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The Plant Guide

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Japanese painted fern

Athyrium niponicum var. 'Pictum'

ah-THEER-ee-um nih-PON-ih-kum

This fern has cool, grey-green, almost silvery, foliage and reddish-purple stalks that are useful for brightening dark spots in borders. It is deciduous, and although it reaches only 8 to 12 inches in height, it is easy to grow, prolific, and easily divided.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsIt forms a tight, hardy ground cover when plants are placed about 1 foot apart. Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’ was the 2004 Perennial Plant of the Year.

CareProvide light to full shade and well-drained, rich, moist soil, preferably in a humid environment.

PropagationDivide in spring.

ProblemsProne to rust.

  • Genus : Athyrium
  • Zones : 5, 6, 7, 8
  • Plant Height : 6 to 12 inches
  • Uses : Ground Covers, Shade
  • Maintenance : Low
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Light : Partial Shade to Full Shade
  • Plant Type : Perennials
  • Foliage Color : Purple/Burgundy
  • Characteristics : Showy Foliage
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Spring Interest
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