Another great fern - Chilean Hard fern (Blechnum Chilense)

photo of Chilean Hard Fern by Noel Kingsbury

Here is an evergreen beauty for warmer climate zones!

The Chilean Hard Fern (Blechnum chilense) is an evergreen, slow growing fern that tolerates sun and enjoys dappled shade with adequate moisture. It is rated for USDA zone 8 (may be grown in zone 7 where it may suffer some frostburn but this can be trimmed). 

In colder areas protect and shelter it in a deep woodland or in close proximity to a building. Place leaf mulch around the crowns of these plants if you experience regular hard winters.

The Chilean Spanish name for the species is ‘Costilla de vaca’ which means ‘cow’s rib’ referring to the shape of the fronds. The species can be found growing at both low and high altitudes in Chile. It often colonizes alongside roads as it is quick to establish after disruption to the land.

from Patagonia Plants 
It spreads by underground rhizomes and can colonize an area. The young and emerging leaf fronds having an orange-rusty color but as they mature they develop a waxy dark green appearance. It reaches 2-3 ft tall, maybe more. 

The Royal Horticultural Society gave  Blechnum chilense their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1997.  It makes a worthwhile addition to any warm climate shade garden.


  1. A great fern! I use it in my deep shade garden with podophyllum and arum.


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