Native Fern Plants are Hardy and Make Excellent Border Plants
Most landscapes or gardens can benefit from incorporating fern plants because they are carefree, low-maintenance choices for borders, ground covers, or filling gaps between other plants. Fern plants are hardy so that they can withstand even the harshest conditions from drought to freezing winter. Though most ferns thrive best in partial shade and moist soil, some selections can handle full sun. Ferns have a high visual impact when used as a border plant around fences or walkways.
New York Ferns are a popular choice among landscapers because they make great ground covers. These ferns have soft, yellow-green foliage and blades which taper at the base and tip of the leaflet. They pair well with spring arrangements because they will take up the space left behind when the perennial spring bulbs or wildflowers go dormant. New York ferns require partial to full shade and mix well when planted with other ferns, such as the Christmas fern, for added texture. Though they form dense colonies because they are rapid growers, these ferns are quite easy to control and require little care. They can grow up to a foot tall.
Christmas ferns are known for their sturdy fronds which are characteristically evergreen and glossy, with clumps that grow up to two feet wide. As indicated by the name, this fern is an excellent choice for a winter plant because it is frost tolerant and never changes color. This fern needs slightly acidic, well-draining soil, but can grow in very dry or moist environments and requires partial to full shade. Christmas ferns are deer resistant and can also be used in containers.
Hay-scented ferns are aptly named for the aroma they produce when the leaflets are crushed or bruised which smells like freshly cut grass or hay. This fern requires plenty of space because it is a fast grower. In the spring seasons, hay-scented ferns have a beautiful chartreuse color and will turn a russet bronze in the fall months. They can grow in partial sun or full shade areas.
Bracken ferns are a great solution if you would like to use a fern as a border plant in an area that gets sun exposure. Although the bracken fern will still thrive in partial shade, it can handle full sunlight. Bracken ferns can grow quite tall, anywhere from one to four feet, with large, triangular fronds. They can handle moist to dry, well-draining soil.