TREES & plants

Lady Fern

Lady fern, with its finely cut leaves provides interesting texture to shady areas.  It can also be used in sunny areas, but consistent watering is then required.

Botanical name: 
Athyrium filix-femina
All Common Names: 
Lady fern
Family (English): 
Shield Fern
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Ground cover
  • Perennial
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area
  • Illinois
  • North America
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
Growth Rate: 
  • Medium
Light Exposure: 
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Size Range: 
  • Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Medium plant (12-24 inches)
Shape or Form: 
  • Arching
  • Mounded
Landscape Uses: 
  • Massing
  • Mixed border
Time of Year: 
  • Early spring
  • Mid spring
  • Late spring
  • Early summer
  • Mid summer
  • Late summer
More Information: 


1 to 3 feet high and 1 to 2 feet wide

Tree & Plant Care

Best in moist, shady sites

Disease, pests, and problems

No serious disease or insect pests

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 8
Commonly found in moist woodlands.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

This plant has finely cut fronds.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size