Grow Foolproof Ferns in Your Shade Garden 

Draw attention to these plants that love the shade. Learn how to cultivate and maintain ferns and discover which kinds, big and small, are best for you.  

Ferns thrive in full to part shade, unlike other plants. “Most of them have such a fine texture,” says Minnesota Landscape Arboretum operations director Alan Branhagen.   

Add Garden Texture with Fern

Ferns are essential to nature, according to botanist, butterfly, and bird enthusiast Alan. "Ferns don't produce seeds or anything birds eat,  

Use Ferns to Give Wildlife a Boost

" he says "but they provide good habitat for soil invertebrates and are great in woodland gardens for ground-feeding birds."  

Leave deciduous fern leaves to die back to optimize value. Alan notes, “They compost themselves pretty readily” because they don't have enormous twiggy stems.   

Fern Care

He proposes mulching ferns after a freeze to attract earthworms, spiders, and other beneficial garden creatures.  

While they don't often choose to feed on ferns, deer do occasionally do so. Insect pests and slugs are typically not an issue either.  

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