Dana's Guide to Ferns
When It Comes to Ferns co-owner Dana Doesn't Mess Around
Co-owner Dana is an avid fern lover, especially of perennial ferns. Here are some of her favorites and why:
I simply love Autumn Ferns. When our family bought Painters in 2010, I planted alternating Autumn Ferns, Japanese Painted Ferns and Japanese Holly Ferns along with Ostrich Ferns along the side of my house. The Japanese Holly and Autumn Ferns hold form and color through the winter, and as spring turns to summer, the Ostrich Ferns take over and create a lush (somewhat pervasive) front border. Autumn Ferns bring such lovely orange hints in the newly emerging leaves, and are one of the few semi-evergreen ferns that look good in our climate. A close second favorite to the Autumns are Royal Ferns - these ferns have very unique texture and almost make you question if they are a true fern - at maturity they become quite a specimen piece!
My favorite WNC native fern is definitely the Five Finger Maidenhair Fern, though the Lady Fern takes a close second. While native ferns aren't the easiest to grow in a typical greenhouse environment, we always try to grow a range of natives, from maidenhairs to cinnamons to christmas!
I adore Blue Star Ferns... my parents have a massive one in their sunroom, and I have several smaller ones thorughout my house. They are very easy and forgiving houseplants and have such lovely color and unique texture. Lemon Button Ferns are a close second - while they aren't exotic in appearance, they have cute, delicate foliage and are extremely easy for beginner houseplant parents!
I typically alternate Wandering Dudes on my covered porch each year, as we grow such a selection of colors and they trail beautifully throughout the season, but you really can't beat our massive fluffy Bostons. I love them for the tropical lushness they lend to any home, the privacy screen, and the inevitable bird house. If you're someone who prefers a more upright fern that can handle more sun (and also more shade/houseplant conditions), then Kim Queens are the better bet. They also don't shed unlike Bostons, which require a bit of cleanup weekly.