Ferns For Zone 5
Comptonia, or Sweet Fern as it is more commonly known as is found in the eastern United States from northern Georgia and as far west as Minnesota, and in Canada going south from Quebec. This plant has a confusing name as it is not a real fern.
This deciduous shrub grows 1-1.5 m tall with the leaves of the plant being 3-15 cm long and .4-3 cm across. The leaves give off a sweet odor, especially when crushed, hence the name Sweet Fern. The flowers are unique in that no one flower has both gender organs.
These shrubs are a food source for butterflies and similar insects such as different species of moths. The plants like to grow in sandy areas that are dry and are familiar can be found in pine forests.
The Beech Fern, also known as the Broad Beech Fern, is grown in Northern America and is most common in Illinois. The height of the fronds ranged from 16 - 24 inches in length. Increasing primarily in the Spring and Summer, it can also adapt to growing in the shade. The Beech Fern can usually be found in moist woodlands, hills, and even near rocks. The Beech Fern can be an ideal plant for gardens with waterfalls, fountains, or ponds.
The term bladder fern, or fragile fern, covers an entire genus, Cystopteris, of ferns known as Cystopteridaceae. All varieties of bladder fern can be found amongst rocky areas as well as soil, where they require light shade and only a moderate level of regular watering to thrive. It can sometimes be difficult to correctly identify a given specimen, due to the ease at which this genus hybridizes. The "bladder" nickname comes from the way their sori develop, appearing round and covered with swollen indusia. According to the USDA, bladder ferns grow in hardy zones ranging from 3a to 7b.