My favorite Fern

Lexington, VA(Zone 6a)

Hurray for the Fern Forum! Haven't been able to spend much time on DG in the past couple of months, but what a treat to find this new forum. Posting a pic of my favorite Fern, Athyrium x 'Ghost'. This one really shines in the shade garden.

Thumbnail by rcn48
Ottawa, ON(Zone 5a)

What a sumptuous photo, thanks for sharing it. Do you happen to know how far north these ferns are hardy? I'd like to introduce one into my town garden in Ottawa, where we are Zone 4-5 (very hard to be precise, I'm finding).

West Central, WI(Zone 4a)

andycdn......I have a Ghost Fern that has been doing nicely for about 3 years. It's slow growing, but lovely. I'm zone 4a so you should be fine.

Rock Hill, SC(Zone 7b)

Great photo...'Ghost' is also my favorite. I just planted another a few days ago.

Brenda~

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Nice to see a good mature Ghost. I bought one last year from a nursery that specialises in shade plants, they are selling many of the more unusual ferns, some new to here. They get their spore from a specialist grower. It is still tiny, only one small stem so it will be some time before I have a large specimen!

I like the Cypripedium too! They cost the earth here, is it Ulla Silkens? 28, that's $49.

Southern, CA(Zone 8b)

Nice fern, I like the shape of the leaves.
Thanks for sharing the pic.

Central, WI(Zone 4a)

After seeing a few Ghosts,,,I will be getting one this year,,,just have to decide which one,,,,could be trouble.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Yeah....forget the ferns...where DID you get the pink lady's slippers???

Central, WI(Zone 4a)

I also think those are gorgeous.

West Central, WI(Zone 4a)

Most places that list Lady Slippers for sale want about $100 each. Because it is illegal to remove them from their habitat unless it is a rescue, they are supposedly nursery grown and very picky about their ph and other living conditions.

I sure would love to have a few....pink or yellow.....they are amazing.

Marie

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

You are correct...they want a special soil and they only grow in that soil...if they are moved they may survive for awhile but not for long.

West Central, WI(Zone 4a)

Apparently one variety of yellow lady's slipper must have a ph of 4.5......no variation. As much as I love them.....I would hate to kill one out of ignorance.

Nashville, TN(Zone 6b)

Your Ghost Fern is beautiful. I don't remember seeing that one before.

Central, WI(Zone 4a)

Wow,,,,never knew that about Lady's slippers,,,goess there won't be any around my house for awhile

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 4b)

Yes, it is a shame when people move Lady slippers because they so rarely survive. As much as they cost I am sure the people that buy them take very good care of them. I would love one, but just don't have the right conditions to grow them.

I got my first ghost last summer I think I need another this summer.

Central, WI(Zone 4a)

Pauline,

I agree, people dig them up and plant them in their own soil,,,not gonna work. As you said, they need certain growing conditions. Very sad. If people would just realize that if they left them alone, they could go look at them anytime they wanted to. I haven't checked into growing conditions really thoroughly yet,,but would Love to have some.

Kelly

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

They need, besides a pine oak forest, a certain fungi in the soil so they may survive a few years without this, but ultimately will not survive. their roots grow wide and in the top layer of pine bark dust...very difficult unless you have all these requirements.

Blyth, ON(Zone 5b)

Thought I'd jump in here for a change instead of just "lurking" :-)

I actually bought (ouch!) my first Yellow Lady Slipper last spring. I don't exactly have ideal conditions for it to start with - a lot of root competition in my woodland garden - and then we had a season of drought with severe watering restrictions. I thought I'd lost my lady for sure! But...this year she came back up for me. No blooms yet, and she may not bloom with the stress she was placed under last year, but she's back.

The point of my story? I'm in zone 5b, with less than ideal conditions normally and severely adverse conditions last season after I purchased the plant, yet it didn't die. Take a chance and buy one if you really, really want one of these beauties - it might just work for you.

--Ginny

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Well try to find an old pine stump with decayed wood and put it all around it and maybe even spray it with messenger. Just baby it. Good Luck...I know they are very tempting to purchase.

Lexington, VA(Zone 6a)

Sorry I haven't been back after posting my favorite Fern, we've been way too busy - hopefully now I'll have a chance to spend a little time here!

levilyla, the Showy Ladyslipper in the photo is a plant we were fortunate enough to pick up while in Michigan 3-4 yrs ago. We have a favorite little nursery that we visit every year and if we're fortunate enough, they occasionally have some wonderful gems that they are selling from plant rescues where developers are chewing up the land. One year we found this ladyslipper among some of the other poor pathetic wildflowers they were selling. Obviously no one else had recognized it for what it was and we grabbed it and brought it back home with us. It is planted in our "good" old red clay soil and is happy and thriving in its new home. This year we have 11 blooms!

FYI, the Yellow Ladyslippers are some of the easiest to grow in a normal garden situation. I had purchased one about 10 yrs ago from the annual sale at New England Flower Society and moved it to Virginia with me. It has continued to grow and multiply in the garden. The ladyslippers that need the special soil relationship are a different species and as stated above should never be removed from the wild. Years ago when I had little gardening experience, I transplanted one from the woodlands behind my home in Maine and although it bloomed the first year after transplanting, over the next few years it slowly withered away :( After that, I learned that I just needed to walk a little farther to enjoy them in their natural setting.

For anyone looking for the Ghost Fern, another Fern that is sometimes more readily available and very similar is Athyrium 'Branford Beauty'. Although the foliage isn't quite as gray as 'Ghost', it's still a real "beauty" and from a distance hard to distinguish the difference between the two of them. I'll try to get a picture of it in the gardens this week and post it so you can see the similarities.
Debbie

Perkasie, PA(Zone 6b)

Garden Geek says s/he needs to choose among Ghost ferns. Hate to be ignorant, but is there more than one kind???

Lexington, VA(Zone 6a)

I'm not sure what GG was referring to - possibly just that she wanted to choose from one of the Athyriums? http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/adv_search.php?searcher%5Bcommon%5D=&searcher%5Bfamily%5D=&searcher%5Bgenus%5D=Athyrium&searcher%5Bspecies%5D=&searcher%5Bcultivar%5D=&searcher%5Bhybridizer%5D=&search_prefs%5Bblank_cultivar%5D=&search_prefs%5Bsort_by%5D=rating&images_prefs=both&Search=Search 'Ghost' Fern is a cross of the popular Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum var. pictum http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/365/) and Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/1526/)

Sheesh, two years later and I still haven't posted a picture to show the similarities of 'Ghost' and 'Branford Beauty'! Although their foliage isn't quite as striking right now as it is in early spring, I'll see what I can do to get a picture and post.

Brunswick, MD(Zone 6b)

Here's my ghost fern. I planted it last year and it really took off this year. I think they're gorgeous and definetly one of my favs!

Thumbnail by miatablu
Brunswick, MD(Zone 6b)

This Lady fern is another favorite of mine. I bought it 2 years ago in the rescue section of a nursery along with the Japenese Painted fern that it towers over now. Barely a few frizzled fronds fronds showing. This year, wow! Growth spurt! Didn't know they would get so big. I took this picture June 3rd and it's grown about another foot since then. It's getting bigger than my Ostrich ferns which I had hoped by now would have been larger and fuller. I've got to move the painted fern, but I didn't get to it in the spring, so I will have to wait till fall.

Thumbnail by miatablu
Lexington, VA(Zone 6a)

miatablu, I remember when you were looking for Ghost Fern last year - looks like it's very happy in its new home :) Your Lady Fern looks like 'Lady in Red'? Another beauty! There's another new Japanese Painted Fern - 'Regal Red' http://www.northcreeknurseries.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/plants.plantDetail/plant_id/472/index.htm. I don't have it planted in the gardens yet but the foliage is really pretty. Can't wait to see what it looks like in the spring!

Finally grabbed a photo of 'Branford Beauty' - as suspected the foliage isn't as striking as it was earlier in the year. Plus the darned flash went off on the camera and "washed" out the color of the foliage. It's really more silver than it appears in this photo. When it first sends up fronds, you basically can't tell any difference between the foliage of BB and Ghost.

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Alpena, MI(Zone 4b)

Does anyone here know if I can safely divide my ghost fern?

Lexington, VA(Zone 6a)

jugglerguy, if your Ghost Fern has multiple crowns then you can "safely" divide them. Usually the best time to do it is in the fall after the first frost or early in the spring when the small fronds are just beginning to unfurl. Just make sure you have a new spot ready for the divisions or a pot to grow them on in - you'll need to plant them ASAP to prevent the tiny roots from drying out. Dig around the plant to get as much of the root system as you can - then gently ease the crowns apart and plant the new divisions. Sometimes the crowns are a little tough to break apart, but as long as you get enough roots with each division and give them plenty of water through the transition period they should be fine. Just remember not to fertilize them if you divide in the fall - at this point all you're trying to do is grow roots and fertilizer will promote tender new growth which will be killed by the frosts. Good luck!

Alpena, MI(Zone 4b)

Thanks rcn. I've divided lots of plants in the past, just never a fern. Sounds pretty straight forward. I'll give it a try this fall.


Perkasie, PA(Zone 6b)

All these ghost ferns are just lovely. The ones I have seen at nurseries never look very colorful. I wonder if that has to do with the seasons they ar for sale or how they are grown? Anyhow, I'm absolutely going to add some to my growing fern [haha] collection.

I'm sending a pic of my favorite type" Brilliance Autumn fern. Sort of washed out at this point, but I love it in Spring and Fall.

Thumbnail by sissystars
Perkasie, PA(Zone 6b)

By the way, I have 2 sets of what were labeled as 'Japanese Painted Fern.' But, having looked at the Plant Files, I realize there are several varieties. Can anyone tell what mine are?

First set (new), here

Thumbnail by sissystars
Perkasie, PA(Zone 6b)

2nd set (older ones)

Thumbnail by sissystars
Lexington, VA(Zone 6a)

SS, their best color is in spring when they really do have a 'ghostly' appearance. Just like my picture of 'Branford Beauty' above, which is very similar to 'Ghost', their foliage just isn't as striking once the heat kicks in. Very healthy 'Brilliance' you've got there! For some reason the Autumn Ferns don't like our soil. Picked up a huge gallon last fall to try it one more time but it's still in the pot because I haven't found "just" the right spot yet :)

jugglerguy, same here, divided lots of perennials but for some reason I'm always a little anxious about Ferns - they just look so darned delicate! Be sure to let us know how you make out dividing your Ghost Fern.

Lexington, VA(Zone 6a)

Hard to say, the first set looks as if there is a tag behind the plant on the left? I've always thought all of the Jap Painted Ferns looked pretty similar although I will say that 'Pewter Lace' http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/100509/ is much more silver in the gardens and is a real standout! 'Burgundy Lace' http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/64809/ or 'Ursula's Red' http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/65335/ are described as having more pronounced red mid-veins, which yours appears to have, but heck... even some of my plain old Jap Painted look like that with different light conditions, so hard to say what those in your second pic are - sorry :(

Perkasie, PA(Zone 6b)

What a dope I am. Yes, I planted the tags with the new ones! They just say 'Japanese Painted Fern.' I think all 6 must be the same variety; the difference is probably age and/or location.

rcn48: Don't ask me why the Autumn ferns should be happy: our soil is horrid clay (though I emend, I emend) and I think they are probably getting more sun than is recommended. But, isn't that the joy of gardening: one never knows what will hapen? :-)

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