- Netted Chain Fern-Woodwardia areolata Hardy Planting Zones- 3-9 Sun or Shade – Partial to Full Shade Mature Height - 1-2' Mature Width- 1-2' Bloom Season – n/a Gardener Status- Beginner
Chain Fern-Woodwardia Areolata is a fern that multiplies in soils that are moist and organically rich. It will grow in full shade to part shade and will do well in the average garden soil but prefers acidic soil.
The colony-forming fern has waxy green leaves and bronze colored fiddleheads. Each fern plant stands about 2 feet tall, and each fern frond is approximately 4 to 8 inches long. Fertile fronds, which are broad-leaf, look very different from sterile fronds, which are very thin. The plant is compact and maintains a neat look and is well-behaved in the garden, spreading via slender rhizomes.
They do not produce seed nor flowers but spread by creeping on the ground. Ferns have been researched for their ability to remedy soil that has been contaminated by pollutants. They are also great for purifying the air. Planting these ferns along a walking path would give the interesting ornamental design to any shady yard. Ferns are a valuable part of the ecological system; birds feed off of the insects that are attracted to these wetland ferns. Also if these ferns are encouraged to creep along the side of a tree, they will attract a variety of fascinating wildlife. The chain fern has such a random growth pattern which allows it to be used as ground cover in those bare spot of your landscape. Chain Fern is commonly used for its coverage ability. Chain Fern is more widely used as ground cover or to obscure a garden fence or wall. This is a very adaptable plant and will suit most soils that will seem unconventional to be planted with most plants. It is often confused with a Sensitive Fern, but the Netted Chain Fern has more extended and more fertile fronds. Which helps add to the ground cover aspect of this fern? This species of fern is not just for residential yards but can grow well in wet places where there is seepage from mineral rocks. Or areas that have an abundance of rocks that have been recently disturbed by construction. These ferns can grow in shaded swamps, the damp woodland, even know to grow around brackish waters.