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5 Favorite Hardy Native Ferns

Native Ferns

Native ferns are bio-indicators, clean the environment, and are a low-maintenance and long-lasting shade addition that can add greenery and beauty without any maintenance needed... Native ferns have been growing for thousands of years, making them the perfect choices for any part of your environment.

In this article, we'll dive into five hardy native plants that easily fit into any corner of your yard or garden – a true testament to their tolerance for different climates and conditions! Let's get started!

Hay scented Fern

It is known as the fragrant Hay Fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula) is a yellowish-green plant with feathery fronds that emit the scent of hay that has been crushed in the late summer. Hay-scented Ferns are found in meadows and open spaces in the canopy of trees throughout the Adirondacks and change to a golden yellow in autumn.

Hay-scented Ferns do not have a lot of applications in medicine. However, some indigenous American groups utilized the plant to treat various illnesses. The Cherokee utilized an infusion of a compound to treat chills. The Mahuna utilized the Fern for hemorrhages in the lungs.

The Fern with a scent of hay thrives best in the shade between whole and part shade and moist, organically rich soil. It is a plant that can be adapted and is also tolerant of rocky, weak, and dry soil after it is established. The Fern is spread vigorously through the rhizomes, which form dense colonies.

Plant a hay-scented fern in the springtime. After planting, water the plants thoroughly and keep doing it each week for the first season.

Christmas ferns


The Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) isn't only an ideal evergreen that adds color to the holiday season. The dense dark green fronds sparkle all year round with very little maintenance, provided it's in the perfect cool, moist and shady environment.

Silvery-green fronds that are tightly coiled unfold in springtime and grow in colonies of rhizome-spreading clumps that work great as borders or accent plants. They are an excellent match for perennial wildflowers and other ferns that love the shade and don't care about the type of soil, which makes them perfect for gardens in the woodland or cottage. They can also be placed in groups on slopes to aid soil erosion.

While they remain green during winter, The fronds lose the upright and arching appearance and lay down flatly on the earth. If they're not covered with snow, they can provide an excellent shelter for birds who visit your garden, and they're a big fan of nest-building fronds.

This evergreen, clump-forming plant is an excellent specimen plant, a border plant. Dark green, lightly shiny fronds look great with the foliage of other perennials that love the shade. Heavy snowfall can flatten fronds; however, they are evergreen.



New York ferns


Ferns are a classic shade plant that is perfect for places in the landscape where the other plant species do not thrive. Planting New York ferns is a good option because they are simple to keep in check, return every year, and grow to fill up spaces. They produce trailing rhizomes, which assist in the growth of new fronds, which means you will get an increase in the number of fronds each year.

New York fern care is undoubtedly a little work, but they will flourish provided you offer them the proper conditions. They require at least a little shade and prefer acidic soil. They can tolerate dry conditions; however, they only require a little irrigation once established. Plant them in a shaded woodland area, a marshy area, or near a stream to get the most optimal outcomes.

Native New York Fern is widely scattered and scarce in Illinois (see the Distribution Map). This Fern is classified as endangered by the state and endangered, but it is found more frequently in the areas farther to the east.

Habitats include moist forests, downland sandy woodlands, sandstone cliffs that are shaded and low areas that run with streams that flow through woodlands with shaded seeps and springs in ravines and hillsides, and swamps. In Illinois, the Fern can be located in habitats of high quality in which the original flora of the ground remains intact.

Maidenhair ferns


Maidenhair ferns feature delicate leaf segments with a fan shape, typically on black, wiry stems. Their leaves are shorter than other fern species. Apart from being a highly sought-after houseplant of ferns, The maidenhair fern is also discovered in the natural world, growing in areas that most other plants don't, such as on rocks and between fractures in the rock in which the water seepage is what keeps the ferns alive.

While they're visually stunning at all stages of their growth, they're considered a fern with slow growth, lasting up to three years to reach mature size.

The art of growing maidenhair ferns in your garden or indoors is easy. The plant is usually found in full to partial shade and likes moist, well-drained soil that has been amended by organic matter, as its natural environment in humus-rich forests.

The ferns don't like dry soil. They thrive best in slightly acidic soils; Maidenhair ferns prefer soil with a higher alkaline pH. Add some crushed limestone to the potting soil for containers and mix it with your garden gardens, which can help in this.

The care of ferns with maidenhair is a little work. While they must be kept dry as part of maintenance, it is essential to be cautious not to drown the plant. This could lead to root and stem mold. However, do not let the hair dry out, either. If it gets dry, take your time to toss it into the trash. Soak it in water for a while, and the maidenhair fern will grow new leaves.

Ostrich ferns


Ostrich ferns can be stunning plants that can cover up areas not covered by a garden. They are immune to typical garden troubles and are simple to maintain. It is possible to enjoy a beautiful, lively garden, with gorgeous leaf elements, with very little maintenance.

More textural than vibrant Ostrich ferns produce enormous fronds of bright green leaves. As they emerge in spring, their distinctive fiddleheads are likely among garden plants' most widespread plant species. As with others in the fern family, the unique characteristic of ostrich ferns can differentiate between fertile and infertile frosts. The sterile fronds are what the majority of people initially envision due to their massive green, vibrant leaves.

Like other ferns and ferns, Ostrich ferns are a favorite of moist soil. It is best to plant them in rich organic soil that's acidic. Maintaining them in a consistent state of being nearly wet will result in abundant growth. Beware of letting the Fern get dry, which results in the drying and browning of leaves. Dry soil can also lead to slow growth, which is smaller.

Ostrich ferns like shady areas. They are more resilient than others; they can withstand an adequate amount of sun so long as they don't dry out. The more sunlight they're exposed to, the more moisture they need. In warmer climates, any more than a bit of sun could result in foliage burning and further water needs. Ostrich ferns generally prefer cooler climates but struggle with warm climates of southern Europe.

Native Ferns Helps Clean The Environment

Hay Scented Fern - TN Nursery

Hay Scented Fern

The Hay-Scented Fern is a deciduous fern known for its delicate, finely divided fronds and a distinctive fragrance reminiscent of freshly mown hay when crushed, commonly found in woodland areas. It is a versatile and attractive plant with numerous landscaping benefits. This deciduous plant is native to North America and can be valuable to garden designs, incorporating texture, ground cover, and visual interest. Hay Scented Fern is native to the open woodlands. Whether it's growing in a pot, adding charm to gardens, or providing flawless ground cover, the natural elegance of the plant can enhance any space. Decorative Attributes of  Hay Scented Fern Also known as dennstaedtia punctilobula, this classy and stylish greenery is both functional and decorative in a laid-back kind of way. The plant has narrow fronds that create bright green leaves throughout the spring and summer. In fall, the fronds turn golden yellow to provide a stunning display of seasonal color. These plants provide superior ground cover, and because of their decorative qualities, the fragrant ferns can add texture and splashes of bright greenery to shade gardens. The greenery also makes a unique and striking border for garden beds. Amazing Fragrance Of Hay Scented Fern Scented types exude an aroma of freshly cut hay in the late summer. That's how this plant got its name. The wonderful aroma smells like summer itself, with the fragrance of freshly mowed lawns hanging sweetly in the warm air. The fresh, summery fragrance is released into the air when the stems are disturbed or broken. Perhaps because of the scent, the plant repels rabbits and deer, which many gardeners appreciate. Fall Foliage Of Hay Scented Fern Because these plants are deciduous, they lose their leaves in late fall and early winter. Nevertheless, because they are shade perennials, the plants produce fresh growth throughout the spring and summer. Garden Display Of Hay Scented Fern Unlike many other species, this plant has individual fronds that grow almost straight up from an underground stem called a rhizome. Plants can be up to two feet tall and four feet wide. The feathery, finely textured fronds are appreciated for their lush and abundant appearance. After emerging from the creeping underground stems, the fronds spread slowly, forming clusters of bright green carpeting over the ground. Abundant little leaflets give the fronds their lush, feathery appeal. The small leaflets have finely serrated margins and pointy, lance-shaped tips that are positioned alternately along the length of the stem. The fronds provide a stunning explosion of vibrant green foliage that makes a stunning backdrop for any surrounding landscape.

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New York Fern - TN Nursery

New York Fern

The New York Fern is a native, deciduous species with delicate, lacy fronds and a distinctive appearance, commonly found in Eastern North American woodlands. These medium-sized, deciduous plants offer a delightful display of yellow-green fronds that carpet the forest floor. The appearance of this plant is that it is blade-shaped with triangular blades. The plant's blade is most comprehensive in the middle and tapers sharply at both ends. The New York Fern is a type of plant that grows well throughout the eastern part of North America, and it's found in large numbers throughout New York. This perennial might just be what you need to fill certain spaces in your yard that would benefit from greenery but might not as be as friendly towards some of the flowers that currently occupy your space. Let's see why this plant might be a good fit in your current landscape. New York Fern Reduces Soil Erosion and Weed Growth These plants are typically used as groundcover in areas where grass and other plants don't do as well. As a result, filling these spaces comes with some benefits. First, this plant takes root to prevent soil erosion in areas where soil isn't being kept in place by root systems. As an added benefit, the growth of this lush green plant throughout your yard makes it difficult for weeds to take root, preventing unwanted weed growth. New York Fern Can Improve the Air Quality Around You These plants are adept at capturing pollutants from the air and making it so that you can breathe a bit easier and enjoy your outdoor space. If you're someone who's constantly being bothered by dust or pollen, consider adding this plant to your landscape along with others that are known to improve air quality. The New York Fern Is a Good Cover for Wildlife Without the Risk of Being Eaten Biodiversity is important on any property, and you'll find that this plant is a friend to local wildlife. For example, this ground cover is known to serve as a great cover for certain animals like toads. The better news? It's not a plant that's typically sought after by larger animals like deer, which means that it will provide cover for other animals until the cold weather comes in. Grows Fast and Gets Thicker With Time This plant is a fast-growing plant that will quickly establish itself in your space, and trailing rhizomes will constantly be shooting up additional fronds that provide an even thicker look to your space. If you're looking for something that's hard to ruin and will start thriving in certain spaces almost immediately, this is the ground cover to go with.

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Maidenhair Fern - TN Nursery

Maidenhair Fern

The Maidenhair Fern is a delicate, deciduous plant with finely divided, fan-shaped fronds and distinctive black stems, adding an elegant touch to shaded gardens and moist woodlands. It is an aesthetically pleasing plant that offers a range of benefits when used in landscaping. Its unique characteristics and visual appeal make it famous for outdoor and indoor spaces. The Maidenhair is prized for its delicate leaves and long lifespan. The scientific name is Adiantum SPP, and it's part of 250 species of these plants, including the Northern, Delta, and Southern Maidenhair ferns. The Greek part of the plants official name means unwetted, and it gets that name from its ability to shed water without truly getting damp. These plants are native to the Himalayas, East Asia, and the eastern part of North America. Maidenhair Fern Characteristics The Adiantum spp are prized for their fan-shaped leaves. They are known to make great houseplants and usually grow between one and two feet tall and the same in width. Their stems are wiry black, while the leaves are bright green. Gardeners can expect them to reach their full height in three years, and they can live up to 15 years with proper care. Best Places to Grow Maidenhair Fern Adiantum SPP grows well in pots, containers, and terrariums, and they can be replanted as they outgrow their containers. In addition to making great container plants, they can be planted in shade gardens and hosta gardens. Benefits of Planting Maidenhair Fern The Adiantum SPP is known for its air purification qualities. The leaves draw in airborne toxins and are used as nutrients. This feature helps them clean the air wherever they are planted. They also release moisture, which can help combat dry indoor air. When the Adiantum SPP is planted outdoors, it can help stabilize loose soil and provide cover for wildlife, including frogs, lizards, and birds. In fact, birds will sometimes use the dried frons to line their nests. Preferred Maidenhair Fern Companion Plants The Adiantum SPP can be grown with a variety of other flowers and ferns, including the strawberry begonia, coral bells, ginger, woodland geraniums, bloodroot, hostas, hellebores, and pulmonarias. Gardeners can enjoy the calmness of the Adiantum SPP indoors and outdoors. They make great potted plants, and they look wonderful around water features and along hillsides. They can also be combined with many other types of ferns and flowers to create eye-catching garden beds.

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Ostrich Fern - TN Nursery

Ostrich Fern

The Ostrich Fern is a large, deciduous fern with graceful, feathery fronds that resemble ostrich plumes, commonly found in moist woodland areas and prized for its ornamental value. It is a magnificent and beneficial plant with several advantages in landscaping projects. The Tall and Lovely Ostrich Fern It's an attractive dimorphic plant that gardeners use all year round to beautify their patches. In its nonfertile state, the plant grows to a height of 6 feet, the gorgeous fronds resembling plumes, hence the plant's name. In its fertile state, which occurs in the fall and early winter, it is much smaller. The shape is interesting, however, so it still provides pleasing shapes in a garden, even if that shape does change. The Different Phases of the Ostrich Fern When nonfertile, it is a rich, almost Kelly green, the arching fronds swooshing enticingly in the breeze. They offer quite a contrast with other blooming plants and serve as color anchors in a garden of flowers. They're hardy, too, so you can plant them nearly anywhere to beautify a particular place. Although they aren't green and sweeping in the winter, they're still attractive as they survive the cold and snow while the perennials are snoozing until the spring. Ostrich Fern: An Environmental Friend First, its extensive root system is a great soil stabilizer, and the other plants in the garden will benefit thereby because its roots prevent erosion and nutrient loss in the soil. Second, they are a boon to various garden-dwelling wildlife. Several species of butterflies and beneficial insects rely on plants like it for shelter and as a place for egg laying and pupae maturation. Perhaps best of all, although fiddleheads are a delicacy for people when cooked, animals don't like their taste. So, you won't have to worry about rabbits, deer, and other woodland creatures venturing into the garden for a snack. The Serenity of the Ostrich Fern Practitioners of feng shui rely on it to bring harmony to both a dwelling and the garden adjacent to it. The way it morphs back into a verdant, thriving plant after being so much smaller throughout the winter indicates a symbolism of new beginnings, too.

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