Name: Athyrium niponicum var. pictum Aka Japanese painted fern
Type of Plant: Colorful fern for shade and part-shade in zones 3 to 8.
Why I love this: Everyone wants more color in a shade garden, and this is a plant that steps up to do the job! Plants grow 12 to 18” tall and wide. The leaves are a lovely mix of silver, grey-blue and purple with dark maroon ribs. You will find that the best leaf color develops in part-shade locations.
A Word to the Wise: This plant loves organically amended soil and regular water. It’s not the fern for windy or sunny locations. Although over time this perennial does spread, it doesn’t increase in clump size rapidly. There are no particular problems with this plant, however, so it’s worth waiting for!
This plant is especially effective when planted near blue-foliage hosta, red-leaf maples, and shade plants with bright green leaves.