British Columbia: Looking for Chilean hard fern in Vancouver

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Keke, Feb 20, 2021.

  1. Keke

    Keke Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi — we need a tallish fern for a gap in the hedge between our tiny townhouse patio in East Van and the sidewalk. The rest of the hedge is rhododendron and various other shrubs, but there’s a spot between the fence and the trunk of a deciduous tree we want to fill. I’ve been looking for an option for a tall evergreen fern, because it’d be hard to plant a shrub in all the tree roots. At this point I’m looking at Chilean hard fern, or Blechnea chilense. Does anyone know where I could get one locally, please?
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    That's more a groundcover than a conventional idea of a shrub. And you'll still have to dig a planting hole whether it's a shrub in a certain size pot or a fern in the same sized pot.
     
  3. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor

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    To tell the truth, I can't think of any fern that would be easier to plant among tree roots than most shrubs would be. Why don't you think about putting a nice pot (or several) where you want to fill some space and put a fern or a shrub in that (those) instead?
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021
  4. Keke

    Keke Active Member 10 Years

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    The issue with pots is that it’s literally right at the sidewalk, and many things have gone missing from that spot in prior years. My research so far says that this fern grows quite tall (to 3.5 feet) but I have no problem with starting it off small. There is currently a shrub in that spot which hasn’t done well because of the increasing shade from the tree, so if I pull that out I should have enough of a hole to plant in.
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I've never seen it that tall in our region, so I wouldn't count on that much height. Also you understand that it is a creeping patch former, right? From a rainy climate - if this is a dry rooty spot that whatever kind the shrub is doesn't like this fern may do even less well. So maybe you try western sword fern instead. Keeping in mind that it won't grow 3' tall either, except in a lush spot that enables it to grow that large. A spot not like the one you are trying to furnish.
     
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  6. Keke

    Keke Active Member 10 Years

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    Yes, Polystichum munitum was something we considered, and may yet try. The only reason the shrub doesn’t like the spot is the summer shade. The area is well-watered as it is at the start of the soaker hose loop for some large rhodos to the west and some rose bushes to the south. Nothing else in that area seems water stressed. We top dress the bed with leaf mould every spring. Other ferns like the area — they’re just not tall enough.
     

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