Lady in Red Fern (Athyrium felix-forma ‘Lady in Red’)

Lady in Red Fern

  • Lacy Green Leaves on Showy, Red-Violet Stems
  • Dramatic Filler in Cut Flower Arrangements
  • Fine-Textured Foliage Plant
  • Spreads Slowly to Become Lush Groundcover
  • Cultivar of a Native Fern
  • Extremely Cold Tolerant
  • Tolerates Shade or Partial Shade
  • Deer and Rabbits Don’t Prefer the Taste

Use these classic shade plants to add visual interest, texture and contrast to low light landscapes. Lady in Red Fern (Athyrium felix-forma ‘Lady in Red’) features bright green fronds with showy red stems.

This is an excellent perennial for the shade.

Each spring, the season starts off with a breathtaking flush of light green fronds. But you’ll see new leaves emerging throughout the summer, a welcome trait that makes this Fern appear fresh all season long.

Don’t let their ethereal, delicate look fool you.

These ferns thrive in areas with frigid winter temperatures. They are strong-growing, dependable and tough, perfect for a low-maintenance shade garden.

Rely on these sultry beauties as a staple for your perennial borders and woodland plantings. Add them to your outdoor containers as a “Thriller” front and center. They also make a fantastic “Filler” plant in modern large arrangements.

The leaves are held upright on dark, brilliant red-violet stems…which are better known as “Fern stripes”. They’ll add a boldly ornamental element to mass plantings.

With their ornamental red stripe, they are also exceptionally beautiful. Add the lacy fronds into your cut flower arrangements as a backdrop for your featured flowers.

Try them in your trouble spots to slowly fill into a wonderful garden feature. They thrive even when other plants fail!

How to Use Lady in Red Fern in the Landscape

From dappled to dim conditions, Ferns have evolved to make the most out of available light. Try a long row of these charming plants along your shaded side yard. Or, add zest in front of taller evergreen shrubs.

Lady in Red Fern is a deciduous, easy-to-grow fern that makes a great blending plant for Hosta and other large-leaf plants, such as the round, red-purple leaves of Heuchera.

The Fern stripes will coordinate colorwise with the Heuchera leaves, and they’ll become an amazing study in contrasts over time. After all, shade gardens are subtle, and require you to take the time to ponder texture, form, shape and color.

Create a Meditation Garden on your property. Use Lilacs or Crape Myrtles as living walls of your very private room.

Include a wide bed of Lady in Red Fern on the shaded side as a special backdrop. Include a blissfully splashing fountain in their planting bed. You can almost hear them grow, if you listen closely.

Anywhere you’ve got a shady spot, Lady in Red Ferns make good groundcover. They’ll slowly grow together to suppress weeds and provide seasonal cover for birds. Include a comfy bench or hammock near a stand of these astounding Ferns.

Plant them 18 inches apart on center, measuring from the center of one to the center of the next. Mulch between plants.

Add a restful note to your space, even in the middle of the city. Include Lady in Red Fern as a “Thriller” to containers, or use in your mixed border. This tough plant handles urban conditions without trouble.

Tips for Care

This graceful Fern variety loves a rich, organic soil that is evenly moist, but well-drained. Add a few handfuls of compost to your backfill soil while planting.

Lady in Red Ferns prefer to be grown in part to full shade. Their root systems appreciate the beneficial support of Nature Hills Root Booster. It creates a symbiotic relationship that helps your plants access water and nutrients most efficiently.

Provide a regular schedule of supplemental water, if you don’t get adequate rainfall. These woodland plants love a layer of wood chip mulch, spread to a depth of 3 inches to keep their roots cool and moist.

Lady in Red Fern (Athyrium felix-forma ‘Lady in Red’) Details

Common name Lady in Red Fern
Botanical name Athyrium felix-forma 'Lady in Red'
Plant type Perennial
Hardiness zone 3-8
Growth rate Medium
Height 30 - 36 inches
Width 24 inches
Sunlight Partial Shade
Moisture Medium
Soil condition Well Drained
Pollinator-friendly No
Pruning time Early Spring