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Re: hardy ferns

Hello Candy and Mike,

Zone ratiangs don't tell the whole story of your zone. The ratings began using the winter low temperatures and now include summer high temperatures but the duration of the cold and the heat coupled with humdiity or lack of humidity do affect the plants that do well in your area. There are many ferns that get large that will do well in many zone 7 areas, some flouish in hot humid summers and others are not quite so happy. Those that get over three feet and will take the humid summers in the eastern US are Dryopteris x australis, carthusiana, celsa, clintoniana, x separabilis, tokyoensis. There are several large filix-mas cultivars such as Dryopteris filix-mas 'Cristata', 'Grandiceps Wills', and 'Linearis Polydactyla' and hybrids of filix-mas with various affinis subspecies such as Dryopters x complexa 'Robust' (one I introduced in the early 80's from England), 'Stableri' and 'Stableri Crisped', the last two are tall but have narrow fronds making them nice architectural accents. Osmunda regalis var regalis and the purple stemmed form 'Purpurascens' are more heavy bodied than its american cousin, Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis, but both have wonderful fall color. Matteuccia struthiopteris 'Jumbo' is an ostrich fern I received from a grower in CA supposedly via a Japanese farmer. Dr. Kato from Japan checked it out for Dr. John Mickel and declared he had never seen anything like it so its origin remains a mystery. It has a large caudex much like a terrestrial tree fern and fornds that can reach over 5' in constantly moist shade. I will be happy to give you more information about any of the above if you contact me at Judith@fancyfronds.com. I would suggest you begin by looking for some of these ferns at your local nurseries, preferably ones that actually grows plants of their own and has some clue as to what does well in your zone. If you live in the eastern US you should check the Plant Delights website for some of these ferns.

Judith I. Jones
Fancy Fronds

Mike & Candy wrote:

We have just recently cleared out an area in our yard of under growth. I would like to plant some large ferns (3 feet +) in the area. We are in USDA zone 7, the area is heavy shade, or another location is dappled sun/ shade. I'm looking for both plant recommendations and sources.


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