University of Maryland Extension

Autumn Fern

Photo and Text by Debbie Ricigliano

Dryopteris erythrosora

There is no denying that a blanket of ferns in a woodland garden is a beautiful sight. Autumn fern provides an extra ornamental value. Early in spring, new copper-red fronds, which are very autumnal in color, emerge from the center of the plant. Mature fronds are a deep, shiny green. It grows to about 1-2 feet with a similar spread and can serve as a groundcover. Native to Japan, China and Taiwan, it combines well with other shade-loving perennials. As with most ferns it is deer resistant and has few disease or insect problems. Plant in partial shade, in moist, well-drained soil that has been amended with organic matter. They are drought tolerant once established. 


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