Ferns are relics, older than dinosaurs…


Once our planet was covered with whole forests of ferns.

Then they were… trees.

And to this day, the tree-like forms of this plant have been preserved, but only prints on blocks of coal raised from the bowels of the earth testify to its former greatness.

You, too, can join the prehistoric, and at the same time enrich the garden with lush thickets of this relic plant.

In any forest you can meet representatives of this ancient genus. They love moist and shady places, do not bloom and reproduce by spores.

What you and I mistakenly call leaves on a fern is actually a branch with even smaller branches and is called the short term «frond». It is for their beauty, juicy color and size that gardeners love this plant so much.

In our latitudes, the fern lives in room conditions, shady forests and even aquariums. You will not find tree-like among them, except perhaps in the greenhouses of botanical gardens.

But you have a great opportunity to invite such an extravagant «pet» to your garden.

Neighbor summer residents usually generously share planting material, since this plant is able to conquer large territories without asking the owners.

In the end there is a forest where you can also thin out the thickets a little.

And, of course, online shopping. There you will find the most unusual varieties and colors.


I give a list of the most common species of forest and garden ferns in our country.

ostrich ordinary (Matteuccia struthiopteris)

  • Growth area: forest zone of the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere.
  • flowering period: does not bloom.
  • Color spectrum: pinnate fronds of juicy light green color.
  • Height: up to 1.5 m.
  • Growing conditions: moist shade or partial shade.
  • Peculiarities: rhizomatous perennial, young leaves are edible, used in folk medicine, is an insecticide, poisonous.

male shield (Dryopteris filixmas)

  • Growth area: a cosmopolitan plant that has conquered both hemispheres, lives in forests that form a humid shade.
  • flowering period: does not bloom, although it gave rise to the legend of the magical fern flower.
  • Color spectrum: from light green in young leaves to dark in three-year-olds.
  • Height: up to 1.5 m.
  • Growing conditions: wet shade, partial shade.
  • Peculiarities: rhizomatous perennial, each leaf lives for three years, a lot of breeding varieties, medicinal plant, poisonous.

Kochedyzhnik female (Athyrium filix-femina)

  • Growth area: forest zone of the Northern Hemisphere.
  • flowering period: does not bloom
  • Color spectrum: in nature, juicy green, in the selection there are varieties with a silvery color.
  • Height: up to 1 m.
  • Growing conditions: wet shade, partial shade.
  • Peculiarities: perennial with a short and thick root, openwork thrice pinnate leaves — the most beautiful in the genus of ferns, formed the basis for the creation of highly decorative varieties, including geo-referenced.

The varieties most popular with our gardeners are based on female Japanese (Nippon) nomad. Most often, these are variegated varieties with foliage of silver, white, brown and reddish hues.

Orlyak (Pteridium aquilinum)

  • Growth area: the entire earth’s surface with the exception of permafrost, steppes and deserts.
  • Flowering period: does not bloom.
  • Color spectrum: leaves are green with light edges.
  • Height: 60-100 cm, sometimes about 1.5 m.
  • Growing conditions: thanks to the long rhizome, it easily masters open areas devoid of shade, can be used for ornamental gardening.
  • Peculiarities: rhizomatous perennial, the edges of the leaves are lowered down, young twisted leaves are used in cooking, rhizomes are used in baking bread, rhizomes are safe for pigs, leaves for goats, the plant is poisonous for other domestic animals, the smell of bracken repels flies, bedbugs, spiders, cockroaches, is used in folk medicine.

Cyrtomium sickle (Cyrtomium falcatum)

  • Growth area: South Africa, India, Korea, Japan, Hawaii, Himalayas
  • Color spectrum: dark green leathery leaves
  • Height: 40-60 cm
  • Growing conditions: wet shade, partial shade, in snowless winters dry shelter is required, winter hardiness up to -230FROM
  • Peculiarities: evergreen perennial, relatively slow growing, glossy leaves with wavy edges, bears little resemblance to traditional ferns.

Kostenets centipede (Asplenium scolopendrium)

  • Growth area: Europe from Sweden to the Mediterranean, Asia, North America
  • Color spectrum: dark green leathery leaves
  • Height: 30-80 cm
  • Growing conditions: moist shade, partial shade, humus soils, frost-resistant
  • Peculiarities: evergreen perennial, lanceolate leaves with wavy edges, turn yellow in the sun and lag behind in development, whole leaves, not like traditional ferns.

AT the first few years, the transplanted fern develops a root system, so you should not expect lush green growth from the plant.

In subsequent years, you may need to limit its growth area with a wide border tape and thin out the planting periodically.


The most popular fern planting sites are near the tree trunks and the shady side of the fence. It is understandable: there is always wet ground.

But do not neglect the possibility of planting this highly ornamental plant against the background of stones, especially large ones, and water.

If you are the owner of a garden in the forest or just an adult shady garden, you can turn the entire area into a fern garden. At the same time, it is quite realistic to dwell on only one or two contrasting species, for example, bracken and varietal Japanese (a kind of female kochedyzhnik).

As elements that emphasize the beauty of lush foliage, wood mulch, small and large stones and wooden texture will serve.


The ideal neighbors of ferns in the garden will be decoratively deciduous geyhera, brunner, hostaflowering anemones, rhododendrons, day-lilyastilbe, ground cover bryozoan, fragrant violet. They not only require similar conditions of detention, but also easily combine with each other and ferns.

The fern looks great against the background of elements of small architecture. Rather, the latter are most beautiful against the backdrop of lush feathery foliage. In general, mutually beneficial coexistence.


The above species of ferns reproduce by root processes, root division and spores.

The latter method is extremely inconvenient for amateur gardeners, since it is necessary to create a certain humidity-temperature regime, which is different at each stage of embryo development. This is approximately 3.5 or more months. And in the end, an adult copy will be obtained only after two years.

But if you got hold of a beautiful variety of spores and really want to get the result, be sure to be patient. The soil mixture of peat + humus + sand is mixed in a ratio of 2: 1: 1, sieved through a large sieve and steamed for 3-4 hours on a steam bath in a sieve.

The cooled soil is laid out in glass containers (Petri dishes), spores are scattered over the surface, covered with glass and left for a month or two at a temperature of 15-25 ° Celsius.

The sprouted spores look more like moss, but it’s not yet a fern. These are gametophytes — «father and mother» of the future fern. Only after they «decide to become parents» will an asexual leaf individual appear — the long-awaited baby fern. Its primary development will take another month and a half, during which the bowl needs to be periodically ventilated.

Then the sprouts are planted and grown in comfortable conditions for another year and a half.

It is easier and faster to thin out an area with an overgrown fern, separating the young individuals with a shovel. Do this procedure in early spring (preferably) or autumn (the result may not live up to expectations).

Not all ferns start up root shoots, so they are propagated by simply dividing the root rosette. At the same time, only extreme young formations are separated.

Fern transplantation is carried out in moist, slightly acidic soil. The fern is not particularly whimsical, it is important for it to have high-moor peat, leaf humus mixed with sand in the planting hole. The presence of rich soil is not required.

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