Blechnum penna-marina

alpine water fern

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

This wonderful little evergreen fern is a top rate garden plant. Its new fronds emerge in the spring copper red and gradually fade to rich green. It slowly creeps to fill cracks and crevices between paving stones or rockery walls. It can also be used as a small-scale groundcover. Plant it under shrubs or trees with high branches, so that it gets some light for the best spring color.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: spreading fern

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 0 ft. 6 in. (0.15 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 7 to 10

Flower Color: none

Sun/Light Exposure: light to dappled shade

Water Requirements: occasional

Seasonal Interest: coppery red spring foliage

Colors & Combos

Great Plant Combinations: Athyrium otophorum, Cyclamen hederifolium, Erythronium ‘Pagoda’, Lathyrus vernus, Trillium chloropetalum

Great Color Contrasts: gold, purple, silver

Great Color Partners: bronze, burgundy

Culture Notes
Blechnum penna-marina grows best in moist to well-drained soil and will tolerate sandy soils or clay. Provide light to dappled shade and occasional watering during dry weather. It can be grown full sun with regular watering in summer and protection from hot locations. Cut it to the ground in late winter to gain the full effect of the colorful spring growth.