Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Japanese Painted Ferns an Eye-Catching Garden Addition

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Japanese Painted Ferns an Eye-Catching Garden Addition

Article excerpt

I need to get this off my chest. I love my Japanese painted ferns.

They're spectacular, stunning, eye-catching plants. And I don't think I am understating the fact.

Their spring foliage is a standout in my two shade gardens. Their fronds have striking silver edges that seem to brighten even the darkest borders. They feature a dark, green-blue central rib with real eye-catching reddish-purple stalks.

The perennials are deciduous and grow 8 to 12 inches in height. They are prolific growers and easily dividable in the spring.

Need I paint more of a picture?

They are the perfect contrast to other shade plants like hosta and red-leafed heuchera.

Their short habit and clump-growing tendencies make them excellent as foreground foliage.

They prefer well-drained, rich, moist soil, preferably in a humid environment. Yet these toughies can tolerate dry soil -- and can even endure some sun, if they have sufficient water. Many green- thumbers have made them into houseplants, as well.

The best thing about these beauties is that they need very little care. Fronds die back when touched by a hard frost, but I just thin out the dead "branches" in the spring, before the fresh, young fiddleheads pop up.

Be sure to add them to your garden palette today.


"Word of mouth" may be a great way to learn about some products, but word-of-mouth gardening tips can often be a very bad idea.

For example, true or false? Put rusty nails around your hydrangeas to turn them blue, keep bugs out of the garden with cedar mulch, place rocks in the bottom of planter pots for good drainage and add coffee grounds to your roses for better blooms.

The "truths" to these and other long-held garden beliefs are revealed in "Coffee for Roses ... and 70 Other Misleading Myths About Backyard Gardening" (St. Lynn's Press, May 2014, $17.95) as horticulture expert C.L. Fornari uncovers the reality behind some of our most common garden practices - the good, the bad and the just plain ridiculous.

Note: The true/false statements above were all false. …

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