Perennial Plant of the Week; Japanese Painted Fern

Written by Doug Oster on .

japanese painted fernThis Japanese Painted Fern grows at the base of a rose arbor along with brunnera. Photo by Doug Oster

Japanese Painted Ferns are easy to grow and beautiful. The combination of burgandy and silver is striking in the garden.

They don't really need as much moisture as you might think and once established will thrive for decades.

The plant above is sited under a rose arbor on the way into the vegetable garden and grows in consort with brunnera.

They are the perfect plant for a shady spot, but will take a little sun, just a couple hours

The summer breeze makes the foliage dance as tiny creatures scurry from underneath from one side of the arbor to the other.

Japanese Painted Ferns are also great container plants and can light up a shady corner of the garden. I would love to see three of them planted in a big red container, the stars of a shady garden room.

I've got five planted in a bed along with big hostas and other shade lovers, the combination is wonderful.

There are lots of cool varieties out there and most good nurseries will carry them. Being cheap I try to get them in four inch pots and wait a season while they grow to full size. 'Pictum' was the 2004 perennial plant of the year. Check out some of the varieties in the Terra Nova catalog.

Once they become established the plants can be propagated by splitting them in the spring when they first sprout.

Japanese Painted Ferns are a wonderful addition to the shade garden and when they find the right spot will be enjoyed by gardeners for many years.


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