Lady Fern FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FIRST THINGS FIRST
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HOW MUCH PRUNING IS NEEDED FOR FERNS? The only pruning needed is a light pruning during the growing season to remove broken fronds or to maintain a desirable size. IS THIS PARTICULAR FERN EVERGREEN OR DECIDUOUS? The Lady Fern is actually deciduous. It will drop its leaves after the first heavy frost. ARE THEY DEER RESISTANT? Yes. Remember, we say deer ‘resistant’ and not deer ‘proof’. Younger plants may be at greater risk of being eaten and younger deer may eat anything in sight as they learn what they do and do not like. SHOULD I CUT IT BACK IN THE FALL? No. Deciduous ferns like Lady Fern benefit more from allowing the brown fronds to protect the center of the plant where new fronds will emerge in the spring. Once you see new fronds, you can clear away the old fronds by hand, being careful not to break the new shoots. DOES MULCHING PLAY A ROLE? Many plants benefit from mulching, especially those that grow in the hot sun which dries out the soil quickly. Spread a 2 or 3 inch layer of some organic material such as dried grass clippings, wood chips, or chopped leaves on the soil around the plants to discourage weeds, help the soil retain moisture and keep the roots cool. As it decomposes, mulch also contributes organic material and the beneficial organisms that live in it to the soil to improve it. WHAT ARE SOME COMPANIONS TO FERNS? Campanula, Aquilegia, Hostas, Astilbe, and Bleeding Hearts are some very fine companion plants.
FIRST THINGS FIRST... Lady Fern When your plant arrives from Roberta’s, remove from the shipping box immediately. Keep bare roots inside (Athyrium filix-femina) packing material until ready to plant into ground or container. Put in a cool, protected area and plant as soon as possible.
For extended storage time, place in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
When ready to plant, do the job as early in the day as possible to avoid extreme soil temperatures that prevent proper water uptake from the roots. Water them in well and whisper a few words of wisdom. QUICK REFERENCE CONTINUING CARE ADDITIONAL REFERENCE PLANTING GUIDE
SHELF LIFE LIGHT/SUN EXPOSURE: Shade to Partial Sun Plant into garden or larger pots and place outside immediately after the night temperatures stay above 40 degrees. USDA 5-10 PLANT PREPARATION HARDINESS ZONES: Remove plastic bag and sleeve from around bare-roots. If you cannot PLANT TYPE Perennial plant it into garden or larger pot within a few days, make sure it stays in a cool, dry area until it is able to be planted. PLANTING DISTANCE: 24-30 inches SOIL Grow in fertile, moist, but well-drained soil. Amend clay type soils with MATURE HEIGHT/SPREAD: 24-30 inches tall compost or potting mix. POTTED PLANTS 18-24 inches wide Rather than in the garden you may re-pot into large containers. Repot the plants into at least 12 inch pots separately or together Lady Fern Shipped BLOOM TIME: N/A- Green foliage all summer inside one larger container. as Shown GARDEN PREPARATION planting instructions: Remove plastic bag and/or sleeve from around They do best in light to heavy shade. In the north they will grow in bare roots. Transplant into the garden as soon (soil preparation, depth, partial to full sun, provided the planting site is damp. which end is up, etc.) as evening temperatures stay above 40F. PLANTING DISTANCE Space ferns out about 24-30 inches apart. PLANT HEIGHT AND WIDTH These grow about 18-20 inches tall and wide. WATER Water upon planting and a couple times a week all summer long. Water ferns regularly if rain is not sufficient. FERTILIZER PLANTING GUIDE They respond to feeding with a high bloom fertilizer like Flower Magic plant food. Once a month is sufficient. Also, a micro-nutrient like Spray and Flourish is very beneficial. Fern edging a shady walkway Sword like foliage TEMPERATURE ZONE 5 to 10 Keep inside packing material until ready to plant into When nights stay above 40 degrees, place your plants outside and ground or container. Put in a cool, protected area leave them there. They can withstand winter temperatures to minus and plant as soon as possible. For extended storage 15F. 1 time, place in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. LIGHTING STEP In the growing season, full shade to partial shade is preferred. Lady fern is a bit more tolerable of sun and dry soil than others. PRUNING You can lightly prune deciduous ferns throughout the growing season Transplant into the garden as soon as evening to remove broken fronds or to control the size of the plant. BLOOMING temperatures stay above 40F. Your hole should be Ferns will produce green sword-like foliage throughout the summer. deep enough to accommodate the roots and only 1 2 This is a deciduous fern however and it will drop its leaves with the STEP to 2 inches more covering the top. Fill in the hole with first frost. soil and water thoroughly. Plants prefer full to partial WINTER DORMANCY shade. Avoid pruning back after the first heavy frost as the mass of brown fronds protects the center of the plant where new fronds will emerge Rather than in the garden you may re-pot into large in the spring. Once you see the new fronds, you can clear away the old containers. Re-pot the plants into at least 12 inch pots fronds by hand. Mulching helps protect them during the winter. 3 separately or together inside one larger container. PROPAGATION STEP When ferns appear to be smaller, or the clump has a bare center, it’s time to divide. Dig up the whole clump and take 6 inch square pieces from the most vigorous growth. Replant in the spring at the regular Planted now they will produce green foliage in the depth and water in well. 4 summer. STEP