Widespread and variable group of rhizomatous ferns, once called spleenwort for alleged medicinal value. These evergreen species resemble one another only in botanical details and in their need for shade and liberal watering. Unlike many other ferns, they need a rest period from late fall to early spring when grown indoors; during that time, reduce watering and withhold fertilizer.
From Australia, New Zealand. Graceful, very finely cut light green fronds to 4 ft. tall. Plant grows about 4 ft. wide. Fronds produce plantlets that can be removed and planted. Hardy to 26°F/–3°C. Watch for snails and slugs.
Native to Europe, eastern U.S. Odd fern with undivided, strap-shaped leaves 9–18 in. long; forms a clump about 2 ft. wide. Fanciers collect various dwarf, crested, or forked varieties. Needs humus; also add some limestone chips if soil is deficient in calcium. Difficult to grow where water quality is poor.
Striking in woodland or rock gardens and with rhododendrons and azaleas. Durable container plant; grows in a tight crown and can remain in the same pot for years.
Native to much of the Northern Hemisphere, this delicate fern grows in a clump to 6 in. high and 8 in. wide. Narrow bright green fronds are 4–8 in. long; round (or nearly so) leaflets are only 1/2 in. long. Likes lime. Attractive in wall crevices where it can be seen close up or in a shady rock garden.
Shrub or tree. Native to Europe, North Africa, and Asia. Shrubby, upright growth to 20–30 ft. ta...
Grows to 3–4 ft. tall and 4–6 ft. wide. Narrow green or gray-green leaves are 1 1/2 in. lo...
The species is rarely seen in gardens; it has been replaced by showy large-flowered hybrids valued for...