Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Ghost Fern
Athyrium 'Ghost'

Family: Dryopteridaceae
Genus: Athyrium (uh-THEE-ree-um) (Info)
Cultivar: Ghost

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20 members have or want this plant for trade.

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18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From spores

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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By daylily970
Thumbnail #1 of Athyrium  by daylily970

By Kell
Thumbnail #2 of Athyrium  by Kell

By Kell
Thumbnail #3 of Athyrium  by Kell

By gregr18
Thumbnail #4 of Athyrium  by gregr18

By mgarr
Thumbnail #5 of Athyrium  by mgarr

By Snowrose
Thumbnail #6 of Athyrium  by Snowrose

By gregr18
Thumbnail #7 of Athyrium  by gregr18

There are a total of 19 photos.
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2 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive gregr18 On Jun 4, 2007, gregr18 from Bridgewater, MA (Zone 6b) wrote:

By growing these ferns in the sun, I've managed to keep their color a very light silvery/green. When in the shade, they seem to glow and attract a lot of admirers. They pair nicely with a False Solomon's Seal that usually grows into them, but is a bit stunted for some reason this year.

Positive Snowrose On May 18, 2007, Snowrose from Frederick, MD (Zone 6b) wrote:

"Ghost Fern" is a garden hybrid of two deciduous ferns, the popular Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum var 'Pictum'), crossed with a Lady Fern (A. filix-femina). The breeder was Nancy Swell of Virginia.

Its upright triangular fronds have bluish to maroon midribs. The overall appearance is of such a light silvery grey-green that naming it 'Ghost Fern' was inspired. The silveriness is most stunning with new spring growth, hardening to blue-green in summer.

It has such a thick rhizome system that once established it can tolerate a surprising degree of dryness, though it cannot abid much sunlight, & moist well-draining soil is best especially when it is getting started.

As a sterile hybrid, it does not produce spoors but is easily propogated by division in spring. Like the Japanese Painted Fern itself, the Ghost Fern can spread to several feet after many years, & will eventually need to be dug up & divided unless there's plenty of room for it to take over.

At one to two to feet height, it is a good choice for beneath tall woody shrubs, & mixes well with large hostas. It is best planted with something with dark green leaves to heighten the impact of its ghostly paleness.

Though it will grow well in fairly deep shade, it has its best color with a touch of dappled sun.

Neutral Terry On Apr 21, 2004, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

A hybrid fern (Athyrium niponicum var. pictum x Athyrium filix-femina) noted for its silvery foliage set off by maroon or burgundy midribs. Coloration may fade to gray/green with the onset of high summer temperatures.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Juneau, Alaska
Grand Junction, Colorado
Yulee, Florida
Atlanta, Georgia
Augusta, Georgia
Cumming, Georgia
Marietta, Georgia
Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Alpena, Michigan
Bay City, Michigan
Fenton, Michigan
Saint Paul, Minnesota (2 reports)
Bronx, New York
Mahopac, New York
Southold, New York
Union Springs, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Morehead City, North Carolina
Weaverville, North Carolina
Cleveland, Ohio
Glouster, Ohio
Richfield, Ohio
Williamsburg, Ohio
Portland, Oregon
Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania
Norristown, Pennsylvania
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania (2 reports)
Conway, South Carolina
Okatie, South Carolina
Knoxville, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee
Mount Juliet, Tennessee
Leesburg, Virginia
Langley, Washington

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