Dryopteris erythrosora

autumn fern

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

Autumn fern is an easy-to-grow evergreen fern that features bronzy-red new growth. upright young fronds contrast nicely with the glossy, dark green mature fronds. The overall effect is quite colorful throughout the growing season, with coloration more pronounced in bright light conditions. The common name, autumn fern, is somewhat misleading, as it refers to the russet tones of the new fronds, which appear more in spring than in autumn. Dryopteris erythrosora spreads slowly by underground rhizomes, becoming a groundcover in time. It is effective planted in mixed shady borders and as a container specimen. Use with bold foliage plants such as hostas or rhododendrons to create contrast and drama. Companion plants with gold leaves and blue foliage look great against the deep green fronds.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: fern

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 2 ft. 0 in. (0.61 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 2 ft. 0 in. (0.61 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 to 9

Flower Color: none

Sun/Light Exposure: light to deep shade

Water Requirements: occasional watering

Seasonal Interest: autumn color

Resistant to: deer

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: variegated, silver, gold

Great Color Partners: red, orange, dark green, bronze

Culture Notes
This fern grows best in rich moist to well-drained soil, but will tolerate sand or clay. Provide occasional watering during dry weather to keep the fronds looking their best. This fern grows well in light to deep shade. Though it is evergreen the fronds will start to decline in appearance as the new growth starts in spring. To keep its appearance clean and tidy cut the old fronds to the ground in early March, before the new fronds emerge.