lady fern

Lady fern. Photo: Miri Talabac, University of Maryland Extension

Updated: July 12, 2022

About lady fern or northern lady fern

Athyrium filix-femina
Perennial fern
Dryopteridaceae or spleenwort family

Maryland Distribution: moist woods, swamps, and thickets throughout the state

Height: 1 - 3 feet

Blooms: Inconspicuous fertile pinnules occur at the tips of the fronds in late spring

Sun: prefers full to partial shade; somewhat tolerant of sunlight as long as soil moisture remains high

Soil: rich, moist soil

Garden Use & Maintenance: the bright green lacy foliage provides a striking contrast in the shade garden; will spread but is slow to colonize

Compiled by: Ria Malloy, Horticulturist & Program Coordinator, Home & Garden Information Center. 2022

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