There are many oak trees shading My Garden Path. Dappled sunlight filtering through the branches is the perfect environment for most ferns.
I am pleased to find this Bird's Nest Fern, Asplenium nidus, has made it through the winter unscathed by any cold damage. Plans are to add more of this fern in the coming year.
New fronds are so pretty as they unfurl from the center of the plant. The acidic soil here under the oaks is agreeing well with my Bird's Nest fern.
This pot of Rabbit's Foot Fern, Davallia fejeensis, sits at the edge of the tree canopy getting bright light but no direct sun. The "feet" are completely enveloping the pot. This is a heavy pot. The cold weather seems to agree with this fern as it has more fronds during winter than during the summer.
Oh yes, I did. I planted Asparagus Fern, Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri', on purpose. I have been digging it up ever since and it won't go away. It looks nice as a backdrop for a bromeliad but it's a constant battle to keep it from taking over the entire planting bed. This is a fern on the list of plants to not add in the coming year.
Here is an example of a naturally occuring fern. Resurrection Fern, Polypodium polypodioides, is attached to several of the oak trees in the front yard. Rain gives it life and green color. Dry weather causes it to curl up and turn brown until the next drops of moisture come along. I hope this fern continues to spread over the trunks of these trees. It gives a very woodsy, natural Florida appearance to the garden.
Without a doubt, Leatherleaf fern, Rumohra adiantiformis, is my favorite fern. It holds up well in the cold weather as long as it is under the tree cover. A clump which lives in a more open area shows some frost damage on the tips but otherwise it sails through freezing temperatures. This fern makes a great background for bromeliads. It spreads by rhizomes but not invasively. The leaves work well in flower arrangements and last a long time in a vase.
Holly Fern, Cyrtomium falcatum, is the most cold hardy of all the ferns here along the path. Only two were planted last year and they have held up well through the heat of summer and the cold of winter. These are slowly increasing in a clumping fashion. Very slowly. The plan is to add many more of these ferns.
A fiddlehead of the Australian Tree Fern, Cyathea cooperi, is unfurling now that we've had warmer weather. This is a small specimen that only stands about a foot tall and doesn't yet have a trunk. This is one of the few plants I cover if freezing temperatures are forecast. It is under quite a bit of tree cover so it may be all right without the extra care but I'm not ready to take a chance on it this year.
Ferns are a great filler for my shady garden. It's been great to find that several do very well during cold weather. They may be more of a background plant during other times of the year, but during winter they shine as they keep the color green in the garden.