Hardy Ferns

All the plants under this heading are guaranteed to be cold hardy, the majority of the species we have are from the Northern Hemisphere. In general most ferns do best in a site out of too much wind and most will tolerate some degree of sun though they do best in semi shaded areas. If planted in full sun the colours will bleach out giving more yellowy fronds, also certain species will enjoy lots of sun if they are kept moist enough.

Attention should be given to establishing young plants particularly if they are to be grown in a very dry spot, most Dryopteris species will be fine once established as are some of the Polystichum species. If the soil is very dry mixing in some cheap compost or adding some leaf mould or even old compost from hanging baskets will help to retain moisture and therefore give the plant a better chance of survival.

Adiantum aleuticum

Aleutian maidenhair

Locality: North West USA / Japan     Height: 30-60cm (12-24in)
Product size: 9 cm     Product price: £9.00

We usually have plants of A.pedatum for sale but hopefully this year we should have a reasonable amount of stock of this species instead. It is quite similar to A.pedatum also with a large pedate leaf form held high on thin black stems; all of these larger species are very elegant as the new fronds unfurl in the spring. The pinnules of A.aleuticum are a light to mid green and are generally larger all round which gives a more lush appearance.

The plant needs to be sited out of the wind in an area of shade or dappled shade in a nice deep soil with plenty of added leaf mould for good results and should also be allowed plenty of space to develop fully.

Adiantum aleuticum 'Subpumilum'

Dwarf maidenhair

Locality: North West USA     Height: 7-15cm (3-6in)
Product size: 9 cm     Product price: £9.00

This is a dwarf form of the first species described; it has a miniature leaf just a few inches across with pinnules packed tightly together. It is a beautiful form which lends itself well to trough culture or for treatment as an Alpine with flowering plants that are on the same scale.

The ‘Subpumilum’ form is very rare in the wild where it grows in the same general areas as the larger variations along the west coast of North America. I wouldn’t say it was common in cultivation either but I’m hoping that we should have a larger number than ever before available for sale this season.

Adiantum venustum

Himalayan maidenhair

Locality: India / Canada     Height: 22-38cm (9-15in)
Product size: 9 cm     Product price: £10.00

The fresh spring growth of this fern is a lovely light green, sometimes flushed with a little pink which will come up over the top of the previous years growth. A relatively low growing species A.venustum produces a shallow rhizome, which spreads nicely to give good ground cover. In time the plant can cover quite a large area with its light green fronds, which darken with age. In contrast to A.aleuticum it has arching, triangular tri-pinnate fronds.

Asplenium scolopendrium

Harts tongue fern

Locality: Europe / British Isles     Height: 45-60cm (18-24in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.00

Fronds bright glossy green and strap shaped which are produced almost vertically. Gradually increasing to form an impressive clump with very little effort on the part of the grower, as with other evergreen ferns a little tidying in the spring is all that is required. We normally defoliate the plant totally just before the new growth starts to appear in the spring because with large specimens trying to cut out the old growth without taking any new is hard and time consuming work.

Easily grown on a limey soil but will also adapt to acid conditions, though growth may not be as lush. This must be one of the most familiar British native ferns other than the dreaded bracken.

Asplenium scolopendrium ‘Crispum’

Locality: British Native     Height: 30-60cm (12-24in)
Product size: 9 cm     Product price: £10.00

There are many different cultivars of A.scolopendrium the majority of which are no longer available. This reasonably rare form is one of my particular favourites, the edges of the frond have a fabulous waving which just gets better and better as the plant matures. Crispum forms are on the whole sterile so propagation by division is the easiest way though it can also be done from leaf bases unfortunately we haven’t quite got our heads round that one yet! There are many other forms that are well worth searching out although some can be very hard to find and have the potential to be quite expensive.

Asplenium scolopendrium ‘Cristatum’

Locality: British Native     Height: 38cm (15in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.00

We generally keep good stocks of this variation, the main body of the frond is the same as the regular plant but as the name suggests the tip of the frond is crested. Each plant is totally individual so they mainly sell from shows where people can see them and choose their favourite. This gives a totally different look to any garden and in a mixed fern bed you could quite easily have four or five different variations of this versatile fern.

Asplenium scolopendrium ‘Fimbriatum’

Locality: British Native     Height: 30cm (12in)
Product size: 9 cm     Product price: £8.00

This variation of the Harts tongue is usually one of our best sellers and as with the species is very easy to grow. Pretty much pop him in the ground and let him get on with it, we tidy once a year and that’s about it. The fronds are narrower than with the standard form and the edges are deeply serrated which makes for yet another interesting variation, plus as with all the other Harts tongues this one is evergreen.

Asplenium trichomanes

Maidenhair spleenwort

Locality: British native     Height: 7-20cm (3-18in)
Product size: 9 cm     Product price: £7.00

A native fern which is quite common in western England and throughout Wales, normally found growing in walls. This is a nice smaller species which would suit troughs or could even be transferred to small holes in brickwork or a rockery. It has narrow pinnate fronds where the pinnae are almost circular. As with Adiantum species the rachis of A.trichomanes is black which is a nice contrast with the mid green pinnae.

It grows well on the dryer side so in well drained gritty compost in a shaded position although in the wild it is often found growing in full sun with little or no soil at all. The common name of this fern indicates its similarity to the Maidenhair fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris) but when seen together there is very little chance of making that mistake.

Athyrium filix-femina

Lady fern

Locality: British native     Height: 1-1.5m (3-5ft)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

As they do best with quite a lot of moisture Athyrium species are well suited for planting along sheltered stream or pond edges and will form a lovely shuttlecock of fresh green in the spring. This is the standard species which has long light green tripinnate fronds produced in early spring; this plant can get quite large in the right conditions, the next few plants are smaller finer variations of the same species but some can look radically different. Unfussy of soil type it will grow equally well on acid or alkaline.

Athyrium f.f. var angustatum forma Rubellum

Lady in Red

Locality:     Height: 60cm (24in)
Product size: 9 cm     Product price: £15.00

The name ‘Lady in Red’ refers to the very strong red colour of the frond stems (rachis and stipe). We have occasionally had red stemmed variations pop in up in spore crops that we’ve done over the years but this American introduction is quite exceptional.

It is just as easy to grow as the standard species as long as it has plenty of moisture; you could try planting in amongst a mixed bed of Hosta to add a different form with a little colour where it should do well as they like the same conditions.

Athyrium filix-femina ‘Plumosum Axminster’

Plumose Lady Fern

Locality:     Height: 60cm (24in)
Product size: 9 cm     Product price: £10.00

As the name suggests this is a plumose form of the native Lady fern, the fronds are much more divided than usual giving a much finer more elegant shape. It is very similar to the Athyrium Plumosum that has been much admired on out displays over the last few years; these plants are of North American origin rather than our own sporelings which is handy because as some people will know it can take us ages to propagate our own. We will only have a small amount of this cracking plant available this season.

Athyrium x `Ghost`

Locality:     Height: 75cm (30in)
Product size: 9 cm     Product price: £10.00

This plant is yet another American introduction and we have been growing them for the last three or four years. Originally found in a North American garden ‘Ghost’ is a natural hybrid between Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’ and Athyrium filix-femina; so the height of nearly three feet and a spread or around two to three comes from the A.filix-femina but it produces well coloured fronds of a light greyish/green with a little pinkish red in the centres of the pinnae, this clearly comes from the other half of the parentage. The colours of ‘Ghost’ are much more subtle than the A.niponicum cultivars but no less beautiful.

He’ll grow best in a good soil with plenty of leaf mould or compost added, the size coupled with the cracking colour give this fern the very apt name of the Ghost. It is also good for large pots (as the plant is a very strong grower) in a cool shady well sheltered corner. Personally I think this plant deserves to be much more widely grown as for my money it is a real stunner.

Athyrium niponicum `Burgundy Lace`

Locality:     Height:
Product size: 9 cm     Product price: £15.00

Here we have a reasonably new cultivar which does exactly as the name suggests and produces fronds with some very strong deep Burgundy colours throughout the centres of the frond, when they are fresh the whole frond can be flushed with colour. Our plants are shipped directly from the USA as small plugs and so are possibly more labour intensive and therefore more expensive than those from British wholesalers, also we do our best to produce older plants for sale than some other companies.

Athyrium Ocean’s Fury

Japanese painted fern

Locality: Japan     Height: 9cm
Product size: 9 cm     Product price: £10.00


Athyrium niponicum `Pictum`

Japanese painted fern

Locality: Japan     Height: 30-38cm (12-15in)
Product size: 9 cm     Product price: £10.00

The Japanese painted fern has been always very popular with its striking coloured foliage and with new variations being produced all the time it should continue to be so for some time. It has wide bipinnate lance shaped fronds beautifully coloured silver grey with dark red to maroon midrib.
As with other Athyrium species this fern does best in a moistish site in shade or semi-shade, it is a more prostrate grower rather than a vertical shuttlecock but in time can get to be a good size. It does not produce a visible crown like the Dryopteris or Polystichum but forms a loose clump though never becoming invasive. The next four plants are named forms of the same plant, so they should all attain roughly the same size as the species. The main difference is the colour combinations.

Athyrium niponicum `Ursula's Red`

Locality:     Height:
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £13.00

This is one of the first named A.niponicum cultivars that became widely available but it still produces nice colours maybe not as strong as the ‘Burgundy Lace’ but slightly more subtle. There are photographs around advertising it as a black plant and at vastly inflated prices too; well ours have never produced colours quite that dark but then we’re wondering if the photos may have been doctored……...

Our plants generally send out fronds of a mid greyish green with broad bands of subtle reds through the centres of the frond. It is still a very nice fern for a moist shady area to provide a bit of summer colour.

Athyrium niponicum ‘Wildwood Twist’

Locality:     Height:
Product size: 9 cm     Product price: £15.00

Yet another variation of the Japanese Painted Fern but this one could easily be a totally different species as it comes up with almost creamy coloured fronds with just a tiny amount of subtle pinks. It is nowhere near as dramatically coloured as some of the previous cultivars and is therefore quite a contrast either grown with other colour variations or in a bed of mixed green fern species. Again this fern can look quite stunning grown as a pot specimen and grouped with other plants on a shaded patio.

Athyrium otophorum `Okanum`

Eared lady fern

Locality: Japan     Height: 30-45cm (12-18in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

Elegant bipinnate lance shaped fronds produced in March, carried on a long dark stipe makes this another attractive Japanese fern again with very nice colouration, the first flush of growth is a bright yellowish green with wine red midribs that darken with age, the centre of the pinnae are also dark red. The pinnae are also quite widely spaced along the rachis which gives the plant a more open form than most Athyrium species. This fern prefers a sheltered site in a moistish soil, very nice in a mixed fern border adding good colour and a very striking form.

Blechnum penna-marina

Locality: New Zealand / Australia     Height: 7-22cm (3-9in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

We only occasionally have this species in stock so if you wanted one it would be best to let us know before ordering. It is quite similar to Blechnum spicant but smaller, the new fronds come up tinged pink which mature to a deep glossy green. As with other Blechnum species it produces vertical fertile fronds which are a little longer than the sterile ones. The plant quickly forms a mat on creeping rhizomes and is good for trough or a rockery.

Blechnum spicant

Ladder fern

Locality: British native     Height: 30-45cm (12-18in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £7.00

Sterile fronds are approximately 2.5cm wide, produced in the spring almost horizontally forming a neat rosette. Sporing fronds are produced much later in the year almost vertically from the centre of the plant; these are much longer than the sterile fronds too giving rise to the common name of Ladder fern. These fronds die off quite quickly whereas the sterile fronds remain evergreen. The pinnae are also much thinner and spaced further apart on the fertile fronds. The plant performs best on an acid to neutral soil in a moist to dryer site.

Dryopteris affinis Subsp. affinis `Crispa Gracilis`

Locality: British Native     Height: 22cm (9in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £7.00

A very nice small cultivar of D. affinis with quite short and congested fronds. The pinnae tips are curled upwards and crisped which makes them look pointed. A relatively slow grower it prefers a sheltered site where it will remain green throughout the winter. It is well suited to rockeries or amongst other less vigorous ferns and smaller woodland type plants such as Erythronium dens-canis or any of the Trillium species or some of the less vigorous species of Dicentra. A good fern for the smaller spot that won’t get large and out of hand but be careful he doesn’t get swamped. I planted one in our last garden and then never saw him all summer because of much more vigorous Athyrium species and Erythronium ‘Pagoda’ which grew like cabbages!

Dryopteris affinis Subsp. affinis ‘Cristata’

Cristata the King

Locality:     Height: 90cm (36in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

Occasionally known as king of male ferns a mature specimen of this fern can be very impressive with huge amounts of cresting along the outside edges of the fronds and a large terminal crest too. It is also one of the largest hardy ferns that we sell and definitely one of the easiest to grow. It is reasonably common and therefore readily available but that does not detract from its worth as a cracking garden plant, but you do need quite a large area to appreciate the form.

Dryopteris buschiana

Locality: Japan     Height: 75cm (30in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

D.buschiana is often offered for sale under the synonym D. crassirhizoma; it is one of the most readily available species and should grow well in most positions, it will also take a relatively dry site once established as will a lot of the Dryopteris species. It is another large species and is therefore best planted where it will have plenty of room to develop; possibly to the rear of a border or even standing alone. It produces a large flush of fronds in a loose shuttlecock in early spring and even though the plant is deciduous it can still look surprisingly good until very late in the year.

Dryopteris cycadina

Locality: Japan     Height: 60cm (24in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

With rather simple pinnate fronds of a dark glossy green this is quite different from the last few species; it is easily distinguished from most Dryopteris by the large black scales on the stipe and rachis or frond stem and midrib. When the new growth appears in the spring they are totally covered and look completely different, which if planted with other ferns can be quite striking as most Dryopteris and Polystichum species are covered in scales of varying shades of brown through to rusty reddish colours.

The fronds are produced almost vertically arching towards the tips; it is an easily grown plant which seems unfussy of soil type and once matured is quite striking and will look good either in a mixed border or can be grown as an individual specimen.

D. x complexa `Stableri`

Locality:     Height: 1-1.2m (3-4ft)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

This plant is a hybrid of Dryopteris filix-mas and a Dryopteris affinis subspecies, which can be a little confusing but it makes for a very attractive and tough garden fern. It takes the eventual height from the main parent plants but is much more interesting, it has very long narrow fronds which are nicely crisped and produced almost vertically. It does well in a nice sheltered, shady or semi-shady site and will take dry soil conditions if care is taken to establish the young plants.

Dryopteris dilatata

Broad Buckler fern

Locality: British Native     Height: 1-1.2m (3-4ft)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

The Broad Buckler is quite a commonly found native fern with broadly triangular tripinnate fronds, held on reasonably long stems giving a nice open airy appearance. It appeared in our last garden apparently on its own, though the nearest wild ones must be a good few miles away. There are also a few very attractive cultivars still available, two of which we normally have in stock.

Dryopteris dilatata `Crispa Whiteside`

Locality: British native     Height: 60cm (2ft)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

This is a very nice cultivar, quite similar to the species though more vertical in habit with the main body of the frond neatly crisped. A beautiful light green as the first growths appear in the spring gradually darkening through the season. It will remain green right through until the spring, only losing the fronds to the hardest frosts in the early part of the year. It also has very dark scales all along the stipe which contrasts very nicely with the bright green foliage. It is a very open, elegant fern and definitely one of our best sellers.

Dryopteris dilatata `Lepidota Cristata`

Locality: British native     Height: 60cm (2ft)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

This cultivar much more than `Crispa Whiteside` resembles the original species. The frond is similar but with varying degrees of cresting on the tips of both the pinnae and the frond itself. The main leafy parts of the frond are quite finely divided which looks quite delicate, and gives a nice contrast with ferns of a different form such as Asplenium scolopendrium or even in a mixed border with other shade loving plants.

Dryopteris erythrosora

Autumn fern

Locality: Japan / China / Taiwan     Height: 60cm (2ft)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

With broad glossy bipinnate fronds this is an essential addition to any fern collection, as the new growth is a delicious glossy red, giving a wonderfully surprising contrast with the fresh greens of other species. These intense colours in the spring gradually fade through to bronze and eventually to green.

It also generally has one or two new growths right through the season giving a little colour until quite late in the year. As with other evergreen ferns all that is required is a little tidying up of the old tired fronds in the early spring before the new growth starts to show, usually by this time the old fronds are a nice yellowy colour.

Dryopteris erythrosora var. prolifica

Locality: Japan     Height:
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

Similar to the species but the leafy parts of the pinnae are narrower and slightly more spaced out along the rachis (frond midrib) which gives the plant a more open airy appearance. I have seen this plant sold as a dwarf variation, this is definitely not to be believed as the plant will easily get to the same size as the species. Also the colours of the fresh growth can be just as good as the species.

The main difference is the more open form of the plant which is really only noticeable when you have both plants grown side by side. Also another attractive feature of the plant is that the sporangia which are produced on the undersides of the fronds are a bright red colour which is quite visible as a breeze moves the foliage.

Dryopteris filix-mas `Linearis Polydactyla`

Male fern

Locality: British native     Height: 75cm (30in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

This is an interesting cultivar of filix-mas with both pinnae and fronds crested, pinnae are also narrowed and widely spaced which makes it look quite different to most other ferns. The fronds are quite a dark leathery green; it will also withstand more wind than most ferns making it a handy plant for a more open position, the plant will also take a dryer site as the fronds expire less moisture than a fuller fronded species. The name Polydactyla means `many fingered` which is quite appropriate as when the plant matures the terminal crests can develop many slender finger like branches.

Gymnocarpium dryopteris

Oak fern

Locality: British native     Height: 22-30cm (9-12in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

The Oak fern is locally common in parts of Scotland and northern England and Wales but elsewhere is rare. It is a very small fern at least in comparison to the last species, with light green fronds held at right angles to the stipe. Very thin papery triangular, tripinnate fronds that look very delicate, it rambles around on shallow black rhizomes which will give good ground cover in quite a short time, it also makes for quite easy propagation by division. It prefers a neutral to acid soil. It may look very delicate and tender but it as hardy as any other British native.

Gymnocarpium dryopteris `Plumosum`

Plumose Oak fern

Locality:     Height: 22-30cm (9-12in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

This is another beautiful fern, a more plumose form of the species with all parts of the frond much broader with overlapping pinnae and pinnules. Also very delicate looking but just as hardy as the species also it is quite easy to propagate and will come true from spore. The Gymnocarpium` seem to grow best in a good deep soil with plenty of added leaf mould in a moistish position.

Gymnocarpium oyamense

Locality: East Asia     Height: 15-30cm (6-12in)
Product size: 1.5 Ltr     Product price: £15.00

Being as this is an East Asian species I was originally quite unsure of its hardiness but now having grown it ourselves for five years or more we’re happier to say that it is quite tough. We’ve had one plant outside for the last two winters through minus sevens, when they send up new growth however the fronds are not as large as if they had been protected in a frost free greenhouse.

Anyway that said it remains one of my favourite fern species, it has a very simple form with triangular fronds held at right angles to the stem. When they are produced in early spring they are a light almost blue green, they will still only be available in strictly limited numbers and I would suggest planting them in a good soil with plenty of added leaf mould in a sheltered spot to be sure of keeping him as it will always be a rarity.

Matteuccia struthiopteris

Shuttlecock fern / Ostrich fern

Locality: North America / Europe / Japan     Height: 1-1.5m (36-60in)
Product size: 9cm     Product price: £7.50

This is not native to the British Isles but in certain areas it has become naturalised. Bright green shuttlecocks of sterile fronds are sent up in the spring almost vertically, fertile fronds are produced later in the year. These fertile fronds do not look anything like regular fronds, they could be mistaken for flower spikes but they soon turn brown as the spores develop.

The plant prefers a moist to wet acid to neutral soil where it can reach maximum height and given time they will form a good sized colony. We grew it in our last garden on a neutral stony soil which was much dryer than it should have been and it seemed to grow quite happily though they probably went into premature dormancy much like the Athyrium species if kept too dry. Our plants would only attain a height of about 2ft / 3ft but they still sent out new plants every year colonising the area quite well.

Onoclea sensibilis

Sensitive fern

Locality: North America     Height: 60cm (24in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

The fronds of this fern are triangular pinnate, a lovely light green occasionally with a degree of red edging also some plants have reddish stems. This fern has some similarities with M.struthiopteris in the production of spore. Again sterile fronds are sent up first, then later in the year the fertile fronds appear. The plant is also good for the same position as M.struthiopteris prefering a moist to quite wet site in shade or semi-shade. It runs around on shallow rhizomes which make for easy propagation and also for the easy removal of the plant if it becomes too large for the area.

Phegopteris connectilis

Beech fern

Locality: North America / Europe     Height: 15-38cm (6-15in)
Product size: 9cm     Product price: £8.00

This species produces fronds singly on a shallow creeping rhizome rather than forming a crown, and can in time form good sized clumps. The frond is a nice light green triangular pinnatifid form which is held almost at right angles to the relatively long stipe. The first pair of pinnae face backwards forming a shallow v shape compared to the rest of the pinnae which are held the same as most other ferns. It grows well in a good deep humus rich soil with added leaf mould, preferably neutral to acid. This species is only available in very small numbers for this coming season.

Phegopteris decursive-pinnata

Japanese Beech fern

Locality: Taiwan / Japan / Kashmir     Height: 38cm (15in)
Product size: 9cm     Product price: £8.00

This species is quite different to the native Beech fern but with longer narrower fronds produced almost vertically, also the plant forms quite a tight compact clump whereas the previous one seems to ramble in a more open way. When the new fronds are produced in the spring they are covered in short hairs as they unfurl, the plant eventually starts to send out small plants on the edge of the main clump and can get to quite a good size in time.

We do not always carry stocks of this one as it does not sell in vast numbers. Who knows why that should be; personally I think it’s a nice plant which has an individual look and form quite different from any other ferns that we do. If you wanted one it’ll be best to contact us first.

Polypodium vulgare

Common polypody

Locality: British Native     Height: 38cm (15in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £6.00

This species must surely be one of the toughest ferns I know, before we moved to Stoke Ash and had space to swing a cat or two we have been known to leave this species stuffed under a shelf on a trolley for the entire winter with very little light and only water if and when it rained, in the spring they looked amazingly healthy with such rough treatment.

It has a very basic frond type just simply pinnatifid, quite similar to the native Blechnum though the fronds are wider. Polypodium species produce fronds later in the year than most ferns and are also evergreen, this one if planted in a rockery will grow over the rocks on branching rhizomes, it can be seen in areas of Wales and elsewhere that gets lots of rain growing in the branches of trees.

Polystichum aculeatum

Hard Shield fern

Locality: British Native     Height: 75-90cm (30-36in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

The fronds of this fern make it quite easy to distinguish from P.setiferum as they are a dark glossy green it will however attain the same basic size as P.setiferum and is very easy to grow. It will given time become quite an impressive fern filling a large area with its loose evergreen shuttlecocks.

Polystichum braunii

Locality: North America / Central Europe     Height: 60-90cm (24-36in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

As with most North American species this is another fern which can withstand very cold temperatures. It is quite similar to Polystichum setiferum although a lighter green. The fronds are bipinnate, narrowly lance shaped and leathery with the stipe covered in light brown scales. This species and some of the larger P.setiferum cultivars really need a decent amount of space to develop properly; planted too close to other ferns and you could be in there in a year or two digging him out to transplant somewhere else.

Polystichum makinoi

Locality:     Height:
Product size: 9cm     Product price: £

Availability - later in this year's season

Polystichum munitum

Western Sword fern

Locality: North Western USA     Height: 90cm (36in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

Another large growing evergreen species from North America but this one has simple pinnate fronds. It will do well in any decent soil where it will from a loose shuttlecock of dark green fronds, quite a different form than the more finely divided P.setiferum species and cultivars. Given time and the right situation it can look quite good planted with other species.

Polystichum neolobatum

Locality: Japan     Height: 45cm (18in)
Product size: 9cm     Product price: £15.00

This is without doubt the rarest Polystichum we sell and is also one of my favourites. Once the plant matures it carries large scales up the rachis and stipe (frond midrib and stem) of a strong orangey brown colour. The frond is reasonably narrow and turns a dark glossy green and it can be very impressive when the plant produces a large flush of new growth all unfurling together. The fronds are quite tough and when working in amongst them they can be very prickly. We should have a small amount of young plants for sale early this next season but if doing mail order please check with us before ordering.

Polystichum polyblepharum

Japanese Tassle fern

Locality: Japan / Korea / China     Height: 45-60cm (18-36in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

With broadly arching lance shaped fronds, light green and glossy, darkening with age this is a very nice Polystichum. Mature plants can be very attractive in early spring when the new fronds begin to unfurl. The tips of the frond are covered in masses of a light sandy brown to gold hairs which hang pointing downwards giving rise to another common name of Golden Tassle fern.

It is an easily grown plant for a shady or semi-shady area it would also look very good in a mixed border with Hosta`s or with other nice leaf forms such as Rodgersia or Dicentra. This is always a very popular fern as it is pretty much trouble free and very easy to grow with the added bonus of being evergreen.

Polystichum setiferum

Soft Shield fern

Locality: Europe     Height: 75-90cm (30-36in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

There are at least 300 described cultivars of this handsome plant, some of which are very rare and others that may have disappeared altogether from cultivation. Many forms are well worth searching out but some may prove to be very difficult to find. We only offer a few as lack of space makes it awkward to have too many if we are to have any variety of other genera.

Polystichum setiferum `Congestum`

Locality:     Height: 15-25cm (6-10in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

This has got to be one of the most attractive cultivars still available, with narrow triangular lance shaped fronds it is quite a slow grower but well worth the wait. Relatively short fronds growing almost vertically that are congested with overlapping pinnae giving a very dense appearance. A beautiful fern for a rockery or an area with smaller plants as it could get overgrown if planted too close to some of the larger varieties.

Polystichum setiferum `Dahlem`

Locality:     Height: 75cm (30in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

This variation and the next are both German introductions, they are quite similar in appearance but both are worthy of garden cultivation. It has long narrow, lance shaped fronds that are held almost vertically, a nice light green darkening with time. It will form a good sized clump with age producing multiple crowns.

Polystichum setiferum `Herrenhausen`

Locality:     Height: 75cm (30in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

With leathery tri-pinnate fronds this cultivar will attain about the same size as the previous variation. It has slightly finer divisions of the pinnules and is also a lighter green, although it is a little darker than the species. Personally speaking I find it easier to tell these two variations apart when they are grown together.

Polystichum setiferum `Plumosum`

Locality:     Height: 35cm (14in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

This cultivar has a totally different form and size to the last two, it has more divided pinnules which give it a feathery appearance hence `Plumosum`. It is a very attractive form but a little slower to get to full size than the majority of P.setiferum cultivars.

Polystichum setiferum `Plumoso-Densum`

Locality:     Height: 35cm (14in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

The fronds of `Plumoso-Densum` are quadra-pinnate, even more finely divided than the last. Triangular and a very light green until they age a slightly darker green. It seems far removed from the original species with both pinnae and pinnules that overlap giving the plant a very dense and feathery appearance. It is certainly among the most attractive P.setiferum cultivars and it also generally comes true from spore, unlike some other species.

Polystichum tsus-simense

Locality: Korea / China / Japan     Height: 30cm (12in)
Product size: 1 Ltr     Product price: £8.50

The fronds of this species are narrow and sharply pointed making it quite distinct from others in this genus. Over time it will clump up but will still be quite compact and tidy. This is a handy fern for that small spot in a shaded trough or rockery as it is quite small and compact. It is as with other Polystichum evergreen and winter hardy, I have had one planted in a neutral stony area for five or six years which has never grown higher than maybe 8/10in. no doubt if looked after it better he may have got a little bigger but if certainly won’t get anywhere near the size of many of the P.setiferum variations.