photo credit: USDA
Athyrium filix-femina - Lady Fern

Athyrium filix-femina - Lady Fern

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Rain GardenPart Shade
Lady Fern
Athyrium filix-femina

Handsome crowns of feathery fronds are typical of Lady Ferns. Delicate and lacy with arching fronds and feathery texture, Athyrium filix-femina is a strong-growing and dependable garden plant. Tough and easy to grow, this beauty is the right choice for perennial borders and woodlands alike. A breathtaking flush of new fronds appears in the spring, with new leaves appearing throughout the season for a continuously fresh look. Lady fern is tolerant of drought, but survives by allowing foliage to die back until the next season.


  • Easy to grow even in deep shade
  • Spreads in moist soils but not aggressively
  • Provides cover for wildlife
  • Attractive foliage all season long
  • Easy to combine with other shade-loving perennials

Native Range

Lady fern is found in swamps, thickets and damp woods; Newfoundland and Quebec to the Dakotas, south to Texas and Florida.



The lady fern was one of the most popular indoor plants in the Victorian era. Almost every house had at least one, if not more, containers housing lady ferns at that time.

Athyrium , from the Greek, a, "without", thureos, "shield" filix-femina, from the Latin, "fern-feminine"




Easy to grow in part to full shade. Tolerates sun if the soil stays moist. Prefers well-drained soil with average moisture, but this fern tolerates drier soil than other ferns. Shelter from wind to protect fronds from breaking. If fronds become tattered, cut them to the ground and new fronds will emerge.


Mature Size: 18-24in. Tall x 2-3ft. Wide

Hardiness Zone: 4-8

Sun Exposure: Part Shade

Coming Soon!

    American Beauties Offer Solution Based Plant Collections to Help you Choose

    Quick Tips for Choosing Plants:

    • Planting a variety of native trees, shrubs, perennials and vines increases biodiversity and gives wildlife a source for food, cover and nesting
    • Choose a mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees so birds and other wildlife will always be able to find shelter
    • Plant trees and large shrubs where they will block winter winds from the house and shade it in summer, that will save energy and lower your carbon footprint
    • Try your best to buy plants that were grown locally, your independent garden center will be your best bet
    • Think about ultimate height and width of the plant you choose, make sure it will fit the space you have for it when it's reached maturity
    • Plant nectar plants in groups, to attract butterflies and other beneficial insects more easily
    • Ask for help if you need it. Most garden centers either have a landscape designer on staff or they can give you a reference of a designer that is adept at native plant wildlife gardening. There will be upfront costs but they are small when compared to having to redo a landscape that wasn't what you really wanted

    Our Plant Tags Hold the Secrets to Success

    Choosing the right plants for your garden can seem like a daunting task but we’re here to help. Our horticulturists have spent a considerable amount of time researching and writing our beautiful, American Beauties plant tags to help you be successful. First of all, when you see an American Beauties branded pot at your garden center you can be confident that the plant is native to your area and a responsible choice. 

    When you look at our tag you’ll find information about the plants natural habitat. That will give you a clue to how it will work in your backyard. For instance if the plant is naturally founded and moist, shade and you have full sun, it’s not the plant for you. The “Features” section gives you an overview or plant description so you’ll know what to expect. While the “Benefits” section talks about the plants strong suits and how the plant will benefit wildlife. 

    A Special Note About Exposure

    Full sun: Prefers six or more hours of direct sunshine a day
    Partial shade: Thrives in three to six hours of daily sunshine
    Shade: Generally does well with less than three hours of sun per day. Having said that even shade loving plants will struggle in extremely deep shade.


    Best Plants for Bees - Double sided printout for download

    Best Plants for Butterflies - Double sided printout for download

    Best Plants for Birds - Double sided printout for download

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