Evergreen ferns? Licorice, Holly, sword ?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Georgia Strait, Mar 14, 2022.

  1. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    Further to my question about ferns a couple of wks ago —
    Trim / tidy up deer ferns?

    Are there any smaller ferns that keep upright green fronds year round?

    i know about sword ferns and I have several that do well —- I am looking for smaller than sword fern and the upright fronds is desired

    garden is at the coast, somewhat shady but can be hot and dry in summer … with watering restrictions

    @Margot - any suggestions? I looked at Licorice ferns and Holly ferns at the plant store recently (photos)
     

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  2. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    replying to myself — further reading online led me to this interesting club website (out of Federal Way WA … perhaps on the former Weyerhaeuser corporate campus — rhodos too)

    @Margot - might interest you too for your natural garden
    Hardy Fern Foundation
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Check out various species of Asplenium and Polypodium, they're all small to medium size, and all evergreen. I'm not sure what species are native in BC though (I'd hesitate to recommend any of my native species, in case they could become invasive in BC).
     
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  4. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Hello @Georgia Strait -
    I think the very best fern for your requirements would be Polystichum imbricans, Narrow-leaved Sword Fern; native along the west coast from BC to California. Not only is it very beautiful, it is very tough. It can handle a lot of sun and not much water although I do water mine when it gets really hot and dry. Although E-Flora BC says the leaves can grow to be 70cm long, they are closer to 30cm in my garden. I have found it to be very slow growing. It comes through the winter unscathed; much tidier than Polystichum munitum. The big challenge would be where to buy it . . . I thought Fraser's Thimble Farms had it but it's not on their current list. Another BC native fern, Polystichum lonchitus, Northern Holly Fern, looks similar.

    Other, small evergreen BC native ferns I am familiar with are:

    Aspidotis densa Lace Fern
    Asplenium trichomanes Maidenhair Spleenwort
    Cryptogramma acrostichoides Parsley Fern
    Polypodium glycyrrhiza
    Licorice Fern
    Pentagramma triangularis Goldenback Fern
    Struthiopteris spicant Deer Fern

    All are dwarf evergreens but can look pretty beat-up after winter until they get their new fronds.

    This is Polystichum imbricans in my garden today with new fronds just starting to unfurl. It has been growing there since before this area was developed.
    Polystichum imbricans ssp. imbricans 05-04-22.JPG
     
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