Gardening with Ferns Gardening with Ferns
Ferns are a wonderful family of plants with great diversity; use them as focal points or as backdrops for your prominent flowers. Nothing quite fills a shady spot of your garden like a fern and gardeners should keep them in mind as container plants as well. Because there are so many ferns to choose from, it is difficult to provide a general description; suffice it to say, ferns usually have divided fronds, but from there the range of form is vast. This wide variety gives gardeners plenty to choose from; consider your garden and finding a fern to fit the spot will not be difficult.
Most ferns are green, but there are at least 40 shades to choose from if you’re shopping for color. Keep in mind that some ferns sport a flat color and others showcase glossy fronds. There are some species with gray and mauve fronds; others that produce dramatic red veins. There is also a staggering selection of size and form to consider - not to mention texture. When purchasing ferns for your garden, remember to take the amount of moisture, sunlight and soil conditions in your garden into consideration.
Most ferns will thrive in damp conditions with well-drained soil. Ferns love soil that is moist, but well-drained. Apart from this, you will find ferns that grow between the cracks and crevices of stones or on a sloped embankment above a water element. Ferns grow well in a woodland garden. But there are some species that will do well in areas of dry shade as well extremely wet spots. And although ferns are popular shade-loving plants, there are some that can take plenty of sun exposure. Wind is a factor to consider because it can damage fragile fern fronds, but some species have a leathery texture that is protective in such conditions.
Another positive aspect of gardening with ferns is how friendly they are to other plant species that makes them particularly strong components of woodland gardens. Remember that given the proper conditions, fern foliage may become unruly and tend to take over, so be sure it has growing room so as not to outshine your flowers with its luxurious summer foliage. Many gardeners mix ferns with hostas and some ornamental grasses where the leaves, textures and colors provide an interesting contrast for onlookers. Also, some varieties are such marvelous spreaders that they may even be tried as ground cover like polypodiums.
The ideal method to grow ferns is to propagate them from spores, though this will take a while and you will need to further research propagation and division techniques not discussed at length here. Of course, you can generally find them at garden centers, but you may have to special order more rare varieties. The following ferns are some excellent choices for gardeners and landscapers alike. Ferns are very easy to maintain so long as you pay heed to there few individual needs.
Himalayan Maidenhair is a good choice for a ground cover fern; it will thrive in partly shady spots with a relatively moist soil - it will do all right even of the soil is a bit more on the dry side.
The beautiful Japanese painted fern is one of the loveliest and consequently, gardeners often choose to plant it in their gardens. It needs adequate moisture to thrive and will do quite well in a rockery situation. Its fronds are a gray-green.
The black tree fern would make a dramatic focal point for any garden. It grows quickly if maintained properly; give this hardy variety it some well-drained soil.
The thousand-leaved fern is beautiful with its lattice-work of fronds; it requires an acidic soil that is slightly sandy.
But those are simply a few favorites with gardeners. There is a staggering number of fern choices for any garden situation. Simply decide where you need them - there will be many species to choose from that will thrive in the conditions your specific garden has to offer.
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