Autumn Fern - one of the Best

Autumn Fern 'Brilliance' - Wayside Gardens photo
Autumn Fern (Dryopteris erythrosora) is a great hardy fern. It grows 18" high by 18" wide and has orange-red new fronds that come out in spring and in late summer bright-red spore clusters appear on frond undersides. 

New growth continues through the season, giving a colorful tapestry effect of copper and green from Spring to late Fall.  

The the fronds age to a lustrous dark green and remain well into winter. 

It is a spreading fern, by rhizomes. Native to woodlands in Japan. Slow to establish...

Autumn Fern - North Creek Nurseries photo
Autumn fern is hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 5 and stays evergreen in frost-free areas.

 It was named a Florida plant of the year for 1998 by the Florida Nurserymen & Growers Association.

It looks beautiful in a mass planting in the shade!

 Combines well with hosta, hellebore, Mahonia and Holly Fern. Also Mertensia (Virginia Bluebells), Phlox divaricata, Pulmonaria (Lungwort), Tiarella (Foam Flower), and Viola

Autumn Fern - Missouri Botanical garden 

Autumn Fern prefers moist, rich, well-drained, acid soils in full to partial shade (shade in afternoon is best). 

 It does not like drought - plants will wilt and change color slightly as a warning they need more water. Do not plant in compacted or poor soils.  They appreciate an occasional top dressing of a compost mulch.  
 Deer resistant!

The Royal Horticultural Society has given Autumn Fern, Dryopteris erythrosora, their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

The cultivar, Dryopteris erythrosora 'Brilliance' has brighter red new growth in spring and its coloring lasts longer. 

One person wrote to White Flower Farm saying that,

"BRILLANCE Autumn fern is to the fern world, what the KNOCKOUT ROSE is to the rose world. And goes a step farther since it is evergreen! 

From now on, it will be the only fern I plant. I have transplanted many of my other ferns to empty gardens around me, and replaced them with BRILLANCE FERN in my garden so that I have color from the ferns all year! 


Autumn Fern - Missouri Botanical garden


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