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Fiddlehead Ferns in the form of Ostrich Ferns or Matteuccia Struthiopteris can quickly grow in the backyard garden. The young fronds of these ferns are commonly cooked and eaten like any green leafy vegetable. From the time of germination, it takes a year for the ferns to produce the young spiraled fronds which are the edible part of the plant. They grow in partial shade to full sun and require frequent watering, making them ideal for shade gardens.
Each plant will produce seven fronds and can reach a height of 6 feet. For the plant to remain healthy, only 3 of the fronds are harvested before they open. Over-picking leads to the death of the plant. Fiddlehead ferns can be grown in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 7, and they are a deer-resistant garden foliage plant.
The Japanese Painted Fern
The Athyrium niponicum, more commonly referred to as the Japanese painted fern, is grown as a decorative plant in gardens. One of the most notable visual characteristics of the plant is its deep red stems. The fronds can grow up to about a foot high as well as out to a foot long or more. They are often described as beautiful, containing a blend of silver and purple coloring on a green base. Though a slow-growing plant, it will continue to develop as the year's pass. The Japanese painted fern is widely considered as easy to grow and maintain, and is a fantastic addition to wood or shaded gardens, though will also thrive in an indoor environment with proper care. For the best aesthetic results, the soil around the fern should not be allowed to dry out, and the plant should be kept in the light shade.