Friday, July 10, 2015

PLANT OF THE WEEK: Hay-scented Fern

Hay-scented ferns greeted us as we headed down Andy's driveway to film this week's segment of The Sunday Gardener for WBAL. The forest setting was a lush green; the ferns set in an open glade dappled by the morning sun. The hay-scented ferns have colonized in an open area surrounded by other plants and trees in this beautiful setting in northern Baltimore County.
A colony of Hay-scented ferns
Dennstaedtia punctilobula, (Eastern hay-scented fern), is a native fern that grows to 1-2 feet in height and spreads to 2-3 feet. When planting a new bed, leave a space of 2 feet or so between plants. The hay-scented ferns grow and reproduce rapidly, indicating that they would like a large area to colonize and may be too large for a smaller garden space. The fronds are a yellowish-green, and very fine textured with a slightly 'hairy' surface. They can also be used singly in the right area.

Stumped for what to plant? Here's an idea!

 The common name comes from the scent of newly mown hay when the fronds are crushed beneath ones feet or between fingers.
Hay-scented ferns are deer resistant. The ferns are attractive when used as a groundcover, requiring light to medium shade. They are also a valuable plant for erosion control along shady slopes or hillsides.
The wooded property had many areas where other varieties of ferns were thriving in the landscape. Look for the tremendous variety of ferns available in the shady aisles of our perennial department.

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