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Dryopteris filix-mas
  • RHS AGM

male fern [2]

D. filix-mas is a robust deciduous fern forming a shuttlecock-like tuft of lance-shaped, bipinnatifid fronds to 1.2m in height

Other common names
basket fern [2]
shield fern [3]
Synonyms
Aspidium filix-mas

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Size
Ultimate height
1–1.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
5–10 years
Ultimate spread
0.5–1 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Poorly–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Green
Autumn Green
Winter
Position
  • Full shade
  • Partial shade
Aspect

North–facing or West–facing or East–facing or South–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H7
Botanical details
Family
Dryopteridaceae
Native to the UK
Yes
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Tufted
Genus

Dryopteris can be deciduous, semi-evergreen or evergreen ferns, with stout, erect or decumbent rhizomes and shuttlecock-like rosettes of lance-shaped to ovate, pinnately divided fronds

Name status

Correct

Plant range
N Temp. regions

How to grow

Cultivation

Easy to grow in most cool, moist, lightly shaded sites and will grow in full sun if given plenty of moisture. Tolerant of dry shade but water regularly in their first season and mulch well

Propagation

Propagate by sowing spores as soon as ripe or by division in spring

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Wildflower meadow
  • Low Maintenance
  • Flower borders and beds
  • Underplanting of roses and shrubs
Pruning

Dead or damaged fronds may be removed as necessary

Pests

Generally pest free outdoors

Diseases

Generally disease free outdoors

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