Saturday, April 16, 2011


With the worst drought in 40 years blazing outside our window, it's hard to imagine ferns growing here and looking good. I used to have so many ferns....and loved every one of them. But as all gardeners know, every plant family has its more durable and more delicate members. The ferns below are the more durable and toughest and can take just about anything our Houston weather throws at them. I try to be water wise, so I must add I DO WATER FERNS. They need a bit each day to carry on and I feel they are well worth it. To conserve water, I have clustered the ferns in 3 or 4 locations and just water those areas more than the rest.

To see more fabulous foliage, please visit our wonderful host, Pam at Digging. She's on my sidebar favorites.
Thelypteris kunthii  or Dryopteris ludoviciana~ both names go with our native Southern wood fern. Critters love to eat it, but it recovers quickly. These are fresh fronds with no damage.

Another view of Southern Wood fern. Transplant it very early in the Spring and it will do fine.
The LBJ website reports that it's good for shade gardens with oppressively hot summers, high humidity, and heavy clay soils. Yep, that's what I've got! LOL
Holly fern ( Cyrtomium falcatum ) is tough. It can even dry out a bit between waterings, but I don't like to take chances. Once a fern dries out, it has to start completely over from rhizomes.

Southern Maidenhair fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris) growns along the north side of our house next to the water faucet. It gets a splash of water each day or so. It prefers limestone soils and alkaline conditions. This fern is famous since it grows along Texas springs, waterfalls, and Hill Country creeks. It's probably my favorite.

The last of one of my bicolored ferns.

 A small fern in the Boston fern (Nephrolepis) family. It can take drier conditions better than most.

Lace fern (Microlepia strigosa) is easy and quite cold hardy.

Mother fern (Woodwardia orientalis) hangs on for dear life. Each year I think it's dead, but it pops up each Spring like a phoenix.
I also grow Leatherleaf fern (Rumohra adiantiformis) and this works well for Houston.
I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND THE FOLLOWING FOR HOUSTON if the climate continues to stay drier and hotter:
In the past I've grown (and lost) the following:
Australian tree fern
Small tree fern
Australian maidenhair,
button fern
rabbit's foot fern
Bird's nest fern
Autumn fern
Giant staghorn fern (it was magnificent!)
ruffled fern
Boston fern
roundleaf fern
Five fingered maidenhair fern
Resurrection fern
Pteris ferns
and the ever gorgeous Japanese Painted fern. If you are in a moist zone 8 garden area, try it!
Thanks for visiting!


  1. I've always loved the look of Maidenhair Fern - keep meaning to try and set up a spot near my pond's waterfall. My favorite fern in my garden is Autumn Fern (Dryopteris erythrosora) - so tough and such nice new growth.

  2. Yep, maidenhair fern is my favorite too. Sadly, my garden is too dry for it, so I'll admire yours from afar.

  3. Beautiful foliage. I'm loving your Maidenhair fern and thinking it might survive around my bird bath.

  4. Nice collection of ferns, I have a few in my garden, I believe no tropical garden should be without it


I always appreciate your comments & questions! Happy Gardening from David/ Tropical Texana

Related Posts with Thumbnails