A Plant to Love - Autumn Fern

One of my favorite ferns in the shade garden is the Autumn Fern Dryopteris erythrosora. There are over 1200 species of Dryopteris making it one of the largest genera in the plant kingdom (Armitage). A member of the Wood Ferns, Autumn fern is a glossy, evergreen fern with a strong presence in the garden.

Its name is a bit misleading. The autumn color foliage of the fern; copper, rust and burnt orange appears in the spring and by fall I often see the color of the fern has reverted to predominant green. This has been a very easy fern to grow, even in my Ault Park garden that cannot receive the daily attention and watering a home garden enjoys.
 Dryopteris erythrosora

Zone 5-9
Light- Full Shade
Moisture – Wet, constantly moist soil
Growth Rate- Slow
Growth Habit- Spreading
Size- 1.5 – 2 ft tall and 18in wide.


  1. We've had a dwarf Dryopteris affinis 'Crispa gracilis' growing in a planter for years and it is by far one of my favorite ferns.

  2. The fern looks lovely surrounded by those hostas. Having a shady Scottish garden ferns are a big part of what works well for us.

    I was wondering if you might add your garden to Folia the online gardening website (it's free). I'm always looking to encourage more gardeners to join and am having an extra push this week while the weather is keeping most people indoors.

    It's a great resource for gardeners and has helped me keep on top of my 800+ plantings with photo's, notes, journals, milestones etc. They have an extensive plant wiki and a seed stash section where people can also list seeds for swapping. Here's the link to my Folia page so you can see how it works: www.myfolia.com/gardener/CDfolia/invite.

  3. Indeed, a plant to love. A favorite of mine along with Japanese painted fern. I can't get enough of either. Beautiful combination you have, with hosta. Cheers.