Athyrium filix-femina - Lady Fern
Athyrium filix-femina - Lady Fern

Athyrium filix-femina - Lady Fern

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SKU: F29053
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Quick Facts
Common Name: Lady Fern
Hardiness Zone: 3-8S/9W Exposure: Full Sun to Full Shade
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Height: 30-36"
Spacing: 24-30" Read our Growing Guide
Ships as: BAREROOT Deer Resistance: Yes
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Shipping Details Shipment begins in late August 2016, depending on your zone. See shipping tab for details

Product Details

Product Details

The lacy 30–36″ fronds of this deciduous native species unfurl pale green and turn darker as the season progresses. Equally happy in full sun or shade and not fussy about soil conditions, though it draws the line at swamps and deserts. Makes a superb companion for Oriental Lilies.

For more information on the growing and care of Ferns, click Growing Guide.




The size of the plants we ship has been selected to reduce the shock of transplanting. For some, this means a large, bareroot crown. Others cannot travel bareroot or transplant best if grown in containers. We ship these perennials and annuals in 1 pint pots, except as noted. We must point out that many perennials will not bloom the first year after planting, but will the following year, amply rewarding your patience. We ship bulbs as dormant, bare bulbs, sometimes with some wood shavings or moss. Shrubs, Roses, vines, and other woody plants may be shipped bareroot or in pots. The size of the pot is noted in the quick facts for each item.


We ship our bulbs and plants at the right time for planting in your area, except as noted, with orders dispatched on a first-come, first-served basis by climate zone. Estimated dates for shipping are indicated in the Shipping Details box for each item. Please refer to the Shipping Details box to determine the earliest shipping time. Unless you specify otherwise, fertilizers, tools, and other non-plant items are shipped with your plants or bulbs. Please supply a street address for delivery. Kindly contact us with two weeks notice, if you'll be away at expected time of delivery.


We guarantee to ship plants that are in prime condition for growing. If your order is damaged or fails to meet your expectations, we will cheerfully replace or refund it. Please contact our Customer Service Department at 1-800-503-9624 or email us at [email protected]. Please include your order number or customer number when contacting us.



Average Customer Rating: (8 Reviews) Write a Review

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Love this fern!

pattijnr from Florence, ALabama

It tolerates sun very well, and sends numerous shoots out in good light soil creating other plants. I cut it for arrangements, and it lasts well in a vase.

28 of 28 people found this review helpful. Do you? yes no

Long Live, Tough and Beautiful

Savvy Shopper from Seneca, South Carolina

I bought these ferns over ten years ago from White Flower Farm. Planted bare root plants along a path in the partly sunny area of my perennial garden of a weekend home. They did not get regular water or any attention and they look great. This past winter and Spring we underwent major contruction to home and property. These tough ferns came back even though all the soil was plowed around them. I have found them to be one of the most drought tolerant ferns around. They do well in sun or shade, but seem to prefer dappled sun. I love these so much I am now ready to buy more for other locations. Even with complete neglect (no regular water or fertilization) they come back year after year. The worst I saw was browning of the tips during a historic 100 year drought season. I highly recommend.

23 of 23 people found this review helpful. Do you? yes no

Lady Fern

Linda from Linden, MI

I was so excited to receive my WFF Lady Ferns, this spring...I planted them as soon as they arrived, according to the directions enclosed. Of the six I received and planted, only 3 have come up! The other three are doing very well and planted in the same! Is there anything I can do to save the three that did not emmerge? Too pricy if they aren't guaranteed.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful. Do you? yes no

Beautiful, delicate fern

Martha L from Torrington, CT

This is a great fern. Very delicate and very attractive as an underplanting for taller perennials and as a companion to summer blooming bulbs. Holds up well in floral arrangements and gives a shady garden a "cool and tropical" look. Also great paired with other ferns as well.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful. Do you? yes no

Big Disappointment

Marie from Chicago, Illinois

I planted 3 ferns in an area where other ferns thrive and after two growing seasons they have yet to make an appearance.
I would not recommend this plant for a Midwestern garden.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful. Do you? yes no  Certified buyer

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Growing guide

Growing guide

Indispensable for shady areas, these delicate plants make the hottest summer day seem cooler. Great variety exists in form and size, giving the creative gardener many planting options. Most Ferns are slow growing and can take several years to reach their mature size, which varies greatly between varieties.

Light/Watering: All Ferns thrive in light to heavy shade. A few, such as Lady Ferns (Athyrium filix-femina) will grow in full sun in the North, provided the planting site is damp. Water Ferns regularly if rain is not sufficient, and do not let the soil get completely dry. A 2″ thick mulch of composted leaves or pine needles will help keep roots cool and damp.

Fertilizer/Soil and pH: Ferns prefer soils high in organic matter that are well-drained but do not dry out. Most will tolerate poor soils and a pH of 4 to 7; Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum) prefers a more alkaline soil between pH 7 to 8, but will grow at a lower pH. Apply fertilizer in spring, just after new growth has begun. Ferns are very sensitive to fertilizers; use a slow-release fertilizer when new growth appears in early spring. For initial planting of bareroot plants, lay the mat formers (Adiantum, Athyrium, Dennstaedtia, and Dryopteris) with buds and old fronds facing up in a shallow hole and cover with an inch of soil. Plant bareroot crown-formers (Matteuccia, Osmunda, Phyllitis, and Polystichum) with the growing tips just barely showing through the soil surface. Ferns are notoriously slow to send up new growth after planting, but good things come to those who wait.

Pests/Diseases: None serious enough to worry about, other than the occasional slug attack. Fight back with bait or diatomaceous earth sprinkled around the base of the fronds.

Companions: Ferns are lovely with other shade-lovers such as Alchemilla, Brunnera (False Forget-me-not), Dicentra (Bleeding Heart), Hosta, Mertensia (Virginia Bluebells), Phlox divaricata, Pulmonaria (Lungwort), Tiarella (Foam Flower), and Viola. They add fabulous texture to woodlands and landscape plantings. Ferns are deer-resistant, so they make an excellent choice for a woodland garden where deer are a problem.

Dividing/Transplanting: When Fern fronds appear to be smaller, or the clump has a bare center, it is time to divide. Some Ferns form crowns while others grow as mats of fibrous roots. Dig up the whole clump and take 6″-square pieces from the most vigorous growth. Replant at the original depth and water well.

End-of-Season Care: Cut fronds back after a killing frost, and apply a winter mulch of salt marsh hay or evergreen boughs to help prevent winter heaving.

Calendar of Care - Ferns

Early Spring: Divide or transplant as soon as new growth appears, and water well if it is unseasonably dry, as plants prefer an evenly moist soil. Fertilize gently with a slow-release fertilizer or use an organic mulch. Recently planted Ferns may be slow to appear, but be patient.

Mid-Spring: Water consistently if rainfall is not sufficient to keep soil moist. Apply a 2″ thick mulch of composted leaves or pine needles.

Late Spring: Watch for slug or snail damage and treat as necessary.

Summer: Continue regular watering as needed to maintain soil moisture.

Fall: Cut foliage back to soil level when it dies back after a heavy frost. When the ground freezes, mulch to protect plants from heaving out of the soil in winter.

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