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Fragile Fern

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Height At Maturity
Under 3 Feet
4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
Year Round
Sun & Shade,
Border Plants, Deer Resistant,
Border Plants, Deer Resistant,

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Shipping Information

We ship all plants usps priority mail. They arrive to most locations within 2-3 days. We package all plants to retain moisture to up to 10 days in transit. All plants ships from our warehouses in Tennessee. All plants are grown and shipped from out Altamont (zip) 37301 location. We do drop ship for re-sellers also for those wanting to resell our plants.

How We Protect Your Plants For Transit

All plants are dug and immediately taken to our warehouse and tera-sorb moisture retention gel is applied to the roots and then wrapped in plastic to retain superior moisture for transit. They are placed in corogated cardboard shipping boxes for protection when shipped

Upon Receipt Of Your Plants

Upon receipt of your plants, unpack and unwrap the roots and mist with water. Plant within 24-48 hours. If you can not plant within this time frame, put your plants in a cool location (ex- basement, garage or cellar) and water the roots daily. Cover them back up with the plastic so they will not dry out until you can plant them. After planted, water every evening after the sun goes down for 5 days.

Shipping Dates
Ships Year Round


Fragile fern - Cystopteris fragilis

Fragile fern's appearance is variable, greatly dependent on habitat. It is usually a low clump (10-12 in. tall and 2 ft. across) of narrowly-pointed, twice pinnate fronds. The fragile fern is usually deep brown or black at its base. It is only as it grows upward that it becomes yellow or a bright green. Its central stem is firm to the touch.

It's easy to cultivate, has a compact rhizome, and a spreading habit. It goes dormant if it dries out,  but recovers well.

Part of the Dryopteridaceae (Wood Fern Family), it's typically found  in higher altitudes such as cliffs, ridges, and mountaintops. It prefers moist, nutrient-rich soil. You will also most often find it in New England area in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Erect, frilly, bright green, arching fronds

Fronds have brittle stipes (central stems) which break easily, where it gets its common name.  Like most ferns, each leaf blade is divided into two rows of leaflets. The first edges that branch off from the firm stems are anywhere from 5 to 10 centimeters long. Besides, these leaflets on these blades are more oval than many other types of fern leaflets.

The body of the bush itself is asymmetrical with the branches going every which way. The fronds are also unpredictable, being either fully erect or bowed. The bush body is also anywhere from 6 to 15 inches tall. All of the leaf blades, both the primary one and the small leaflets, are very venous.

Healthiest growth for the fragile fern can be achieved in shady areas with moist but well-drained soil. Ideal soil pH should fall somewhere between 6.5 and 7, but the plant will tolerate soil with a pH as low as 5.5 and as high as 7.5.

They have the typical spore-bearing fronds.

The fragile fern propagates by spore, and the underside of its leaves will become spotted with the rounded sori, or sporangia clusters, which produce and house those spores. As soon as these sporangia ripen, they should be sown atop a humus-rich, sterilized soil and kept consistently moist. Covering their pots with plastic bags can make this effect more comfortable to achieve. Ferns propagated in this manner should not be replanted outside until they reach at least two years of age.

These fronds are not characterized by any hair whatsoever.The fragile fern is easily confused with other members of its species who are very similar. The Fragile Fern is one of nature’s most beautiful ferns. It is also favored by gardeners who are going for a natural, rustic look.

Medicinal qualities

The fragile fern is a typically ornamental plant that, nonetheless, possesses minor medicinal qualities, as well as edible roots.  The roots of the fragile fern can be harvested and used in cold compound infusions to treat injuries, either internally or externally. While these roots are edible, harvesters should practice caution in their preparation, as many ferns can contain thiaminase, an enzyme that, in large quantities, can negatively impact the vitamin B complex of those who consume it. However, heat destroys thiaminase, and cooking this fern makes it safe for consumption.


Fragile Fern (Cystopteris fragilis)

Hardy Planting Zone: USDA zones 2-9.

Mature Height: This fern will reach 6 inches to 1½ foot, on average.

Bloom Season: Non-flowering

Sun or Shade Preferred: The fragile fern prefers both shady and moist conditions but can tolerate up to four hours of direct sunlight, each day.

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