Thursday, May 16, 2013

Adiantum pedatum, my favorite plant in the garden (this week)...


During one of my many plant purging digs (our fist summer here) I uncovered a tiny graceful black stem with the brightest of chartreuse leaves. It had been buried under an over grown mass of “those ferns” (code for I have no idea what they are but see them in a lot of old gardens) and was just barely alive. At the time I had no idea of its name but I know it now as Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum), since that day it has grown into a delicate powerhouse of a plant.

I like how it acts as a compliment to the larger hosta leaves nearby.

The stats:
  • Hardy in zones 3-8
  • Eventually reaches a size of 1-2.5 ft tall x 1-1.5 ft wide
  • Likes part shade to full shade and will tolerate dense shade
  • Deciduous


Here’s an interesting picture of the single one of “those ferns” that I left in place. I cut it completely back each spring so the new growth can shine, I don’t remember ever seeing it form such a cone shape...

Since I’m combining this “fav plant of the week” post with Pam’s monthly Foliage Follow-up it's only right to add a second plant (and in fact I originally planned to feature this one, but then got distracted by the fern) I give you Equisetum hyemale (Horsetail rush)...

It’s pushing out a ton of fat new growth right now and just looks fabulous, although I couldn't get a great picture no matter how hard I tried.

The stats:
  • This is highly invasive, only plant it where you can contain it!
  • Hardy in zones 4-9
  • Height: 2 to 4 ft, spread: 1 to 6 ft
  • Full sun to shade
  • Likes it's feet to be wet


All material © 2009-2013 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

27 comments:

  1. An amazing occurrence: I both love both of these choices, and am growing them already! Usually your favorites are things I've never heard of and can't grow here.

    To be honest, the maidenhair fern died a couple of years ago, but that was before I had a decent fern bed. I'm going to give this one a try again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought of you when putting this post together Alan, knowing you'd been a little frustrated with my zonal preferences.

      Delete
  2. Maidenhair fern is such a beautiful plant! It looks so delicate, almost like something that could only be grown in a greenhouse by a very dedicated plant geek. Horsetail rush is also a favorite of mine. Hooray for fabulous foliage!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! I was unsure at first that it was hardy here, then I went for a walk along a stream and realized it's growing EVERYWHERE!

      Delete
  3. I love maidenhair fern too! I have a couple of clumps of it in a shade bed, but it is taking a while to really get established.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am really surprised how fast this one beefed up once it was given some room and a little more light.

      Delete
  4. I love Maindehair Fern...mine is finally getting to be a decent size...love the contrast to the larger leaves of Hostas and Rodgersias.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I bet a Rodgersia planted near by would be a lovely combo to!

      Delete
  5. There are so many great ferns that grow well in Portland, it's so hard to pick just one favorite. The other little Maidenhair ferns like Adiantum hispidulum (Rosy Maidenhair Fern) and Adiantum venustum (Himalayan Maidenhair Fern) are also good Portland growers, but don't get as tall as Adiantum pedatum.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true, there are many! I'm also especially fond of Adiantum venustum and finally planted a few more of those this spring.

      Delete
  6. Maidenhair fern, so pretty! It's a native plant, as is "those ferns," sword fern, Polystichum munitum.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sword fern! Yes, thank you Julie. I have childhood memories of my mom digging sword ferns when we were camping. She'd haul them back to Spokane and they'd struggle on, never quite looking as good as they did in the wild.

      Delete
  7. The fern/hosta combo is just right.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Fern and Horsetail make a great combo, looks so prehistoric together! We could never get this fern to do well for us, glad to see its doing so well for you, looks lovely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's too bad, of course you do have all those schefflera to make up for it...

      Delete
  9. We have lots of the maidenhairs in our woods, but they are almost lost amidst the competing vegetation. After reading this, I may transplant some of them to spots where they will have more elbow room.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Free ferns! Lucky you (we'll...free with the purchase of some land).

      Delete
  10. Wow, that maidenhair fern is a beauty! Great shape! I left 'one of those ferns' in at the new house. They were everywhere. You did get a lovely conical center to it, though! The horsetail rush has great color! I had not seen it up close before. Cheers, Jenni

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We had a whole forest of "those ferns" on the north side of the house. Some guys who helped us rip out all the vegetation there were very happy to take them home and plant them.

      Delete
  11. You must treat your plants well. They always look so lush and healthy. I think I would like some equisetum in my new pond. Such structure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mother nature takes care of a great deal of the "treating"...and yes, you should add some horse-tail to your pond! It's especially gorgeous when lit by the sun.

      Delete
  12. The closeup of the horsetail rush is very cool. I love the maidenhair fern bed--you combine all of those textures and colors just beautifully!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow - I had no idea the Equisetum can get up to six feet!!! They are so amazing and prehistoric looking... Love the Maidenhair too - they are so darn elegant and dainty!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have you ever seen the horsetail growing wild out on Sauvie Island? I'd say they're approaching 6ft, and an excellent visual on just how invasive that plant can be!

      Delete
  14. Maidenhair fern is one of my favorites too -- I love those wiry black stems against the bright green leaves. It grows naturally even here in central Texas in moist, streamside conditions.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to comment. The amount of spam that get's through is incredible, so comment moderation is on. I'll try to approve and post your comment as soon as possible!