Wood Fern is a plant that grows where other plants have a hard time surviving, shaded forest floors, where the soil is fertile, but little light reaches the ground.
Because ferns thrive in these conditions, they have a reputation for being hard to cultivate, but like other plants as long as their needs are met they can and do succeed. This plant is known familiarly as the Japanese shield fern and is one of the more popular ferns that is now cultivated around the world. The beauty of this plant is in its color, which when mature is a deep green and is punctuated with texture. However, when the plant is young, it is a deep copper color that can range from pink to orange. At the end of the growing season, in the fall, the fern fronds change from green to a deep red or purple and even more texture is added to the leaves when spore clusters form.
This type of fern is perfect for a hardy zone between five and eight, making it possible for it to grow in all kinds of environments and climates.
The soil that it is planted it needs to be light, loamy, and well-drained, so be sure to avoid compact and hard soil areas. As this is a forest plant, well-shaded environments are necessary for the wood fern to survive and full sun areas need to be avoided.
When mature the wood fern can be as big as two feet wide and tall, so it requires plenty of growing space when planted. Ferns are perennial, meaning they grow year to year, and take several years to mature, so if you want your landscaping to appear mature, purchase a larger plant for your garden bed. A well-tended bed, rich in organic material, and where the fern can grow indefinitely is the best choice for this plant.