The Deer Fern
The Deer Fern (Blechnum spicant) is aptly-named because the plant is widely considered deer resistant and works very well as a border plant for areas where wildlife is unwanted. This particular plant grows to heights ranging from 8-20" tall with an estimated width up to 24" wide. The Deer Fern grows to a darkest, luscious green color with even darker, thick stems which make the plant very sturdy. It grows very well in most soil compositions and requires average to wet conditions. Light requirements range from partial sun/partial shade to full shade. The plant does most of it's growing in the Spring/Summer months but does experience some growth year round. The Deer Fern flourishes well in zones 5-8 and requires minimal maintenance, but appears at it's best if old fronds are trimmed when new ones appear in the early Spring.
The Deer Fern or Blechnum spicant is an evergreen groundcover, in small scale. This fern is apart of the Chain Fern Family of plants.
The fern has two different fronds. One is sterile which is short with flat wavy leaflets that are 5 to 8 mm in width. Sterile fronds are flexible and have an arch to them. The fertile fronds are stiff and upright. Its leaves tend to be much narrower than those on the sterile frond, and the spores can be found on the underside of them.
The fern works well as a stand-alone plant in gardens that may not have a lot of room. But is a more useful component in a woodland garden. Use as an accent plant or plant with other ferns as it is a relatively adaptable fern.
If grown in an area where that wildlife is present nibbling on the ferns is possible. The fern is an important foraging option for deer, elk, moose, caribou, goats, and sheep.