Athyrium filix-femina

southern lady fern


Use this link to get more info about this plant from the USF Institute for Systematic Botany

Plant Specifics

Form: fern
Life Span: long-lived perennial
Size: Height: 2.5-3.5 ft    Width: 2-3 ft
Phenology: winter dormant
Noted for: Interesting foliage


Recommended Uses: Ground cover. This is a clump-forming fern (all fronds arise from a central point) making it a good focal point in a shade garden. Can also be used as a border plant.
Propagation: Division (spring is said to be best).
Availability: FNPS plant sales
Light: light requirement  
Moisture Tolerance:
Salt Tolerance: Not salt tolerant
Soil or other substrate: Sand
Soil pH Range: Acidic to neutral


One resource (Misssouri Botantical Garden) indicates that it tolerates rabbits.
Native Habitats: Moist hammocks, swamps, shady bluffs.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida

USDA Zones:

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures

Suitable to grow in:


Fronds and rhizomes are said to be poisonous but potentially edible after cooking (please don't eat based on this information!)

Other Comments:

Fronds are lacy and delicate in appearance.