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
Landscape Uses: 
  • Massing, 
  • Mixed border
Size Range: 
  • Large plant (more than 24 inches), 
  • Medium plant (12-24 inches)
Light Exposure: 
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4, 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6, 
  • Zone 7, 
  • Zone 8
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil, 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Season of Interest: 
  • Early spring, 
  • Mid spring, 
  • Late spring, 
  • Early summer, 
  • Mid summer, 
  • Late summer
Shape or Form: 
  • Arching, 
  • Mounded
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate
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






Athyrium filix-femina or Lady fern