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Athyrium niponicum var. 'Pictum' (Japanese painted fern)

Athyrium niponicum var. 'Pictum' Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

(Based on 3 user reviews)

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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Botanical Name: Athyrium niponicum var. 'Pictum' ah-THEER-ee-um nih-PON-ih-kum Common Name: Japanese painted fern Synonyms: Athyrium niponicum var. pictum, f. metalicum Genus: Athyrium
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 characteristics: It 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.
Care: Provide light to full shade and well-drained, rich, moist soil, preferably in a humid environment.
Propagation: Divide in spring.
Problems: Prone to rust.
Height 6 in. to 12 in.
Growth Habit Clumps
Light Part Shade to Full Shade
Moisture Medium Moisture
Maintenance Low
Characteristics Showy Foliage
Foliage Color Colorful/Burgundy Foliage
Uses Beds and Borders, Ground Covers, Indoor Plant
Style Shade, Woodland Garden
Seasonal Interest Spring Interest, Summer Interest, Fall Interest
Type Fern

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(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

The broad silvery leaves of ‘Ursula’s Red’ have a showy burgundy band at the center of the leaves in spring. This plant can double in size in a single growing season, as it spreads from rhizomes. Though deer do like it, it may simply grow more fronds and not show any lasting damage. --Michael Ruggiero, Regional Picks: Mid-Atlantic, Fine Gardening issue #127

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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

'Burgundy Lace' is a real showstopper in shady borders and containers, with its silvery purple-bronze fronds. The low-growing clumps are a good choice for edging pathways, and the plant looks terrific when planted in groups. 'Burgundy Lace' grows best in humus-rich, moist soil but will also adapt to conditions that are less than ideal. -Chris Kelley, Regional Picks: Midwest, Fine Gardening issue #120

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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Here's a fern with an upright habit and silvery fronds that give it a ghostly look, hence the name. Emerging new fronds have a shimmering whitish color that darkens slowly to a silvery green with burgundy accents. 'Ghost' spreads slowly by shallow rhizomes, eventuallly becoming an excellent ground cover. -Matt Griswold, Regional Picks: Northeast, Fine Gardening issue #127

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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Tokyo wood fern's ladderlike, upright fronds provide a strong vertical accent to its surroundings. The vase-shaped clumps grow to 18 to 36 inches tall. Grow in a woodland or shade garden.