- Deer Resistant Ferns native from North America to Asia
Ferns and other non-flowering vascular plants (fern allies) are mostly shade loving perennials that look great the woodlands garden. Perfect companions to hostas, most hardy fern plants and fern allies are...
Read More About Ferns
...deer-resistant and thrive in woodland garden conditions...part-shade and consistent moisture. But just because the plant is a fern does not automatically make it a shade plant. Some fern plants grow in full sun and are known as 'dryland or sun ferns'. We have several genera of dryland sun ferns including Astrolepis, Cheilanthes, Notholaena, and Pellaea.
Plant Delights has one of the largest and most diverse hardy garden fern selections, especially native ferns, of any plant shop on-line, from Adiantum (maidenhair ferns) to Woodsia (wood fern). We carry exotic ferns from our overseas plant hunting expeditions as well as the best native ferns. If deer are a problem for you, then you should add ferns to your garden as they are great deer-resistant perennials. The wonderful architecture and muted colors of ferns make them great groundcovers as well as excellent companion plants for other native shade plants like polygonatum, heuchera and carex. When you are ready to buy ferns and other deer-resistant perennials for your woodlands garden, check out our list of fern plants for sale below.
Since 1988, Plant Delights Nursery has been the choice of serious gardeners and plant collectors looking for the best and rarest perennial plants. We are pleased to have received the Perennial Plant Association Retail Award in 2011, the American Horticulture Society Commercial Award in 2002, and to have been selected as one of the Best Mail Order Plant Sources - Garden Design Magazine 2010. Welcome to our family of plant lovers!
Although the name indicates this fern is from the Aleutian islands, Adiantum aleuticum is native throughout the western United States and into northern Mexico. Adiantum aleuticum can also be found in a few eastern US states (Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin). Adiantum aleuticum is similar in form to Adiantum pedatum with its fan-shaped, finger-like fronds atop a thin black stalk. The cultivar Adiantum aleuticum 'Imbricatum' is a dwarf form of this lovely clump-forming fern that matures at 10" tall, which is about half the height of the typical species. Like Michael Phelps, Adiantum aleuticum is much more robust in a moist environment with a few hours of morning sun. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
(aka A1FL-113) This selection of the worldwide native Adiantum capillus-veneris comes from Washington Co., Florida, about an hour west of Tallahassee. Adiantum capillus-veneris 'Falling Waters' has made a splendid patch in our garden with frond pinnae (fern leaflets) that are slightly smaller and narrower than what we typically see in other regional southern maidenhair fern forms. Our five-year-old clumps have spread to 2' wide and so far have survived single digit temperatures with no problems. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
(aka: Adiantum capillus-veneris A3T-022) We discovered this wonderfully cut leaf form of the southeastern native Adiantum capillus-veneris along Wasp Creek in Kendall County, Texas. Unlike most forms of southern maidenhair fern, the pinnae are shaped like narrow Japanese hand fans. For us, Adiantum 'Fan Dance' forms a tight 6" tall patch that expands to 2' wide in 5 years. We are pleased to finally be able to share this special form of southern maidenhair fern. Moist soils are best. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
(aka: Adiantum c-v A1CR-090) In 2010, we discovered a small patch of Adiantum capillus-veneris growing in a wet seep at 1680' elevation on the south slope of Crete's Mt. Ida...very near an amazing population of white-flowered Dracunculus vulgaris. Our spore collections germinated well enough that we are able to share. The parent clump was more compact than most of the US native forms, maturing around 6" tall. We expect a 2' wide patch in 5 years...we'll find out together. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
(coll. #A2T-034) This form of the wonderful southern maidenhair fern, Adiantum capillus-veneris, comes from spores that we collected in 2000 in the Edwards Plateau region of Texas near the town of Rock Springs. Not that you are interested, but we were stopped three times by border patrol agents who searched our backpacks for illegal aliens...glad I carried a small backpack. Plantsman Scott Ogden showed us this population of southern maidenhair fern growing along a small creek in a very alkaline soil. Our 5-year-old clump is 1' tall x 2' wide and, as you can imagine, quite heat tolerant. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
This particularly vigorous form of the little-known walking maidenhair fern was shared by plantsman Roy Works after we admired it in his Tampa, Florida garden. Although Adiantum caudatum emerges late after a hard winter, it is evergreen in milder climates. Our plants have survived 7 degrees F, to form a 5' wide patch in 5 years. The 1.5" wide x 2' long arching fronds, which emerge pink in spring, root into the ground at their tips, forming new plants. Moist soils result in faster growth, but our plants are quite happy in a fairly dry, sandy soil. Adiantum caudatum is a most unusual plant, sure to get your gardening friends talking. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
(coll. #A1HA-016) Rosy maidenhair fern is commonly grown as a houseplant but few gardeners realize its winter hardiness. Regular Adiantum hispidulum is easy to grow and reliable in warmer parts of Zone 8, but this rare form has been fine in our Zone 7b woodland garden since 2004. Adiantum hispidulum 'Mt Haleakala' makes an attractive 1' tall x 1' wide clump with fronds which emerge rosy red...hence, the common name. Our spores came from 5,000' near the top of Maui's famed Mt. Haleakala. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Available 4-18-2013Without a doubt, Adiantum pedatum is one of our most elegant North American native plants. The horizontal horseshoe-like wreath of foliage rests atop 18-24" tall, wiry black stems. Northern maidenhair fern thrives in moist, rich soil, but also grows well in all but the driest of woodland garden sites. The light, airy, fine texture of the Adiantum pedatum fronds serves as a perfect backdrop for hostas and other bold foliage plants. In early April, this deciduous native fern unfurls for a true Kodak moment. In 10 years, expect a 2' wide deer-resistant clump to develop. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
My first experience with the sterile Adiantum x mairisii was in 1993, thanks to a gift from the late fern collector, Nancy Swell of Virginia. Not to be confused with the Chinese Adiantum mariesii, this reported hybrid of Adiantum capillus-veneris and an unknown baby daddy was discovered around 1885 at the UK's Mairis & Co. Nursery and subsequently named by Chelsea Physic Garden curator and fern collector, Thomas Moore. Adiantum x mairisii performs like a vigorous clone of southern maidenhair fern, but with very good winter hardiness. For us, expect a 3' wide deer-resistant patch of 1' tall, lacy maidenhair foliage in 5 years. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Ferns do the strangest things and anemias are near the top of the strange fern list. This Argentine native makes a delightful small clump to 8" tall x 1' wide. In nature, we saw Anemia tomentosa growing both in well-drained soils and in rock cracks in the Catamarca Province of northern Argentina. The fertile and sterile fronds look similar, except the fertile fronds produce long, alien, antennae-like "flower" stalks from spring to fall that are home to the developing spores. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Arachniodes simplicior 'Variegata' is a fabulous 18" tall x 18" wide evergreen fern that features a wide streak of yellow down the center of each plastic-textured leaf. Arachniodes simplicior 'Variegata' is reliably hardy in zone 7, although the new growth emerges very late (reports indicate success in parts of zone 6). East Indian holly fern is the one garden fern that visitors to your woodland garden will absolutely drool on, so invite a crowd of folks over if you're having a drought. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Finally! After walking through acres of Arachniodes standishii on Korea's Uulong Island, I understand why it is probably the most sought-after fern by gardeners worldwide. The lacy, cutleaf 18" fronds rise from a thick, slowly creeping rhizome. Our 18-year-old clumps are only 3-4' wide. Unfortunately, it is one of the least-available ferns in commerce due to reproductive issues. After 16 years of intensive sex therapy, our plant finally set a few viable spores. We're not sure how long it will stay in the mood, so get 'em while they last. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
If you have been looking for something truly unique in the fern world, here is your plant. From it's appearance to it's name, Araiostegia pseudocystopteris is truly unique. This genus of rabbit's foot fern hails from the mountains of northern India where it grows on trees and rocks. The daintily cut, lacy, medium green foliage is attached to a fuzzy rabbit's-foot-type rhizome that lays on the soil surface. Our 15-year-old specimen of Araiostegia pseudocystopteris has formed a 2' wide deciduous clump, although planting it on a slope will result in faster growth. Thanks to Roger Grounds of the UK who originally shared this gem with us. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Crispum' is a highly-prized, unusual strain of the evergreen Hart's-tongue fern that has been in cultivation since the mid-1600s...now that's real staying power. The 1'+ long, wide, glossy green leaves are both heavily undulate and serrate on the leaf edge, which exaggerates the appearance of the cresting. In the garden, moist nearly alkaline soil with good drainage is the key to success...a real showstopper in the woodland garden. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
So, ol' Hart liked it both ways...straight and with a petticoat...what a kinky dude. Back in the English Victorian era, European hardy fern collectors named several hundred crested varieties of Hart's-tongue, but only a few remain in cultivation today. Asplenium scolopendrium 'Cristatum' is a selection of the European form of this Asplenium scolopendrium that makes a tight rosette of 1' long, shiny, green tongue-like leaves, each ending in a crested petticoat. Remember that moist, well-drained soil and a pH toward 7.0 will help to ensure success. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Undulatum' is a wild selection of the European Hart's-tongue fern that makes a 10" tall x 15" wide clump of evergreen, horizontally-held, Gene Simmons KISS-like tongues...each seemingly plugged into a electrical socket. The bizarrely wavy foliage makes a clump that no one will pass by without staring. Good soil drainage, a slightly moist soil, and a near neutral pH are essential. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Athyrium 'Branford Beauty' comes to us from the garden of legendary Connecticut gardener, Nick Nickou. Athyrium 'Branford Beauty' is a dramatic hybrid between the Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum') and our native Southern lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina). The result is a splendid, stiffly upright, clump-forming, deer-resistant fern that reaches 3' tall x 4' wide at maturity, which for us took about 5 years. The muted colors of purple, silver, grey, and green are suffused through the foliage, which is taller and more delicate than Athyrium nipponicum. Athyrium 'Branford Beauty' makes a great fern for massing in the woodland garden, as well as a striking specimen plant. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
This selection of deciduous deer-resistant lady fern from Europe is one of the most unique ferns available today. Found in 1857, in Ireland, in the garden of a Mrs. Frizell, the tatting fern is still known to most avid gardeners. The narrow (less than 1" wide) fronds of Athyrium 'Frizelliae' are arranged like fuzzy green, ear-like projections on both sides of the rachis (leaf center). I know this sounds really bizarre, but even normal folks are attracted to this unusual fern. Athyrium filix-femina 'Frizelliae' makes a great 1' tall x 18" wide specimen for a special spot in the woodland garden! Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Athyrium filix-femina 'Lady in Red' is a hot selection of our North American native, deer-resistant lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina var. angustum forma rubellum) from a volunteer at The New England Wildflower Society. The lacy, light green foliage is held upright on dark, brilliant red-violet stipes (fern stems). Each plant of Athyrium 'Lady in Red' makes a slowly spreading patch to 3' in 5 years. This deciduous, easy-to-grow fern makes a great blending plant for hosta and other bold-leaf plants in the woodland garden. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Considered the "Queen of Ferns," this exquisite selection of the deciduous, deer-resistant lady fern was the pride and joy of the Victorian fern craze. The narrow pinnae of Athyrium 'Victoriae' are like little green boomerangs. As they are attached to each side of the stem, the effect is a three-dimensional stunner in the woodland garden. At the end of each pinna, the fronds are crested, adding to the exquisite beauty. For us, Athyrium 'Victoriae' forms an 18" tall x 18" wide clump. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)