The glory of ferns gives a beautiful, feathery feature to any household conservatory. What are the hardiest, most attractive ferns to choose for a garden?
The maidenhair fern is a delectable diva with somewhat of an attitude, or at least, it seems so. Their delicate, lacy fronds are a sought-after addition as indoor foliage, but they demand certain conditions from the environment.
First, maidenhair ferns require high humidity. Place the pot in a tray of water. Shaded light works best. Do not expose your maidenhair to drafts or dryness. Dry conditions will cause it to simply go dormant, as it would in the many wild, tropical places it inhabits naturally. If these conditions are met, maidenhair ferns are not difficult to grow.
Cinnamon fern is an outdoor beauty, adding its tall, stately form to shaded fence lines and porch railings. Cinnamon ferns can reach heights of four feet or more, and their double types of fronds have distinct colors and textures. This gives a multi-visual appeal to their beds.
Like most ferns, cinnamon requires plenty of water. They are native to coastal areas and swampland. They are so hardy that their range extends from Florida to Newfoundland. They are quite adaptable, provided they receive enough moisture. The trick to raising them is in the planting. They should be planted after the last frost in your area in deep shade or low sunlight. Plant two feet apart in low or wet areas.
New York Fern is often seen growing in large, fronded groups literally carpeting the forest floors in Northeastern locations of the United States and Canada. They are soft and yellowish-green, standing about one to two feet high. The foliage has a fine, lacy texture and translucence, the delicate leaf blades rounded on the tips. The New York fern has made the endangered list in Illinois, but it is common in areas further east.
This fern enjoys the moist conditions common to all ferns, and dappled woodland shade and sunlight suit it best. A protected area is best for planting, preferably among trees.
A spreading wood fern, unlike many other ferns, has a strong, woody stock branching into large, green feathery fronds. The leaflets of a spreading wood fern have fringed tips. This fern grows one or two feet in height, with a ruffled, wimpled visual effect. This fern is native to cool climates, including the subarctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. It grows well on rocky slopes and cool, moist woods. It is hardy to USDA zone 3, and can withstand winter temperatures at 40 below F.
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