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Ferns, Fungi and Mosses: Ferns that Don't Spread

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GardenGeek_WI
Central, WI
(Zone 4a)

May 23, 2006
2:04 PM

Post #2308879

HI All,

I really do like Ferns,,,and am wanting to get some ideas as to which stay in nice little clumps and don't pop up all over the place. The last type of Ferns I had (don't ask,,,I just dug them out of my Dads woods, so I don't know what kind they were) popped up Everywhere,,,I dug them all out,,,but must have broken some roots because I am still getting them 6 years later and have to keep taking them out.

So, after being bit once, I'm pretty shy about Ferns. Any recommendations as to which stay in clumps and don't trail underground and pop up wherever?

Thanks, Kelly
patischell
Fort Pierce, FL
(Zone 10a)

May 23, 2006
2:45 PM

Post #2309012

Hi Kelly. I'm not a fern expert, but living in my zone any ferns put in the ground just go wild. When I moved here there were already ferns spreading through my little shade garden, even growing up the sides of my Cabbage Palm.

I left them as the were and put my containers of shade plants in among them. Now all my new ferns are put in the ground in their pots so I have pretty clumps among all the wild childs. I also have hanging ferns, petticoat ferns, that my mother grew. It's my favorite.
Pati
GardenGeek_WI
Central, WI
(Zone 4a)

May 23, 2006
2:47 PM

Post #2309025

Pati,

Thanks,,,great idea putting them in pots. Have you found that the roots grow out of the hole at the bottom of the pot? See how paranoid I am,,,LOL
patischell
Fort Pierce, FL
(Zone 10a)

May 23, 2006
3:14 PM

Post #2309107

Good grief, you must have dug up the fern that ate New York to be that paranoid! LOL

I don't know a lot (really nothing) about growing in your zone. Would you bring the pots in for the winter? If you do, and with a shorter growing season, seems like they wouldn't have time to grow out of the hole. You could trim the roots off the bottom when you take them in.

I love having mine in pots because I can move them around as they grow. I have a Southern Wood fern that is going to the back now because it is getting so tall.

WARNING!!! Ferns can be habit forming!
Pati
GardenGeek_WI
Central, WI
(Zone 4a)

May 23, 2006
4:40 PM

Post #2309393

Pati,

I think I did,,,LOL If they are hardy in my zone, I would leave them in the ground for the winter,,,maybe I would have to dig them up once in awhile to take care of some roots.
patischell
Fort Pierce, FL
(Zone 10a)

May 23, 2006
9:23 PM

Post #2310272

Oh my goodness, now I'm REALLY going to expose my ignorance. Being a true all-my-life southerner, I didn't think any plant was hardy in your zone...except maybe trees!
Pati
zenpotter
Minneapolis, MN
(Zone 4b)

May 23, 2006
9:43 PM

Post #2310322

Pati, There are many plants that are hardy in our zone, even a few cactus.

What I want are some ferns that will really spread in zone 3 where our cabin is. There are some in the woods, but they don't like being moved.

Pauline
marie_
West Central, WI
(Zone 4a)

May 23, 2006
10:08 PM

Post #2310392

I have found that the Sensitive Fern spreads like crazy. I also have a Hay Scented Fern which I love. (Sorry that I don't know the botanical names.) It is very low and lacey...and has been starting to spread, but not so that it's annoying yet. It has a subtle fragrance...like it's name. I've got some nasty, ugly things in my woods that are coming up everywhere and I can't get rid of them. You can have all you want. I don't know the name of them...but they are very distinctive so I should be able to find them in my fern book.
zenpotter
Minneapolis, MN
(Zone 4b)

May 23, 2006
10:10 PM

Post #2310398

Sensitive ferns ok I will get some and did you figure out the nasty ugly ones?
GardenGeek_WI
Central, WI
(Zone 4a)

May 23, 2006
11:31 PM

Post #2310579

Pati,

LOL,,,we have lots of things that are hardy hear. You're not showing ignorance,,,just have lived in the South all your life,,,why would you pay attention to things that are hardy in the Arctic,,,lol

Marie,

Those are prolly the ones that I dug up from my Dad's woods and planted in the bed around the deck,,,I Still have those nasty things coming up once in awhile,,,grrrr
wallaby1
Lincoln
United Kingdom
(Zone 8a)

May 24, 2006
1:52 AM

Post #2310951

Kelly, you will find plenty on Fancyfronds, Pati posted a link to it on the original thread. Polystichum aculeatum is hardy to zone 4, don't know of that's a bit close. There are lots that don't spread.

http://www.fancyfronds.com/store/getdisweed.cfm?ItemID=120

Late here, look again tomorrow!
GardenGeek_WI
Central, WI
(Zone 4a)

May 24, 2006
3:11 AM

Post #2311295

wal,

Thanks for the link, I'll look around more on Wed.
Brent_In_NoVa
Sterling, VA
(Zone 6b)

May 25, 2006
7:10 PM

Post #2316770

...and I hear that much of Wisconsin now has indoor plumbing as well!! yuk..yuk...yuk. Sorry...just checking out this new forum. I am new to ferns, but I planted some cinnamon ferns (Osmunda cinnamomea...it is about the only fern that I can recognize by its botanical name) last fall than they look really cool about now. I will have to post a picture.

- Brent
GardenGeek_WI
Central, WI
(Zone 4a)

May 25, 2006
8:21 PM

Post #2316948

Brent,
Where ever did you hear that from???? Don't let anyone fool you,,,we've had it for quite a few years now,,, Although, I'm a transplant,,,so I can't speak for the years before I moved up here,,,LOL

Kelly
doss
Stanford, CA
(Zone 9b)

May 26, 2006
4:27 AM

Post #2318308

Pattischell, we are lucky enough to grow the wonderful mother fern that doesn't ever stray. It multiplies by baby ferns that it grows along its stipes (is that right?) But I've never had them take.

http://davesgarden.com/pf/go/57035/index.html

Kelly, If you email Judith at fancyfronds.com she's more than happy to help find the fern you want.
Toxicodendron
Piedmont, MO
(Zone 6a)

May 26, 2006
11:15 AM

Post #2318533

Hi all, great to see this fern forum taking off.

I just wanted to mention that in my garden the three most aggressive ferns have been sensitive fern, ostrich fern, and broad beech fern. Moist, loose soil will lead to more rampant growth.

Some of the better behaved ones include Christmas fern, regal or royal fern, cinnamon fern, tassel fern, maidenhair fern, shield ferns. They will spread occasionally (by spores more than runners).

Good luck finding just the right ferns!
Here is one of my favorites, the Northern Maidenhair:


This message was edited May 26, 2006 6:17 AM

Thumbnail by Toxicodendron
Click the image for an enlarged view.

GardenGeek_WI
Central, WI
(Zone 4a)

May 26, 2006
6:10 PM

Post #2319547

Thanks for all the info so far everyone. It really helps make me less neurotic about Ferns taking over my whole yard,,,lol

I'll be tring a few this year,,,have to get those names written down so I know what Im looking for.
marie_
West Central, WI
(Zone 4a)

May 26, 2006
11:42 PM

Post #2320456

Toxic...nice list, I was thinking of a few of those myself. I have several varieties of japanese painted ferns, and they are very well behaved. Their clumps just gradually enlarge, and then you can cut off hunks (technical term there) to replant elsewhere or give away.

Lovely form on your maidenhair fern, by the way. I love mine, but it always seems like we get a storm and fronds get broken off. They are quite delicate. (And then there are the occassional visits from my neighbor's dog. Luckily she is taking to her training and leaving puppyhood behind.) I have two varieties, one of which is taller than the other. I'll have to go out and check on which is which.
Toxicodendron
Piedmont, MO
(Zone 6a)

May 27, 2006
4:26 PM

Post #2322312

Hi Marie,
Yes, the maidenhair ferns are always lovely in the late spring with all the new growth. Sometimes late in summer I cut off some of the older tatty looking fronds. What is your other species? I have adiantum pedatum (pictured) and a shorter one that is adiantum hispidulum. It looks very similar but the new growth is copper colored and it stays much smaller. It is not supposed to be hardy here in zone 6, but came through the winter just fine.

Thumbnail by Toxicodendron
Click the image for an enlarged view.

tropicalaria
Tri-Cities, WA
(Zone 7b)

May 28, 2006
8:44 AM

Post #2324330

I would second the recommendation to speak with Judith at Fancy Fronds. If there was ever a helpful and knowledgeable fern expert in the trade, it is her.
GardenGeek_WI
Central, WI
(Zone 4a)

May 28, 2006
3:06 PM

Post #2324872

Thank-You, I'll have to get in touch with her.
zenpotter
Minneapolis, MN
(Zone 4b)

May 31, 2006
8:24 PM

Post #2336358

Hi, I am still lurking and learning.
Noreaster
Maine
United States
(Zone 5b)

June 3, 2006
7:45 PM

Post #2348319

Toxicodendron, how old is your Northern Maidenhair fern in that first picture? I keep seeing those at the nursery but they are so frail and skimpy looking...obviously nothing like that picture you posted. So I was wondering approximately how long it takes for a Maidenhair to get some "umph" factor. It is such a pretty fern when it is full like that.

Here in Maine, the woods are carpeted with Hayscented, Cinnamon, and Sensitive ferns. I just picked up some Hayscented ones to plant on a slope in our back corner...I want the carpeted look up there, so I don't I care how much that one spreads (ok, I say that now). I chose that fern because I heard it is very easy to grow and not fussy about anything.
bolino
Swanton, OH
(Zone 5b)

June 4, 2006
10:28 PM

Post #2351950

Wow! This is fascinating! I have a very small area to plant so I would guess ferns would not be a good idea as they spread. Thanks for all the info!
wallaby1
Lincoln
United Kingdom
(Zone 8a)

June 4, 2006
10:44 PM

Post #2352002

bolino, not many ferns spread that I have, some are good in pots also.
bolino
Swanton, OH
(Zone 5b)

June 4, 2006
10:45 PM

Post #2352010

How do you get your zone in your post? Do you have to be a subscribing member?
wallaby1
Lincoln
United Kingdom
(Zone 8a)

June 4, 2006
11:15 PM

Post #2352085

bolino, go to 'My Info' tab at the top, then 'Manage My preferences'. All the business is there.
bolino
Swanton, OH
(Zone 5b)

June 5, 2006
1:01 AM

Post #2352406

Thanks Wallaby1! Got it!!!!
Toxicodendron
Piedmont, MO
(Zone 6a)

June 5, 2006
12:29 PM

Post #2353995

Hi Bolino, welcome to Dave's Garden!

Noreaster, I have had maidenhair ferns for 25 years. Occasionally I divide a clump and move it, and that is what you see in the picture. So I can't say for sure how long it takes to get an impressive specimen, but I do know that rich moist soil helps a lot. I have some in poor areas with root competion from English Ivy, and they persist but are much smaller in size and not nearly as full and lush.

Here is an unusual fern-type plant I got at Home Depot a while back. It has survived winter here in zone 6, although the label says zone 7 is the limit.
Selaginella pallescens, aka Arborvitae Fern:

Thumbnail by Toxicodendron
Click the image for an enlarged view.

wallaby1
Lincoln
United Kingdom
(Zone 8a)

June 5, 2006
12:57 PM

Post #2354100

Lovely Selaginella Toxi. I have tried the ones with hanging roots for houseplants but they don't live, perhaps should find one for outside.

Noreaster, to further the discussion on Adiantum pedatum I bought mine from a fern nursery by post a few years ago, possibly 7 years now. It was supposed to be A. venustum, but I am pleased it is this one as I found the other later at a local nursery. It was only a small plant in a 7cm pot.

It grew quite quickly and made two crowns within perhaps 3 years, so I split them but since splitting there doesn't seem to be any more obvious crowns although they have increased in size. I grow them in a free draining mix of moss peat compost, gritty river soil and leafy compost. I keep them under the edge of a tree where they get some sun, and keep them moist. When they start to dry out very quickly is the time to pot up to a bigger pot, and that gives them a real boost . I did this last year and the biggest one really took off, the stems got thicker and taller and turned a lovely deep blue black. They need another pot up now, it's best done when they are in full growth so the roots grow quickly into the new compost, any standing water around roots can rot ferns.

Thumbnail by wallaby1
Click the image for an enlarged view.

GardenGeek_WI
Central, WI
(Zone 4a)

June 6, 2006
4:48 AM

Post #2357167

Toxic,
Great Fern,,,just love it,,,very different.
Toxicodendron
Piedmont, MO
(Zone 6a)

June 6, 2006
12:31 PM

Post #2357743

Garden Geek, glad you liked the selaginella. The label says it is a groundcover, but I will probably be lucky just to keep it alive with our cold winters. I also have selaginella kraussiana planted outside. It looks great by the end of summer, but gets damaged a lot in the winter. I mulch it with pine needles to keep from losing it altogether.

Janet, your maidenhair looks very lush and full in that pot. Have you considered putting some in your landscape? They mix well with hostas, tiarellas, and other broadleaf shade plants. Dividing them certainly helps them to grow (in my experience).

I love all ferns, but sometimes they can get out of hand. For the last 2 years I have been planting the most invasive ones along our creek. When the creek floods they look bad, but soon recover with new growth.


wallaby1
Lincoln
United Kingdom
(Zone 8a)

June 6, 2006
1:06 PM

Post #2357843

Toxi, I keep thinking about putting one perhaps in the ground somewhere, but the raised bed under the tree doesn't seem to have the right space. When I find the right space, or if, it would be nice. I feel it needs to be amongst rocks next to a pond, which I don't have but 'have a good space' for one! It would perhaps get too much sun but eventually...

Ferns love the stuff I grow them in, the gritty soil we dig from the brick lined drain and horse chestnut leaf compost, yum yum. I don't feed them, but they do get a bit of food from the 1/3 peat compost I put in the mix.

I have ferns that grow in pots when a plant is in one for some time, I had lots I grew on in pots and they are now on the grass slope on the other side of the water drain, it's quite steep and difficult to send a mower down. They are growing nicely and look great, hopefully they will take over from the grass so sometimes it's good that they spread!

Can't see ferns in the pic, but the slope to the water, should be good for frogs too with ferns. I have some now on a bank near the house which is north facing, and I have a bath tub there so they must like it, I saw baby toads and frogs last year and a fern has self set there so I left it ...frogs like the moist cover.

Thumbnail by wallaby1
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Ivy1
Mystic, CT
(Zone 6b)

June 6, 2006
7:04 PM

Post #2358942

Oh gosh, thanks for this thread! I have hay ferns running all along what use to be a perennial border. They are horrible . Beautiful, but horrible. I have dug them out, but they always come back. When they started to spread to another bed, I decided to smother them with newspaper. I took all my perennials out last year, and put the paper down this year, but they are starting to poke through the wet layers. Yikes.

I love the way Maidenhair and Painted ferns look, but was shy of planting any because of the monster fern I already had. Thanks again!
GardenGeek_WI
Central, WI
(Zone 4a)

June 6, 2006
7:09 PM

Post #2358957

Ivy,

I'm going to try some of the other ferns that are supposed to clump,,hopefully, that's all they do,,,LOL
Toxicodendron
Piedmont, MO
(Zone 6a)

June 7, 2006
11:46 AM

Post #2361558

Ivy and Garden Geek, good luck with your ferns. I know the maidenhair never did run amuck in my perennial beds and neither have the shield ferns. Just avoid the Sensitive ferns, Ostrich ferns, and Broad Beech ferns...they like to take over!!!

Janet, I guess all those pots in the picture were planted into the prepared slope? I bet that looks nice. Seems like I always acquire plants a few at a time and just work them in somewhere instead of laying out an entire bed all at once. Then I move them repeatedly until I find the right spot, LOL.

A correction/addition to my Arborvitae fern: this is probably Selaginella braunii, nor S. pallescens as the label states. See this link if you want more information: http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/371724/

Toxi
wallaby1
Lincoln
United Kingdom
(Zone 8a)

June 7, 2006
12:58 PM

Post #2361752

Toxi, the plants are being put into the prepared bed at the moment, I have spent years collecting them, many grown from seed or bought as small plug plants and grown on. I just buy what I like and find a place for a new bed, I try to do a new one each year but eventually space will run out.

The slope the ferns are on is on the opposite side of the drain (with bog plants)which is just beyond that bed, you can see the road beyond that. The grass is mowed half way down, ferns in the rough grass towards the bottom.
patischell
Fort Pierce, FL
(Zone 10a)

June 7, 2006
2:06 PM

Post #2361984

Wallaby, what a lovely garden you are making. I'm very envious of you having all that space to display your ferns to their full advantage. AND...you have bog plants too? Indeed, your cup runneth over. (smile) I would love to see a picture of the bathtub!

I've been visiting your town on the internet. I'm in a reading marathon about the War of Roses, and am seriously considering becoming a member of the Richard III Society. I'm very serious about my English history. LOL
Pati



wallaby1
Lincoln
United Kingdom
(Zone 8a)

June 7, 2006
2:39 PM

Post #2362115

Pati, I do often look at the garden as it grows again, and as I make a new bed and I have the biggest smile on my face! I am lucky, and yes the bog plants are at the bottom edge of the water which can dry up in summer, but there is old Victorian engineering bricks at the bottom, with a larger well just through the pipe under the bridge. The soil at the edge is always boggy, if very dry the bricks keep a lot of moisture in. I have Typha which grew itself and is spreading, grasses Cyperus longus, Carex pseudocyperus, Phalaris arundinacea picta, Lythrum salicaria, irises, Polystichum munitum. Had a Gunnera manicata which got drowned when the water board flooded the drain while doing work on pipes.

The bath tub. and you can see a fern behind which has grown nicely, Athyrium filix-femina. It does set a few self sets around in moist gaps from spore, mainly around the phormium opposite, but they are easily removed, and I can put them on my slope! It is sun tolerant too.

Thumbnail by wallaby1
Click the image for an enlarged view.

wallaby1
Lincoln
United Kingdom
(Zone 8a)

June 7, 2006
3:00 PM

Post #2362181

I have a pic on 35mm film of the bricks when the drain was dug out, need to digi pic it. I did take one in April after snapping sunsets, it was nearly dark and it was taken on the 'scene' shot which works well in low light. You can see the Polystichum munitum on the right, at the base of a flowering cherry and just above water line. The other ferns were planted on the left side last year, but not in growth then.

Thumbnail by wallaby1
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Toxicodendron
Piedmont, MO
(Zone 6a)

June 8, 2006
12:01 PM

Post #2365683

Love your bathtub! Would you believe I had one hauled off a couple of years ago? I must be a moron.
Everything looks so green in your pictures! Because of our very hot and dry (although humid!) summers here, I can't plant as much as I would like. Watering is just too time-consuming and unpleasant (insects), so I am switching to more plants that bloom in spring and go dormant for summer (or are drought-tolerant). Still, my ferns will get watered!!!
Maybe we should discuss drought-tolerant ferns?

wallaby1
Lincoln
United Kingdom
(Zone 8a)

June 8, 2006
12:20 PM

Post #2365736

I found that one at the City tip, they used to separate some things to sell but stopped, I got it for 10. It's a shame, there were some treasures! It was green, it's painted with a stone chip paint then matt black cellulose paint. Most has come off the inside but it gives it a 'shabby chic' look.

My water barrels have run dry, a few days over the 20C mark and I want rain! Great for getting things done though.

I think Athyrium felix-femina copes fairly well with dryness, but your dryness is probably different. Humidity does help.
patischell
Fort Pierce, FL
(Zone 10a)

June 8, 2006
12:35 PM

Post #2365777

Oh Wallaby, I love the COOLNESS of the picture of your bog. I just came in from getting the paper and already the humidity and heat is building. It's a race against time to try and get some cuttings potted before I'm back into the A/C.

I think that's why I love my ferns so much. Even when I'm hot and tired, just looking at them in their little shade garden is very cooling. I have round containers of white Caladiums set in there which add to the effect.

Toxie, is there such a thing as a drought-tolerant fern? That's a very interesting idea. We are in a little wedge shaped area right on the coast that gets less rain than FL usually has, and watering for containers is an ongoing problem. For this reason I'm using Hibiscus and Bogainvillae for year round color and cutting down on many of my other plants. Coleus and Begonias are still a passion though.
Pati
Toxicodendron
Piedmont, MO
(Zone 6a)

June 8, 2006
12:46 PM

Post #2365801

Pati, it appears that Holly ferns and Leatherleaf are supposed to be somewhat drought tolerant for your area, according to one of my garden references. I wish we could grow leatherleaf here, it is great for bouquets.
patischell
Fort Pierce, FL
(Zone 10a)

June 8, 2006
12:53 PM

Post #2365811

Toxie, I have a Leatherleaf that has jumped in size this year. Love the way it has that round bouquet look. My big Holly went with one of the hurricanes and I haven't replaced it. Why can't you grow Leatherleaf?
Pati
wallaby1
Lincoln
United Kingdom
(Zone 8a)

June 8, 2006
1:01 PM

Post #2365834

Some like it hot, some like it cold, do we ever get enough of either?

I found a site with a chart which may be useful. My ferns do well under the tree in a raised bed around the trunk, fine tree roots grow up into it and they do take a lot of dryness in the shade. In 2004 we had 2 months of quite hot weather, up to 33.7C, no rain. I did water with a hose but not a lot.

http://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheets/HGIC1176.htm

Yuccado have a list of drought tolerant rare plants, ferns included

http://www.yuccado.com/browse.htm

A good descriptive list

http://www.foliagegardens.com/cat1.html

list of drought tolerant plants, dropteris included

http://www.acwd.org/wc_garden_plant_desc.php5

Polystichum munitum drought tolerant

http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/health/ehoss/landscp.html





zenpotter
Minneapolis, MN
(Zone 4b)

June 12, 2006
12:31 PM

Post #2381035

All of those links will keep me busy for a while. Thank you.
Toxicodendron
Piedmont, MO
(Zone 6a)

June 13, 2006
1:06 PM

Post #2385216

Pati, I can't grow leatherleaf because it gets too cold here. Guess I could try it, though...I have had lots of zone 8 plants surviving the last few years.

Wallaby, that was quite a list of links you gave us. Some good ones in there, thanks.

Toxi
wallaby1
Lincoln
United Kingdom
(Zone 8a)

June 13, 2006
1:09 PM

Post #2385224

You're both welcome!

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Other Ferns, Fungi and Mosses Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
Let's Talk Fungi and Such Weezingreens 203 Jun 12, 2007 7:52 PM
Welcome to Ferns! Terry 47 Jul 13, 2011 10:40 AM
My favorite Fern rcn48 33 Aug 19, 2008 11:56 PM
Osmunda cinnamomea Brent_In_NoVa 11 Mar 28, 2007 7:41 PM
growing from spores hostajim1 47 Nov 19, 2011 5:23 PM


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