Easily noted for its distinguishing foliage, Japanese Silver Painted Ferns live up to their name by producing silver fronds, with best colors in partial shade. They form clumps as spring turns to summer, which lie dormant over winter.
Athyrium niponicum (Japanese Silver Painted Fern) [synonym A. goeringianum ‘Pictum’)
Subspecies: ‘Pictum’, var. Pictum ‘Burdgundy Lace’
Native: Japan, other oriental countries
Hardiness Zones: 5-8 (possibly to zone with winter protection and zone 9 with protection from brutal summer conditions)
Height: to 45 centimeters (18 inches) tall
Diameter: to 45 centimeters (18 inches) wide
Root System: deep and extensive once established
Growth Rate: moderate
Tolerates: heavy shade, very brief droughts once established, herbivores (deer)
Problems (major): Intolerant of drying out when young or recently transplanted.
Problems (minor): Foliage burns in full sun and is susceptible to rust.
Soil requirements: requires consistently moist, acidic, well-drained soils
Air requirements: prefers high humid
Watering requirement: moderate (prefers consistently moist soil)
Sun requirement: partial to full shade
Fronds: triangular, deep green with silver to blue central vein (variegated), others silver with a purple central vein, weeping, maroon rachis (petiole from first leaflet to tip of petiole) to 50 centimeters (20 inches) long, drooping
Fiddleheads: emerge in early spring, not particularly showy
Rhizomes: short, clumping
Spores: present on undersides of foliage
The fronds of A. niponicum (var. pictum especially) have beautiful silver-bluish hues that come out most prominently in light or dappled shade.
These are typically grown as garden ornamentals for their exciting foliage.
All of the images provided were taken by me. They may be used for educational/informational purposes only, provided that this article/online journal is appropriately cited first.