Ferns For Sun
Ferns are well known for their bright green colors and feathery fronds. Many gardeners think of them as small, delicate additions to the home garden, however, this is not the case. They come in many varieties, some reaching nearly six feet in height. Whether you're looking for an attractive ground cover or a crown jewel, a fern just may fit the bill.
Most do best in well-shaded gardens with moist soil. However, some species thrive in hot climates, direct sun, and can even take frost. If the shade is needed, plant in a shaded garden, or by place your fern under taller plants. If your soil is not naturally well-draining, consider some amendments. Leaf litter compost and peat moss both create the damp, humus-enriched soil ferns love.
Do you want a naturally spreading fern to mimic a forest floor? Consider species such as the lacy, delicate Adiantum venustum, the Himalayan Maidenhair fern, or the Oak fern, Gymnocarpium dryopteris. These plants are naturally spreading and will cover the garden floor. The ground cover gives a lush green appearance and is also a natural way to help keep your garden soil moist. As a showcase plant, consider planting some rare species such as the Japanese Painted fern Athyrium niponicum var. 'Pictum,' whose leaves are often a silvery green with red highlights. The fronds of the attractive Dryopteris erythrosora, or Shield fern, start out as bright red-orange or pink before turning to a glossy green. These dramatic plants draw the eye and hold their own in both formal and casual landscape plans.
Ferns do best when planted in the growing season, typically between April and October. Give them plenty of time to acclimate to winter, and you'll be treated to many years of their graceful beauty.