org/smf/index.php?topic=602.0

I also learned that Tom Stuart is proprietor of the Hardy Fern Library, an online taxonomical guide.  This is a must-visit site, a one-stop destination for any fern lover!
http://hardyfernlibrary.com/ferns/

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Boland
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Title: Member
Joined: 2009-09-25

Thanks for the link to Stuart's site Mark.

I have about 30 ferns in my yard with more ordered.  I have grow many from spores so I have a few weird unnamed forms.  Dryopteris affinis is one the largest and most impressive ferns in my collection.  They easily reach 1 m and spread a little more, but it is a definite clumper.  You'll love it Mark.  Excellent choice.  Dryopteris goldiana and Polystichum braunii are also large, clumping ferns that are highly recommended.

Todd Boland
St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Zone 5b
1800 mm precipitation per year

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