Athyrium Species, Lady Fern

Athyrium filix-femina

Family: Athyriaceae
Genus: Athyrium (uh-THEE-ree-um) (Info)
Species: filix-femina (FY-liks fem-in-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Aspidium filix-femina
Synonym:Polypodium filix-femina
Synonym:Tectaria filix-femina
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Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Partial to Full Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

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

Seed Collecting:

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Auburn, Alabama

Gadsden, Alabama

Pelham, Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Juneau, Alaska

Centerbrook, Connecticut

Cordele, Georgia

Chicago, Illinois

Evanston, Illinois

Plainfield, Illinois

Washington, Illinois

Hobart, Indiana

Jeffersonville, Indiana

Benton, Kentucky

Hebron, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Mc Dowell, Kentucky

Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Lexington, Massachusetts

Owosso, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lincoln, Nebraska

Morristown, New Jersey

Whitehouse Station, New Jersey

Brooklyn, New York

Fishkill, New York

Ithaca, New York

Syracuse, New York

Pittsboro, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio

Coshocton, Ohio

Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

Dublin, Ohio

Portland, Oregon

South Beach, Oregon

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Leola, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Conway, South Carolina

Arlington, Tennessee

Leesburg, Virginia

Lexington, Virginia

Newport News, Virginia

Battle Ground, Washington

Cherry Grove, Washington

Dollar Corner, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Lewisville, Washington

Meadow Glade, Washington

Venersborg, Washington

Muscoda, Wisconsin

Sheridan, Wyoming

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 19, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

An easy fern here that's commonly available in commerce. Elegant, deciduous, forming slowly spreading clumps that are easily divided. Native here, and commonly spreads by spores where happy. I often see ratty foliage where something eats it (?snails or insects?)


On Feb 3, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This could be the most commonly sold fern at garden centers in the Midwest and East of the USA. It is reliable and is the "typical" kind of fern with bipinnate fronds. It has very soft, light weight fronds that bear the sori, the spore holding structures, under the leaflets, looking like brown curved or horseshoe-shaped forms. The planted clump slowly expands to become a spreading colony.


On Feb 21, 2012, beanboy83 from Battle Ground, WA wrote:

Elegant, reliable fern that handles wet, boggy, hard clay conditions well. They look superb when back-lit. In areas around my home these reach 4 feet tall or more.


On Aug 10, 2009, Val1020 from Syracuse, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

I originally bought this plant for a garden in the shade of an old maple tree. It did marginally well, returning each year. We lost the tree in a storm, but I didnt transplant the fern. Each year since then the fern, now growing in full sun, has multiplied. This year I transplanted some from a spot in the garden among the cosmos to a shady spot. Its doing OK but the plant in the sun is doing much better!


On Aug 8, 2009, Xenomorf from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Not an evergreen, this ferns' fronds form a vase-shaped, circular cluster. It grows to about 3 ft. tall by 8" wide in shaded areas along springs and streams in rich soil at about 7000-9500 ft elevation in Arizona.


On Jul 29, 2009, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

There are many other fern species that will tolerate drier conditions.

Lady fern is a slow speader in the short rhizome fern type. Grows to about 2 feet in height, 1 feet if stressed.


On Dec 2, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Lady fern Athyrium filix-femina is native to Texas and other States.


On Aug 30, 2005, sanity101 from Dublin, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

One of the better ferns for this area, has attractive lacy foliage, and tall, arched habit. Does need to be well-watered in order to thrive.


On Jul 18, 2005, sterhill from Atlanta, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Atlanta - will take quite a bit of sun and spreads well. I don't water them very much. These ferns are shallow rooted and easily moved or divided. Best done in early spring before they get too big though. I have them with lilies growing through them. Very pretty ferns!


On Nov 30, 2004, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

One of the most beautiful wild ferns in our area. It can be found along shady creek banks or along sunny roadsides.

I transplanted some to a shady flowerbed where my Mom could get nothing to grow for years. This was over 30 years ago, and they are still in that flowerbed and look lovely to this day. They are thick and lush...partially because the run-off from the air conditioning unit keeps the ground quite moist there.

Just a wonderful all around hardy fern that settles in and makes itself at home without becoming invasive.


On Nov 3, 2004, KennethJoerg wrote:

One of the easiest ferns to grow. Extremely hardy and capable of handling quite a bit of sun, even moderate draught. Should it become too dry, it will die back but return next year. Very handsome and a very tough plant.


On Oct 20, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

I have used lady fern in several locations around my backyard, the largest as a specimen that does wonderfully in the rocks surrounding our pond.

This fern will take full sun here in zone 5, as long as there is adequate moisture, and should grow quickly over the course of several years. It requires virtually no care once established. I simply cut down the dead fronds in late fall and look for them to spring to life next May. Of all the ferns cultivars I have, lady fern is perhaps the most enjoyable.


On Aug 6, 2003, SueP64 from Centerbrook, CT wrote:

Grows wild in my area. Does well in heavy soils. Tolerates full sun. Self sows readily and spreads by rhizome. Grows to full size quickly. Mixes well with hosta.


On Aug 31, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Easily grown in rich, medium wet, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. Tolerates drier soils than many other ferns. Will tolerate full sun, however, only if soil is kept constantly moist. Shelter from wind to protect fronds from breaking. Divide clumps in spring every few years to reposition crowns at the soil level.