Dryopteris lepidopoda

sunset fern

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

This fantastic evergreen fern is a recent addition to the Northwest landscape. In late spring, new coppery-pink fronds open quickly developing to orangey-bronze tones that then mature to a glossy, deep olive green. Once you see this lovely array of colors it's easy to see why the common name is, sunset fern. The duration of the show is extended well into summer with the appearance of occasional new fronds until late July. Epimediums and Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' create an eye-catching combination. This is a good fern for use as a single prime specimen or in small groups.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: fern

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 1 ft. 10 in. (0.55 meters)

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

Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 to 9

Flower Color: none

Sun/Light Exposure: light, open, dappled, or deep shade

Water Requirements: regular watering

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 regular watering during dry weather to keep the fronds from drying out. This fern grows well in light to deep shade. Though it is evergreen the fronds will collapse in mid to late winter. To keep its appearance clean and tidy cut the old fronds to the ground in late February or early March, before the new fronds emerge.