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Ferns grown on our earth 400 million years ago, as did the primeval redwood. They are among the living fossils that have survived the evolution of the earth. In the history of evolution they are the transition from flowering plants to the flowering plants of modern times. Even today, they form an independent group of plants with many species. Many of these ferns have conquered a place in our gardens. Among the most popular species for gardening is the fern with its light green, feathered fronds.
The shady to partially shaded areas of the garden are the habitat of the ferns or forest fern 'Athyrium filix-femina'. The plant loves moist humus soil under woody plants. Woods and grasses are the ideal neighborhood for the female fern. Shady squares of the garden shine expressively and full of vitality. Even stony brook and pond edges transform 'Athyrium filix-femina' into a natural-looking retreat, which offers shelter to many animals. A flooding of stony brook and pond edges harms the fern. Again, the plant is grateful for shade or partial shade.
Towards winter, the fronds of the forest fern fall off. The rhizome overwinters under a leafy or mulch layer. From autumn, the fronds are already forming for the coming year. Rolled up, they wait for the new shootout. In the spring it is so far. The fascinating spectacle of the shoot begins. The rolled-up fronds, protected by spreader shells, push out of the ground and unroll slowly and steadily. A picturesque spectacle, with the actors somewhat reminiscent of a violin head.
Exquisite plant partners of the forest fern 'Athyrium filix-femina' are large-flowered leaf perennials such as the leaf, the sheet or the Funkie. Expressive in the visual effect are also flowering perennials such as silver candle, elven flower or forest goat beard. Onion plants also go well with the ferns. Early blooming species such as snowflakes, daffodils or snowdrops. Summer bloomers such as the Turks and the Turks or the autumn-flowering species such as autumnal timbers, autumn cyclamen or autumn crocus.
Characteristics of the female fern, forest fern 'Athyrium filix-femina'
- German: Forest - Lady Fern - Common Forest Fern - Lady Fern
- Botanical: Athyrium flilix-femina
- Leaf: pinnate, puberulous, oblong, narrow, 2- to 3-pinnate, light green fronds on black-brown stems.
- Leaf decoration: yes
- Soil: loamy sandy, rich in humus, fresh. Prefers partial shady locations, but also gets along with the sun. Likes fresh, well-drained and lime-poor soils, but also undemanding to other soil.
- Perfume: 0
- Properties: 'Athyrium flilix-femina' is particularly suitable for greening shady locations. Lush green even in low-light locations, extremely easy to clean
- Family: Woodsiacea
- Fruit: spores
- Autumn coloring: yes
- Foliage: deciduous
- Foliage color: light green
- Plant requirements: 3 to 5 plants per square meter
- Planting distance: 40 to 60 centimeters
- Habitat: Partial shade to shade
- Use: woody edge, woody, group planting in partial shade to shade
- Hardiness: extremely hardy to minus 40° Celsius
- Growth: arched, spreading, horstbildend, overhanging, about 70 centimeters high. In very bright locations only about 50 centimeters high.
- Growth width: 40 - 60 centimeters
- Growth height: 40 to 90 centimeters
- Special features: Very adaptable and robust. At suitable locations only low care needs. Unpretentious, an eye-catcher in shady garden areas or by the water
The female or forest fern loves a humus-rich, loose soil. The substrate should be permeable. The rhizomes grow upwards over time. The planting hole for the fern should be as deep as the plant pot. After planting, press the fern well and water. A mulch or deciduous layer over the newly planted plant is recommended.
In the shade and shade under trees and trees, in joints and columns, in rockeries and in front of walls feels the 'Athyrium filix-femina' well. If the fern is to grow in sufficiently large gaps, simply fill in good, humus soil in the cracks and water well. After setting the earth, the fern is placed in the columns.
The forest or lady fern 'Athyrium filix-femina' does not make any great demands on the care. If the selected location is shady to partially shaded, moist to very humid, rich in humus and sour, this fern feels visibly well. The soil should not dry out. Water in dry periods regularly. Decisive for the good growth and prosperity is a fertile, humus soil. If this is guaranteed, the fern can stop at its location for more than 10 years.
Spring is the best time for fertilization.Recommended is the incorporation of compost and organic fertilizer, such as horn shavings. Mineral fertilizer should not be used.
The female fern should not be cut. He would not drive out after a cut.
The female fern 'Athyrium filix-femina' can easily be multiplied by dividing the rhizome. Best time for an increase are spring and fall.
In slightly permeable, moist and partially shaded locations, the ferns usually need no winter protection. As in the forest, the rhizomes should be covered by a layer of leaves. This is sufficient as protection in normal winters.
Important: Threatening dry damage creates the remedy of casting the ferns on a frost-free day.
Tip: The deciduous forest ladybug in plant partnership with the worm fern is a real eye-catcher in the shade bed.
Location and care as a container plant
On shady terraces and balconies, the fern also feels good. A precondition is also the use of humus rich soil in container planting. Depending on the temperature, the fern needs enough water.
Location and care as a houseplant
The ideal location for the lady fern is a place in the winter garden or in a flower window in east or west position. Regular spraying with lime-free water has proven itself against dry air. Rainwater is very suitable for spraying and pouring. The casting of the fern as a houseplant requires empathy, because the root ball needs even moisture. Waterlogging damages the plant as well as dryness. Diving has proven itself. The pot with the root ball is dipped into a bucket filled with water until no more air bubbles rise from the earth. Then drain the pot well and make sure that no water jams in the plant pot.
As a houseplant, the ferns require fertilizer during the growing season. Enough is fertilization with normal flower fertilizer. However, the dose should be only half as high as indicated on the package.
Diseases & pests
Diseases or pests do not play a major role in the cultivation in the room for the forest or lady fern. Nursing mistakes such as wrongly selected location, too little or too much casting make the 'Athyrium filix-femina' much more difficult. Mourning gnats, spider mites or scale insects then easily settle on the fern, which is weakened by foster care. The antidote to combat the infestation can be easily produced yourself. Make a mixture of one tablespoon of spirit and one tablespoon of soft soap to one liter of water and spray the fern well. In the case of an infestation with black-headed mosquitoes, setting up yellow boards is helpful.
Frequently asked question
The lady fern in my garden has become very tall and needs a lot of space. Can I cut it back?
A pruning of the fronds means that the fern is no longer expelling in this growth period. The look of this location is destroyed. It is better to share the rhizome. The fern is smaller. In other shady or partially shaded locations, the newly-harvested ferns quickly turn into beautiful perennials. Another dark garden corner will bloom in beautiful light thanks to the bright green fronds.