Autumn Ferns

Also known as Japanese shield fern or Japanese wood fern, autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora) is a hardy plant suitable for gardens and indoor situations. Autumn ferns in the garden offer beauty throughout the growing season, emerging coppery red in spring, eventually maturing to a bright, glossy, kelly green by summer. 

Like all ferns, the autumn fern produces no seeds and no flowers are required. Thus, ferns are strictly foliage plants. This ancient woodland plant thrives in partial or full shade and moist, rich, well-drained, slightly acidic soil. However, autumn fern can tolerate short periods of afternoon sunlight, but won’t perform well in intense heat or prolonged sunlight.


Autumn fern needs to be planted in a shady location. Too much light is detrimental to its health and can sunburn it to the point of killing it. 


The soil should be similar to conditions in the fern’s native woodland habitat containing a high amount of organic matter, consistently moist but with good drainage. 


A newly planted autumn fern needs regular watering in the absence of rain. In climates with regular rainfall, watering is not necessary. In drier climates, or during dry spells or extended droughts, water the area around the plant slowly and deeply to keep the soil moist, ideally with a soaker hose.