What You’ll Need:  
Essential Items Desirable Items
Soil Enhancer T&C Fruit & Flower Food
Soil Sulfur Mulch


Ferns are a very valuable plant in the garden that gives the average gardener beauty and dependability. Leaves on ferns can be lacey, leathery, plain or variegated and are known for providing a long season of interest and pleasing foliage in shade gardens.

Requirements: moist, humus rich soil. Plant ferns in cool shady areas that are protected from hot winds. They grow on the north side, under large pine trees or in any shaded, protected area. Mulch ferns once a year to improve the soil and keep the roots cool.

Ferns for Southeast Idaho

Maidenhair Fern: Adiantum pedatum. Zone 3. This fern is very delicate with fan shaped fronds. The stems are shiny and black with light green lacy leaves. These are especially great for shaded rock gardens or under shrubs. Grows 12-24” tall and 12-18″ wide.

Crested Lady Fern: Anthryrium filix femina ‘Cristatum’. Zone 3. Fronds are bright green and grow on stiff stems. This fern grows 3’-4’ tall and requires full shade.

Japanese Painted Fern: Anthyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’. Zone 4. This fern has arching fronds that are olive green with a metallic-grey shine. It adds a bright touch to a shade garden and grows 12”- 18” tall and 18” wide.

Ostrich Fern: Matteuccia Pennsylvania. Zone 1. A vigorous fern with lacey, lance-shaped fronds that grow 4-6’ tall with fountain shaped clumps growing 1-2’ wide. It prefers semi-shade, lots of water and rich soil. It spreads rapidly and is the easiest fern to grow, especially for a beginner.

Royal Fern-Osmunda regalis ‘Purperascens’. Zone 3. This is a unique fern with arching, leather green fronds with contrasting red stems. Grows 3’ to 5’ tall.

Alaskan Fern: Polystichum setiferum. Zone 3. Flourishes in shady areas. It has narrow, lance- shaped fronds that grow 2’ long. The leaves have feathery, dark green leaflets. A very hardy fern that gives a tropical appearance.

Christmas Fern: Polystichum acrostichoides. Zone 4. A native species with leathery, dark green fronds. Grows 12-18” tall.

Ferns need very little fertilizer. Just make sure the soil is very rich and humus. Apply slow-release fertilizer in the spring. Never apply fertilizer directly to the fronds because it will burn the leaves, turning them brown