PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Autumn Fern (Dryopteris erythrosora)

This durable beauty is one of our workhorses when planting up our landscape constructions. In an area that gets some sun, some shade, or just a lot of bright ambient light, Autumn Fern is a great low maintenance evergreen that adds warm, lush colors with its coppery orange new fronds.

We don’t do fussy, overly-designed-looking landscapes, but we feel strongly that there needs to be something resembling a theme or a design thread, however subtle, running through the composition of plants. Among all the one-off specimens and attention getting vignettes of boulders, perennials & shrubs, we like to repeat at regular intervals, certain plants that hold their space year round. In a sunnier spot we like English Lavenders, Orange Sedges, Blue Oat Grass, and Evergreen Azaleas. In a less sunny spot we like Autumn Ferns, Sweet Box, Dwarf Leucothoes, Dwarf Mountain Laurels, and Evergreen Azaleas (again). Designing this way results in a casual landscape but one with a subtle and effective sense of order.

Autumn Fern gets about 16-20 inches tall and presents as a tousled fountain of elegantly tapered fronds that emerge coppery orange and turn emerald green with age. It needs nothing except water during the dry part of summer. It will grow into a thicker clump of itself over time. As ferns go, it can take a fair bit of sun.