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Blechnum (BLECK-num)

Common Name:  Deer fern

Light:  - Part shade to full shade

Soil:  Average to rich, acidic, moist but sharply well-drained

Moisture:  Consistent moisture with sharp drainage

Zones:  5 - 8


Blechnum spicant

Blechnum Description and Cultural Information

Blechnum spicant, deer fern, hard fern. 12 - 30". Deer ferns have large, flat, lower growing rosettes of dark green, leathery, stiff sterile fronds and tall, upright fertile fronds growing straight out from the center of the clumps. They are evergreen in most climates. Hardy in zones 5 - 8.

How to Grow:  Deer ferns grow best in humus-rich, moist but well-drained, acidic soil in part to full shade. They tend to stay in a clump with low sterile fronds and upright, fertile fronds. They are common in moist, coniferous forests and need acidic soil to grow best. Supplement the soil with generous amounts of compost and peat moss then add Hollytone fertilizer at planting to help lower the pH if needed. Blechnum will not grow well in soil with a pH above 7.0 and is best in the acidic, moist but well-drained woodland garden.

Landscape uses:  Plant these ferns near the front or middle of the shady border. Combine them with Tiarellas, hostas, Dicentra, and Epimedium, or use them as an accent next to stones or the base of trees for a more natural appearance.

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