Thursday, October 13, 2011

Georgia Native Ferns that Prefer Wet Soil

These five native ferns of Georgia are all ones that will need to be planted in a very moist to wet soil. These are good ferns for a partially shaded marshy area of the yard.

Woodwardia areolata (L.) T. Moore (Netted Chain Fern, Chain Fern)

Netted chain fern grows 18 to 24 inches tall and looks much like the sensitive fern. There is a dull green leaf stalk with a red-brown lower section. A deciduous fern, you can propagate by spores located on the undersides of the fertile fronds. This fern prefers shaded areas and wet soils.

Woodwardia virginica (L.) Sm. (Virginia Chain Fern, Anchistea virginica)

The Virginia chain fern grows two to three feet long and three to four feet wide with fronds 18 to 48 inches long. Fronds are leather-like and deciduous with a dark brown stipe.  It prefers partial shade and wet or moist acidic soil. There are arching fronds and a loose structure in shade and a tight clustered growth with more sunlight.  It prefers wet locations.  To propagate the Virginia chain fern, do so by spores or rhizome division.

Thelypteris noveboracensis (L.) Nieuwl. (New York Fern, Tapering Fern, Dryopteris noveboracensis)

This fern gets up to two feet tall and needs an equal spacing. Its fronds taper towarde the base and it is resistant to deer. It prefers partial to full shade and mildly acidic to neutral soil. It is usually seen growing in moist woods. It is slow growing but easy to transplant. You can divide the root ball to propagate.

Osmunda cinnamomea L. (Cinnamon Fern)

This fern gets up to three to four feet tall and needs a two to three foot spread. It loves partial to full shade and moist acidic soil. It is also very long-lived and tough for a fern. There are bluish green fronds and the middle has a cinamon stick looking fiddles in the spring. Coarse antique-looking leaves make this a winner in the garden. You can propagate this by dividing the rhizomes.

Onoclea sensibilis L. (Sensitive Fern)

This fern gets up to 18 to 23 inches high and wide. It loves a full sun to partial shade environment and slight acidic moist soil. It is named for the fronds that are particularly sensitive with withering at the first sign of frost. You can propagate this by dividing the rhizomes in spring. It is a good spreader and there is very low maintanence in this fern. It is a tough plant, despite its “sensitive” name.


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