Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Dixie Wood Fern
Dryopteris x australis

Family: Dryopteridaceae
Genus: Dryopteris (dry-OP-ter-iss) (Info)
Species: x australis (aw-STRAL-is) (Info)

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

6 members have or want this plant for trade.


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

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)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

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 shimer
Thumbnail #1 of Dryopteris x australis by shimer

By shimer
Thumbnail #2 of Dryopteris x australis by shimer

By go2glenn
Thumbnail #3 of Dryopteris x australis by go2glenn

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Thumbnail #4 of Dryopteris x australis by sladeofsky


5 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral coriaceous On May 24, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Dramatic in its impact, due to its size and upright habit. The largest fern native to eastern North America, it can reach close to 5' where happiest. Theodore Kein Plant Award winner for 2010.

Easy, vigorous, and adaptable, best in moist soil and light shade. A wetland plant in the wild, it needs regular moisture and protection from afternoon sun. Easily propagated by division of the short branching rhizome.

This rare fern is a naturally occurring hybrid between D. celsa and D. ludoviciana. It is sterile, and occurs in widely separated stations in the southeastern US from Louisiana to Virginia.

Hardy to Z5. Evergreen to semi-evergreen in Z6 and south.

Positive mgurley On May 10, 2012, mgurley from Charlotte, NC wrote:

A large (36-60") evergreen (in zone 7, anyway), upright fern. One of the fastest growing large ferns I have ever grown. Forms nice, large clumps. Went from a one gallon plant to 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide in less than two years. One of my absolute favorites, I would highly recommend it.

Positive go2glenn On Oct 9, 2006, go2glenn from Suwanee, GA (Zone 7a) wrote:

It took quite a while to identify this fern, which I purchased from the clearance table a WalMart (it was just about dead). With help of the owner of Fern Ridge Farms, Canton, GA, I discovered I had purchased a Dryoteris x australis (sterile). It is quite a large, striking fern which has been a great addition to my garden. G

Positive shimer On Jul 27, 2005, shimer from Marietta, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I love this plant! I picked it up this spring while still in fiddlehead stage for $5 from Home Depot (of all places--my expections were modest) and have been totally delighted. I planted it at the rear of our property near the top of a slope together with Heuchera 'Chocolate Veil' in a wooded area visible from the living room whenever we look at the bird feeders closer in. In no time, it shot up several fronds 4' tall which are graceful in appearance and breath-taking as it catches the dappled afternoon sunlight. Just captivating. Quoting John T. Mickel in "Ferns for American Gardens": " Dyopteris x australis is one of the great ferns for the garden. It is 4 feet to 5 feet tall, fairly slender, and a lustrous dark green...This sterile hybrid is found in scattered populations from Louisiana to Virginia, but is fully hardy and a strong grower in New York". I plan to put more of these in--it's just so lovely.

Positive Shadyfolks On Aug 31, 2004, Shadyfolks from Chesterland, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

Beautiful fern here in zone 5. Dies back in fall.

Neutral sarah19 On Jun 8, 2004, sarah19 from Sadieville, KY wrote:

This fern has done very well for me where I live in central KY. In fact, it adapted more readily and grew quicker than any other fern I have planted. It does well with very little attention.

Positive henryr10 On May 2, 2004, henryr10 from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

A VERY upright fern.
Evergreen to Zone 7.
Semi-evergreen in rest of range.
Moist soil will give best results but IS drought tolerant when established.


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

Auburn, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Conway, Arkansas
Fayetteville, Arkansas
Jacksonville, Florida
Atlanta, Georgia
Augusta, Georgia
Marietta, Georgia
Toccoa, Georgia
Crestwood, Kentucky
Sadieville, Kentucky
Taylorsville, Kentucky
Charlotte, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Grantham, Pennsylvania
Memphis, Tennessee
Springfield, Virginia

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