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Fern Plants No Longer Take a Back Seat to Big Bloomers

Updated on April 1, 2016
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Tammy is an avid gardening writer and love the horticulture field. Selling USDA licenses plants to all states and 13 foreign countries.


It happens every day. A young fern plant gets passed over for some multi-colored competition in the garden center. At this moment, people are not aware of the decision they have just made. They have chosen to deprive their land and their family of a new world full of vibrant color, ancient survival tactics, and plenty of relaxation.

Ferns are amazingly low maintenance. There is no need to pluck unsightly deadheads. There is not even need to plant more ferns, as their spores will do all the work independently. These organisms are some of the oldest in existence. Somehow the fern has managed to adapt and thrive throughout millions of years of change on the planet.


Take a closer look at the diverse population of fern plants available to grow all over the United States. Not only do ferns bring color and sweet, aromatic oxygen to the garden, but they bring a different type of aesthetic to the scene.

Colorful Fern Plants

The first picture to come to mind for most people is that of a green, leafy plant with drawn-out fronds. It is true that many ferns project one shade of green or another, but this feature does not hold true for all plants in the family of ferns. Several fern plants produce vibrant color throughout the span of their lives.

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

These ferns enjoy the swampy areas of the world. The Cinnamon Fern is one of the few ferns that is not an evergreen. It dies down a bit in the winter months. Its color manifests through the center stalk of the plant. Cinnamon ferns stay true to their name, as the burnt sienna color causes the stalk to look very similar to a cinnamon stick.


Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum)

The Painted Fern is arguably the most striking of all the fern varieties. Its variegated foliage displays a gorgeous purple, silver, and slight bluish tint that will add color to any lackluster section of the garden. The Painted Fern will go dormant during the winter months of the year, but spring and summer are party time for this color producer.

Aesthetically Distinctive Fern Plants

Another great expression of variety is exhibited among the fern family aesthetically. There are several different species of fern plants that look very different than some of the more common variations. For a bit of an exotic flare in the garden, try incorporating some of these funky ferns.


Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)

The Ostrich Fern does stay true to the typical fronds. The difference is in how those fronds are shaped and formed. They are partial to the shadier areas of the garden and usually grow in the northern regions of the United States. Their fronds grow tall in comparison to other ferns. Their shape is comparable to that of a palm tree frond standing straight up from the ground.

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Leatherwood Fern (Dryopteris marginalis)

Leatherwood Ferns have fronds which are thick and leathery. They usually have a little different shade of green to their color as well. They exhibit a slight gray hue along with the typical green. Leatherwood Ferns are perfect for maintaining a little bit of color in the garden throughout the winter.


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