Southern maidenhair fern's lacy texture creates
interest on the hardy porch patio or deck.
native Southern maidenhair fern has always been a plant
that somehow magically calms me, relieving stress. They
also entice me to pause and look not only at their
beauty but the surrounding plant community as well. I
have a new favorite companion for the fern: the Spanish
Spanish bluebell, like many other plants. has gone
through some name changes in both the common name and
the botanical name, which is now Hyacinthoides hispanica.
True to its name it is native to Spain, Portugal and
northern Africa, and can make a home in your garden too.
the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens we have a nice
established drift, or patch of the Southern maidenhair
fern growing in our cottage garden. The Spanish
bluebell, which is also called wood hyacinth, has
established well in the same area.
have anywhere from 2 to 6 strapped leaves that produce a
sturdy stalk adorned with from 12 to 15 blue,
bell-shaped flowers. They stand out in dramatic fashion
against a sea of what appears to be slightly chartreuse
green from the fernís lacy foliage.
Spanish bluebells is recommended for a large area from
zones 3 through 8, meaning most of the country can enjoy
growing them. After the blooms are finished we leave
them alone, as is recommended for a narcissus or
daffodil, as they make food reserves for next yearís
blossoms. Then in mid-summer the foliage will retreat to
make its return the following spring.
Iíve been touting this combination with the native
Southern maidenhair, know that it too is hardy over a
wide area of the United States. It is known botanically
as Adiantum capillus-veneris and is native to more than
20 states, plus Puerto Rico and British Columbia.
may be surprised to know they are found as far north as
South Dakota. So those of you who have treasured the
thought that you had cornered your little patch of green
paradise will have to know that you are not alone.
delicate looking fronds vary in height, topping out at
about a foot and a half with an equal spread thanks to
the slow -creeping rhizome. So you will want to plant
several to get your patch going.
are deciduous and require organic rich, well-drained
soil. Providing supplemental water during summerís
droughty periods is essential and will keep them not
only growing, but looking their best. This is a great
fern for shade but also performs superbly in part shade
or those areas with a little morning sun.
choice of companion plants is only limited by your
imagination. In addition to the Spanish bluebells they
are ever so picturesque along a tiny stream or babbling
brook. No hosta collection would be complete without a
heavy complement of ferns, and by all means several
patches of the Southern maidenhair.
them with other shade lovers like impatiens, begonias,
caladiums and coleus. The Chocolate Mint coleus and
Southern maidenhair fern would make an absolute dreamy
partnership. Lastly, if you find yourself with a shady
porch patio or deck know that a container or two with
this fern will offer a most unique and appreciated leaf
texture wherever they are placed.
is erupting in the South and is headed your way, so make
this the year you incorporate this picturesque native
fern and perhaps the Spanish bluebell as a choice