Arbor Vitae Fern

Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

Last spring I bought three ferns called 'Arbor Vitae Fern' at a local nursery. I was attracted to them because the foliage was very interesting - it actually looks like an arbor vitae bush! The tag said these low-growing ferns were hardy, but I'm always skeptical of exotic looking plants I haven't seen in other gardens in the region, so I planted them next to the bench in my shade garden and figures they would probably not emerge this spring, but I would enjoy them for one season.

Thumbnail by LeawoodGardener
Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

Happily, I was wrong. The 'Arbor Vitae' Ferns are emerging this spring and seem to be doing well. I have not seen them at a nursery this year, but if I do, I'd like to add one or two somewhere else.

Is anyone else familiar with this variety? Do they reproduce?

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Hobart, IN

I believe these reproduce by spores although they're not a true fern. I saw some references for Selaginella braunii in the DG guides. Lucky you - they're hardy to about zone 6. I had wanted some a few years back but didn't think they'd survive here.

Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

We had an exceptionally mild winter, so it could be a fluke. I was afraid they would not be hardy (I really get angry when I discover a local nursery offering something that is not hardy in my zone) and I was willing to chalk them up to experience, but I'm glad they survived. I wish they would spread throughout the shade garden, but if they aren't hardy, that would just add to my disappointment.

Hobart, IN

I think I read that they are slow-growing so doubtful they'd spread like, say, ostrich ferns. Perhaps your bench there is offering some protection. Maybe after another growing season of settling in, they might be able to survive a colder winter???

Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

We'll see. Meanwhile, I'll just enjoy them. Thanks for the info.

Gary

Hobart, IN

Keep us posted on how they survive. I might be able to indulge in one myself. :)

Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

The 'arbor vitae' ferns are still growing. I'd like to find a couple more to add to the garden.

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Hobart, IN

Those look great! How are they handling the heat?

Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

They had no problem last summer - so far this year, we've not had sustained heat. It's coming, though.

Decatur, GA(Zone 7b)

They do pretty well for me here in GA. I've seen them around enough that I thought they might be native here but, spurred by your questions, I looked it up and it is not native here though it has naturalized.

Hobart, IN

I'm thinking I'd have to do mail order to get one here. Have never seen them for sale locally. And they're so pretty.

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

Cindy, this wholesale nursery says they are Z5 hardy. Might have to invest in a couple myself. They're very pretty.
http://www.pendernursery.com/Catalog/Types/Ferns.html

Doug

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

And it's available at Plant Delights Nursery for $15.
http://www.plantdelights.com/Selaginella-braunii-Brauns-Arborvitae-Fern/productinfo/1506/

Hobart, IN

Doug - you are the enabler. :) Actually, I did look around at a nice nursery up in Holland, MI over the weekend but didn't see any. I was thinking they might have them since they're a whole zone warmer than me. Thanks for those links!

Atlanta, GA

"Slow growing" doesn't mean it stays put. We have an accidental selaginella braunii in our little front yard left over from a movie shoot at our house that has been quite satisfying for the past five years. But every year it slowly expands its territory, and it now wants the turf that belongs to our columbine. I don't know whether to sink a barrier around it or take it out altogether.

That's Atlanta, new movie capital of the world, zone 7b or 8a, depending on who you ask.

This message was edited Apr 20, 2016 11:55 PM

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