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Plant Pick: Autumn fern

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  • The reddish leaves of autumn fern are actually new spring growth.

    Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

    The reddish leaves of autumn fern are actually new spring growth.

WHAT: Autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora) is an easy-to-grow evergreen fern that features bronzy-red new growth.
The fronds turn a glossy dark green as they mature, creating a colorful effect throughout the growing season.
The common name, autumn fern, is somewhat misleading, as it refers to the russet tones of the new fronds, which appear more in spring than in autumn.
WHY PLANT IT: Dryopteris erythrosora spreads slowly by underground rhizomes, becoming a ground cover in time.
Though it is evergreen, the fronds will start to decline in appearance as the new growth starts in spring.
To keep its appearance clean and tidy cut the old fronds to the ground in early March, before the new fronds emerge.
WHERE: It is effective planted in mixed shady borders or in container. This fern grows best in rich moist to well-drained soil, but will tolerate sand or clay.
Provide occasional watering during dry weather to keep the fronds looking their best.
This fern grows well in light to deep shade.
Story tags » Gardening

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