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

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