Plant Library
perennial

Eared Lady Fern

Athyrium otophorum

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Eared Lady Fern (Athyrium otophorum) at Bedner's Farm & Greenhouse

Eared Lady Fern foliage

Eared Lady Fern foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  18 inches

Spread:  18 inches

Sunlight:  partial shade  full shade 

Hardiness Zone:  4b

Other Names:  Auriculate Lady Fern, Asian Lady Fern

Description:

Attractive fronds emerge light-green and turn darker green, giving a two-toned appearance; clump-forming and dense, perfect for shady spots; beautiful in masses on the edges of ponds or streams

Ornamental Features

Eared Lady Fern's attractive ferny bipinnately compound leaves emerge light green in spring, turning green in color with pointy burgundy spines throughout the season. Neither the flowers nor the fruit are ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Eared Lady Fern is a dense herbaceous perennial with a shapely form and gracefully arching foliage. It brings an extremely fine and delicate texture to the garden composition and should be used to full effect.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and usually looks its best without pruning, although it will tolerate pruning. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Eared Lady Fern is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • Border Edging
  • General Garden Use
  • Groundcover
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens

Planting & Growing

Eared Lady Fern will grow to be about 18 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 18 inches. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 15 years.

This plant does best in partial shade to shade. It prefers to grow in moist to wet soil, and will even tolerate some standing water. It is particular about its soil conditions, with a strong preference for rich, acidic soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone over the growing season to conserve soil moisture. This species is not originally from North America, and parts of it are known to be toxic to humans and animals, so care should be exercised in planting it around children and pets. It can be propagated by division.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight Soil pH Preference
Characteristics
Massing  Edging  Garden  Groundcover  Naturalizing 
Applications
Foliage Color  Texture  Plant Form 
Ornamental Features
This Plant Library is an online resource representing many of the varieties that we carry over the course of the season, and is intended for informational purposes only. Inventory varies seasonally and changes from day to day, so we cannot guarantee that every plant will be in stock at all times - please contact the store directly for current availability. It does not include our entire selection of plants, so be sure to visit our store to see varieties that may not be represented on this list.