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By adding a soft, green backdrop for other plants and drawing the eye with their graceful, arching fronds, ferns can be used to create lovely borders.
Christmas Ferns (Polystichum acrostichoides)
Christmas ferns can be used to create unique borders that will be enjoyed all year round due to parts of the plant that stay green no matter the season. Growing at a fast rate, their dark, glossy green fronds grow up to three feet long and four inches wide, with the entire plant reaching a width of one to three feet. Hardy in Zones 3-9, Christmas ferns grow best in moist, well-drained soil in areas that are partial to fully shaded, but they will tolerate some sun and dry soil. This adaptable fern makes an excellent ground cover and works well as an accent plant in shaded borders.
New York Ferns(Thelypteris noveboracensis)
With their fine-textured, thin foliage, New York ferns add a delicate touch to gardens and borders. These yellowish green ferns grow at a medium rate and stand one to two feet tall with gradually tapering fronds that are around four inches at the widest part. Hardy in Zones 4-8, these demure evergreen ferns require partial to full shade in moist, humus-rich, somewhat acidic soil. Use these low-maintenance ferns as a beautiful green backdrop for wildflowers or other plants, or to create softly-colored borders.
Hay Scented Ferns (Dennstaedtia punctilobula)
Fast-growing hay-scented ferns have beautiful light green, lacy fronds and grow up to two feet tall and three feet wide. When brushed or bruised, hay-scented ferns release a fragrance that reminds one of freshly mown hay. Hardy in Zones 3-8, they enjoy partial to full shade and moist, fertile, acidic soil but will tolerate a wide range of soil conditions. Use these ferns to beautify a woodland garden, or to create a border of green that will last throughout the year.