|Northern maidenhair fern|
Ferns add a delicate touch to your shade garden. Their foliage is very fine textured. Group three or more ferns 2-3 feet apart. Select the specific fern for the garden site, e.g whether it is likely dry or moist soils. Some grow surprisingly well in full sun, but most prefer partial to full shade. Select ferns according to their light and soil moisture requirements.
Here are four species which are easy to grow:
- Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)
- Autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora)
- Lady fern (Athryium felix-femina)
- Northern maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum) - (pictured)
All four ferns prefer a well-drained, highly composted soil and supplemental moisture during long summer dry spells. Keep soil near pH 7.0 (neutral) by occasional liming every few years if soil pH drops.
All four are not finicky, demonstrate good drought tolerance and grow in soil with little to no additional soil prep. Ideally, you should grow ferns in a richly composted garden soil along with adequate moisture over long dry spells. Bi-monthly feeding with a water soluble fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro™, Jack’s™, or Nature’s Source™ from April thru August will get all off to a good start in the first year.