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Athyrium filix-femina

Lady fern

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Key information

Plant type

Hardy perennial


Dramatic foliage



Skill level


photo by Richard Bloom, copyright GAP Photos (57208)

Plant details

The lady fern is one of the prettiest of the deciduous hardy ferns, with delicate, lacy, ladder-like foliage which is a good fresh green colour it looks its best in late spring and early summer when the foliage is still young. It associates well in cool shady corners with other hardy ferns, woodlanders, and shade and moisture loving perennials especially others with superb foliage such as solomon's seal. It is also good planted in groups in woodland clearings and among rhododendrons, camellias and pieris. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Family: Woodsiaceae

Genus: Athyrium

Species: filix-femina

Plant type: Hardy perennial

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Dramatic foliage

Sun exposure: Partial shade, Shade

Soil: Acidic, Chalky/alkaline, Moist, Boggy

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Experienced

Height: 120cm

Spread: 60cm

Time to divide plants: March to May

Reader reviews


I need to clear some ground of ferns approx 30 sq meters to prevent them coming back have cut down to ground level, any advice?

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