Athyrium otophorum

eared lady fern

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

Japanese painted fern brings amazing and colorful foliage to the shade garden. The range of silvers and purplish-reds that are overlaid on the fronds brightens any shadowy situation. Although delicate in appearance it is a tough and reliable grower that will perform well in the garden or as a container plant.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: fern

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 1 ft. 9 in. (0.53 meters)

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

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 8

Flower Color: none

Sun/Light Exposure: light to dappled shade

Water Requirements: regular watering

Seasonal Interest: distinctive spring and summer foliage

Resistant to: deer

Colors & Combos

Great Plant Combinations: Campanula poscharskyana ‘Blue Waterfall’, Oxalis oregana (evergreen form), Aster divaricatus, Omphalodes verna, Trillium chloropetalum

Great Color Contrasts: blue, black

Great Color Partners: white, cream, burgundy, purple

Culture Notes
Eared lady fern needs protection from hot afternoon sun and is best in light, open, or dappled shade. Provide a location with rich well-drained soil and regular watering during dry weather. Although this fern is deciduous, its foliage lasts well into early winter, often not losing its appeal until December, when it should be cut to the ground when the fronds look tattered.