Deer Fern- Blechnum spicant
Hardy Planting Zone: 4-8
Mature Height: 18” - 23”
Mature Width: 18” - 35”
Growth Rate: Slow-Medium
Soil Requirements: Moist Loam, Sandy, Clay
pH Range: 5.0 - 6.5
Functions: Ground Cover, Rock Garden, Container, Accent
The Deer Fern will often be distinguished by its narrow, shiny and green leaves shooting outward from each green stem they grow on.
It grows low along the ground with each stalk shooting out from one central point outward as new plumage grows in the center of the plant, pointing more vertically than it’s elder branches. Primary leaves and outer leaves will appear light-green in color and may rarely move towards a red-green hue on the bottom or older plumes. As rain falls in its vegetative habitat, the long plumy leaves dance a melodic tune through the otherwise quiet forest floor as a foggy humidity encapsulates in the air. In the wild, Deer Fern is known to grow very densely in thick wooded areas and large groups, creating a perfect setting for small animals to hide and forage safely. While small animals find refuge in their midst, large animals like deer, elk, caribou, moose, mountain goats, and bighorn sheep may opt to pilfer and comb through the leaves for nourishment, sometimes even during the harder winter months. Deer Fern is not particular about where they decide to grow and may be seen rising through rock and wood cover on the ground generally with little to no light to supplement them. Deer Fern tends to increase wildly in Alaska to California all the way inland to Idaho, calling home to the Pacific Northwest. The Deer Fern can be perfectly used as ground cover under large trees, used in a shady rock garden or even as a shaded garden accent piece. It also looks great in large containers among other small and spiky plants.