Dennstaedtia punctilobula (Hay-scented Fern) Light green, soft, airy textured fronds that belie the tough-as-nails, aggressive nature of this fern. As far as we can tell, it is indestructible and unstoppable almost anywhere in light shade to full sun, on wet or dry, rich or not-so-rich soil. We would recommend it for groundcover use only and, indeed, in this application it can be most effective, even spectacular, creating large, delicately textured drifts. 18-24ins. high. Zone 4.
Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance’ A better autumn fern with lustrous young orange fronds that contrast beautifully with the glossy, deeper green mature fronds. Best leaf color is achieved in bright morning light followed by afternoon shade. 15ins. tall.
Dryopteris marginalis (Leatherwood Fern) 1-2' dark blue-green , evergreen fronds. Very attractive and sturdy, zone 4.
Matteuccia struthiopteris ‘Jumbo’ With its grand vase-shaped habit of tall, gracefully arching fronds, this Ostrich fern present a very serene, architecturally pleasing display. However, like all Ostrich ferns, it does tend to colonize rapidly by underground stems and this can be a problem if it’s used in formal, mixed beds. It can also be a great asset when planted in areas where it grows best, such as swamps, river and pond banks and moist woodlands, and given free rein to run wild and beautify places that would present a challenge to other less rugged survivors. Large and impressive, reaching anywhere from 4-5’ high or even higher. Completely hardy and indestructible.
Osmunda cinnamonea (Cinnamon Fern) 2½', new growth resembles cinnamon sticks which then become enveloped in medium green fronds. Zone 3.
Osmunda regalis The Royal Fern is a large, stately fern well suited for specimen planting. Fronds are unlike those of many other ferns in being doubly compound, (they remind me of scaled down Honey locust leaves), and of a bright green to yellow green color, clumped together with an open, regal air. Fall color is a definite asset as fronds turn an intense yellow or yellow-amber in autumn. Also attractive are the tall, russet colored spore-bearing panicles that rise from the center of the clump. This fern likes water and acid soil and does especially well near ponds and streams but also in consistently moist, acidic garden soil. Completely hardy. Zone 3.
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern) 2' high and wide, with dark green, evergreen fronds. The more moisture, the more sun it can tolerate. In photo, plants are making themselves at home in a crevice in a granite boulder in southern Vermont. Zones 3-9.
Thelypteris noveboracensis New 2018 (New York Fern) Long, narrow, light green fronds tapering at each end, usually around 18” tall. Spreads by creeping rootstocks to form dense, ground-covering patches in shade. An adaptable fern, but most at home in shade with average/rich, slightly acid, evenly moist soil. Zone 5.