Dryopteris wallichiana

Wallich's wood fern

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

One of the most stately ferns in the garden, Wallich's wood fern grows up to 3 to 4 feet in height. Its deep green fronds form a graceful, wide vase shape that remains into winter. By late winter the fronds collapse, forming a radiating ring of green around the crown. The emerging growth is covered in dark brownish black hair-like scales that give a dramatic, almost prehistoric look to the fern. As the fronds start to unfurl, they have a bright gold-green tone that matures to very glossy dark green. Use Dryopteris wallichiana alone as a focal point or clustered into a spectacular small group. It combines well with Dicentra spectabilis 'Gold Heart', Actaea pachypoda, Polystichum setiferum Divisilobum Group, rhododendrons and other evergreen woodland shrubs.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: fern

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 4 ft. 0 in. (1.22 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 4 ft. 0 in. (1.22 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, gold, silver

Great Color Partners: dark green, chartreuse, blue

Culture Notes
This fern grows best in rich moist to well-drained soil in a location protected from winds. 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.