Spotlight: Ferns


Ferns have grown popular within personal indoor and outdoor living spaces. When it comes to these  plants, the first image that comes to mind is them growing on the forest floor or even stemming out of a rock. It’s exciting to see ferns make an appearance elsewhere for a change: in a stylish pot or occupying the space beneath a backyard bush. California happens to have their fair share of unique, native ferns. Here are a few and some interesting facts about them:

  1. Western Sword fern (Polystichum munitum): This is the most popular fern around California. It grows in abundance and is usually the type of fern that many coin as the staple fern. If there were only one fern in existence (which is definitely false!), this would be it. In general, people presume that ferns are delicate and fragile, but in reality, they are resilient and extremely tolerant to various climates. The Western Sword is unique in being able to go long periods of time without water and looking fabulous grown in large clusters. Keep in mind, these ferns are one of the largest in the family, growing in height and width of about five feet. This makes them great space solvers!

  2. Lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina): This fern is a good option for those who love the look of the classic fern fronds, but are not desiring a mass amount of the plant. The Lady fern is smaller in size (2-3 feet in height and width) and is a great add-on if you’re looking for some extra texture and bright colors to add to your plantscape.

  3. Five Finger fern (Adiantum aleutican): This fern has unique character as it showcases a different frond than the typical fern frond that takes on a sword-like shape. It embodies, if you may, a finger-like frame. These are relatively smaller ferns ranging between 10 to 15 inches in height with the tendency to have droopy stems. This makes the Five Finger fern great to pot and present on a higher surface where the plant can be allowed to spill out.

  4. Deer fern (Blechnum spicant): The Deer fern is extremely unique as it embodies the cascade effect of the Five Finger on its outer fronds, while simultaneously showing off its ability to stand up straight in the center about two feet tall. Because of its diverse structure, it is a good fern to allow to exist on its own without any other plant friends to compliment it.

  5. Giant Chain fern (Woodwardia fimbriata): This fern grows up to about five feet tall and is a great way to center attention on a specific space in your outdoor living area. Additionally, it is a great fern to pair alongside other plants that may need a regular watering since it needs common attention. It is important to note that the Giant Chain is bold in appearance, so if you are not looking to make a loud statement, go with something smaller!

Anna Lisa Banuelos