Purple-Stemmed Cliffbrake Fern

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Purple-stemmed cliff brake fern-Pellaea atropurpurea

Purple-Stemmed Cliff Brake Fern – Pellaea atropurpurea is a perennial fern plant that grows in an asymmetric clump unique to this fern. Purple-Stemmed Cliff Brake Ferns can grow to ten inches in height and two feet in width. It’s classified as an evergreen plant and will tolerate most conditions except heavy traffic areas. Whether the traffic it is from vehicles or people the plant will not grow well.

The plant is a part of the Maidenhair fern family (Berberidaceae). This is a fern that grows well in zones 5 through 9 and is native to some states. The fern can adapt to drought conditions and requires little watering. It has a natural resistance to most pests, and the plant is resistant to disease. It will grow well in woodland areas, complete shade and likes to grow between rocks or even pavement. The fern grows well in full or nearly full sun with the stem becoming a deeper shade, and it likes limey soil. This fern has spiked green leaves on opposite sides that have curled edges. The plant has a stalk that is a reddish purple color. This fern grows slow to full size, and it has both sterile and fertile leaves. The fertile leaves are growing rhizomes on the underside that will create a whole new plant. The purple stemmed cliffbrake is good for planting in gardens, in landscaping especially rock gardens, like a walk or driveway border and mixed with other plants or flowers. Though planting as borders near driveways or sidewalks, the plants do not tolerate a lot of traffic well and may not make a good choice for those applications. This plant can add a natural beauty that will last for many years in a location it is planted with the right conditions and soil.

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