The glade fern, also known as silvery spleenwort or narrow-leaved spleenwort, is a perennial in the Athyriaceae family. This fern is native to North America and is commonly found growing in woody ravines and wet valleys. Its distinctive narrow pinnae form into long bright to dark green fronds arching into a generous length of up to two-and-a-half feet and up to nine inches wide. There may be 20 to 40 sets of pinnae per frond, with five to six fronds per plant. The glade fern produces sterile fronds and fertile fronds, with the sterile version appearing in the spring and the fertile ones developing throughout the summer. Their taller, thinner structure can identify the fertile fronds.
Diplazium pycnocarpon reaches a mature height of two to three feet and grows at a moderate rate of up to two feet per season. It makes it an excellent choice for landscaping because mature height may be reached in one to two seasons, reducing the wait time for the plant to fill in its place in the landscaping. Glade fern grows well in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 8 and prefers moist, well-draining soil with high organic content. Despite its height, this plant makes effective ground cover due to its tolerance to dense shade and the beautiful, consistent structure of the leaves. It’s also resistant to rabbits and can tolerate dry soil conditions when necessary.
Ferns are elegant, classic plants that make an ideal addition to woodland or shade garden areas. The dramatic appearance created by the size of the glade fern’s fronds adds a unique element to contrast other, more colorful plantings. They are low maintenance, adding to their appeal as part of a landscape scheme. The plants arrive healthy and ready to take root in their new home.