Ghost Painted Fern (Athyrium 'Ghost' [A. niponicum 'Pictum' x A. filix-femina var. aspleniodes])

A Ghost close.jpg
Athyrium hybrid 'Ghost' garden.jpg
A Ghost close.jpg
Athyrium hybrid 'Ghost' garden.jpg

Ghost Painted Fern (Athyrium 'Ghost' [A. niponicum 'Pictum' x A. filix-femina var. aspleniodes])

8.00

Synonyms: Athyrium 'Ghost' (niponicum 'Pictum' x filix-femina), Ghost Lady Fern, Ghost Japanese Painted Fern

This hybrid between a southern U.S. lady fern (Athryium filix-femina var. asplenoides),  and a Japanese Painted Fern  (A. niponcum 'Pictum'), Japanese painted fern was a chance sporling found in Nancy Swell's Richmond, Virginia garden. Nancy named it 'Ghost' for its upright habit. There has been speculation that the name refers to its pale silvery gray color, but Nancy said that it was more to describe its unusually upright habit, since "when you see a ghost your hair stands on end!"

At any rate, this stunning type of Japanese Painted Fern has a distinctive upright habit and bright white chalky coloration that really makes it stand out wooded borders and shady garden settings.  The stipes tend to be a light, bright shade that approaches magenta rather than the typical burgundy stipe of the traditional Japanese Painted Fern.  As with other painted ferns they prefer fairly deep shade as their soft fronds are easily burned by hot sun and prefer an evenly moist setting.  Many deciduous trees, like Japanese maples, make excellent canopy companions, protecting the ferns with overhead foliage in the summer yet allowing them good light and air circulation during parts of the early spring and late fall when there are no overhead leaves.  Like other deciduous ferns they handle cold winters well by staying dormant below the ground and re-emerge in the spring.

Frond Condition:  Deciduous
Mature Height:  12-30"
Origin:  U.S. Garden hybrid (U.S. lady fern x Japanese lady fern)
Cultural Requirements:  Partly Shaded, Full Shade, Evenly Moist
USDA Zones:  4, 5, 6, 7, 8

 

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