ferns - Knowledgebase Question

Lewiston, Id
Question by redkoi94
April 27, 2010
I have a western pine tree and I would like to plant ferns under it. What type should I get or what kind of grass should I plant under there?


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Answer from NGA
April 27, 2010

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For the most carefree ferns, I'd plant native ferns. They adapt easily and are quite attractive. Here are some of the best:

Ladyfern (Athyrium filix-femina). The common tall fern of wet streambottoms and moist cedar groves. Although it does well in cultivation, it will die back in late summer unless given lots of water. Male fern is very similar.

Maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum). The most unique of our ferns-lacey fronds about 2 ft tall on black, wiry stems. Despite it's delicate appearance, it will do just fine with summer watering. Dies down in winter.

Male fern (Dryopteris filix-mas). Possibly the most outstanding fern of our forests with 3-ft fronds that are held more upright than other ferns. Dies back in winter.

Swordfern (Polystichum munitum). This stout, evergreen fern is the most common fern in northern Idaho and is the one frequently used in floral arrangements. It is also the most resistant to dry conditions, though it still needs summer watering, and it will do OK in anything but extreme sun positions.

Swordfern, Anderson (Polystichum andersonii). Not easily found, but a beautiful evergreen fern of some 2.5 ft, with finely dissected fronds and an interesting bulbil near the frond tip.

Mountain woodfern (Dryopteris austriaca and D. carthusiana). Both beautiful ferns and similar to one another in appearance, but D. carthusiana is evergreen.

Enjoy your new ferns!

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