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Dryopteris affinis is a magnificent garden fern, bearing a shuttlecock of long, upright, pale green fronds with contrasting brown, scaley stems in spring. In mild winters it will stay green, but in cold, exposed positions it's more likely to be deciduous.
Despite needing shade to thrive, Dryopteris affinis happily tolerates several hours of sun each day, and is more wind-resistant than most ferns. It's a great choice for damp, shady parts of the garden, where it has terrific presence, contrasting well with low groundcover plants. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Plant type: Hardy perennial
Foliage colour: Light green
Feature: Dramatic foliage
Sun exposure: Partial shade, Shade
Skill level: Beginner
Time to divide plants: April to April
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