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Top Benefits of Using Ferns When Landscaping Your Property
Ferns rank among the most popular plants for residential and commercial landscapes because they provide subtle greenery in spaces other plants might not succeed. This low-maintenance plant tends to flourish in full or partial shade areas, adding lovely fronds to landscapes. While every plant, shrub, and tree provides wide-reaching landscaping benefits, ferns remain a unique asset worthy of consideration. If you are developing a landscape design or want to enhance your grounds, our TN plant nursery stocks a variety of beautiful ferns. And our knowledgeable team would like to share the benefits of employing ferns so that you can make informed landscaping decisions.
Fast Facts About Ferns
Fossils indicate that ferns were part of the natural world nearly 400 million years ago, making them one of the oldest plant groups. Although the vast majority of ancient ferns went extinct, the roots of today’s varieties can be traced back upwards of 70 million years.
The ferns everyday people see thriving in forests, countryside's, and human landscapes stand as the second-most diverse plant group on the planet. With an estimated 10,500 species of ferns, they outnumber non-flowering plants at a rate of 4-to-1. Only flowering plants enjoy greater diversity than ferns.
Plants in the modern fern family typically share several foundational traits. One of the primary differences between ferns and other species involves the fact they have an underground stem from which leaves sprout. Most other plants enjoy an above-ground stem. Although their uniqueness and prehistoric tale proves fascinating, everyday people find the peaceful enjoyment ferns deliver to their landscape rewarding.
Benefits of Integrating Ferns into Your Landscape
Along with ranking as the second-most diverse species, fern plants also come in different sizes. These may range from large flowing varieties to small and even dwarf fern plants. The species and height differences offer home and commercial property owners increased flexibility. These are benefits property owners can enjoy by integrating ferns.
- Accent Walkways: Planting ferns along walkways helps define and soften bricks, concrete, and wooden steps. Because ferns do not have stems above ground, they do present a slip and fall hazard.
- Enhance Tree Bases: Landscaping professionals sometimes want to highlight or enhance the space where trees meet the ground. Some designs include adding a brick or stone circular raised garden around the tree base. That strategy can lead to rot in well-established trees. Tilling the ground and planting fern plants can accomplish the same design element without taking a risk. Home and commercial property owners can select ferns that reach the desired height as well.
- Improve Forest Health: Property owners often find that a thriving fern population mitigates issues in forests. Ferns add lush greenery and help protect the ground from accumulating dry brush that could lead to a wildfire. These plants also add cover for wildlife, and that supports biodiversity.
- Enhance Layered Hillsides: When property owners cut into hillsides and embed timber, concrete, or stone, that does not necessarily look appealing. Landscape professionals sometimes layer the sides of hills and leave a growing space. Ferns remain a top choice for this space because they stay green and require little or no maintenance.
- Highlight Flowering Plants: Imagine that you plan to integrate tall perennial flowering plants such as Daisies or Black-Eyed Susans. It may be aesthetically worthwhile to place ferns in the foreground to increase the greenery. The subtle fronds generally help direct the eye to the colorful blooms of flowering plants.
Homeowners with low-light verandas also find that integrating ferns into these indoor-outdoor living spaces enhances peaceful enjoyment. Of course, selecting the right fern plants to accomplish your goals requires some due diligence.
What are the Best Fern Plants for Landscaping?
It would be wildly impractical to touch on the more than 10,000 varieties of ferns. Many would not necessarily thrive in TN, given the cold winters, soil types, and other factors. But the following ferns, among others, do increasingly well in this region.
- Christmas Ferns: Native to TN and the eastern U.S., this variety maintains its dark green fronds all year long. They tend to mature to 1-2 feet relatively slowly and tend to live a long time.
- Maidenhair Ferns: This variety likes acidic, moist soil and matures to 2.5 feet with a spread radius of 1.5 feet. The leaves emerge as a bright green.
- Sensitive Ferns: This native to TN can withstand full-sun with adequate watering.
- New York Ferns: This native woodland variety matures to 24 inches in height and width. They generally spread easily and clump nicely. Homeowners also like that deer usually lack interest in eating them.
- Ostrich Ferns: Another native to TN, this variety typically grows in a clump and can mature to 6 feet tall and 4 feet around. They enjoy an iconic curled fiddlehead as well as a lacy frond. The fertile fiddleheads usually appear during summer.
When making your landscaping decisions, flowering plants, shrubs, and trees tend to draw the eye. But ferns remain a foundational asset that can enhance a landscape in wide-reaching ways.
Select Lovely Fern Plants from Our TN Nursery Inventory
As a TN plant nursery committed to serving our community’s needs, we hope these landscaping ideas prove useful. If you plan to design a landscape or enhance an existing one, our experienced professionals are ready to answer any questions and help you select the best ferns to meet your needs. Contact our TN nursery today.