Athyrium filix-femina

Athyrium filix-femina

Lady fern

  • Botanical name: Athyrium filix-femina
  • Common name: Lady fern
  • Family: Woodsiaceae
  • Plant Type: Perennial, Deciduous
Foliage colour:


The lady fern, Athyrium filix-femina, has delicate, bright green, filigree leaves. It looks fantastic planted in bold swathes with other shade-loving plants in a sheltered, shady woodland edge, shrub or mixed border. Deciduous, it starts to look tatty in autumn, so grow it among evergreen ferns or late-flowering perennials. Cut back foliage in late autumn. 


Grow Athyrium filix-femina in a woodland setting in part-shade, ideally in a sheltered spot as the fronds can break easily. Trim to the ground in late autumn or early spring. Propagate by sowing spores in late-summer, or by division in spring. 

How to grow Athyrium filix-femina

  • Plant size

    1.2m height

    100cm spread

  • Aspect

    North facing, east facing

  • Position in border

    Front, middle

  • Sun exposure: Partial shade, full shade
  • Hardiness: Hardy
  • Soil type: Well drained / light / sandy / clay / heavy / moist / chalky / alkaline / acidic

Plant calendar

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Do not Sow in January

Do not Sow in February

Do not Sow in March

Do not Sow in April

Do not Sow in May

Do not Sow in June

Do not Sow in July

Do Sow in August

Do not Sow in September

Do not Sow in October

Do not Sow in November

Do not Sow in December


Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do Plant in May

Do Plant in June

Do Plant in July

Do Plant in August

Do Plant in September

Do not Plant in October

Do not Plant in November

Do not Plant in December


Do not Divide in January

Do not Divide in February

Do Divide in March

Do Divide in April

Do Divide in May

Do not Divide in June

Do not Divide in July

Do not Divide in August

Do not Divide in September

Do not Divide in October

Do not Divide in November

Do not Divide in December

Athyrium filix-femina and wildlife

Athyrium filix-femina has no particular known value to wildlife in the UK.

Is Athyrium filix-femina poisonous?

Athyrium filix-femina has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:

No reported toxicity to Birds

No reported toxicity to Cats

No reported toxicity to Dogs

No reported toxicity to Horses

No reported toxicity to Livestock

No reported toxicity to People

Plants that go well with Athyrium filix-femina