Netted Chain Fern - Woodwardia areolata
Netted Chain Fern is a leafy, durable plant, native to southeastern North America, which easily spreads in ideal growing conditions. The lush green color of the deciduous Netted chain fern is a perfect choice for gardens. Netted Chain Fern is a leafy, durable plant, native to southeastern North America, which easily spreads in ideal growing conditions. Netted chain ferns like the shade but can do well in the sun as long as the soil remains consistently moist. As shade is their optimum growing condition, you’ll find that they spread out in heavy shade. In the sun, they tend to cluster.
Netted chain ferns grow between one to two feet high with fronds spreading out from four to eight inches wide. Some ferns will extend to three feet high. As long as the soil does not dry out between waterings, this perennial fern is a low-maintenance plant that does not suffer any serious insect or disease problems.
The plant has both sterile and fertile fronds. The sterile frond has raised veins which form a net-like pattern. The fertile fronds, which appear in summer, have the same characteristics but are not as wide. In fact, the name “chain fern” refers to this net-like pattern. Additional characteristics include a somewhat scaly underside and a leaf stalk that has a red-brown lower section.
The plant forms new plants from its rhizome or the spores that grow on the underside of its leaves. The colony spreads slowly and is easy to control. Grow them as a ground cover in wet, shady areas or plant them under large trees. If you’re looking to add plants next to a pond or stream, these netted chain ferns are a good choice. They’re also excellent plants if you need to add a touch of rich, green color to your property. Landscapers can consider mixing netted chain ferns with other ferns. In its natural habitat, you’ll find them near streams, rivers, or in forests with acidic soils.