Close up of netted chain fern leaves.
A group of netted chain ferns with narrow reproductive fronds in a greenhouse.

Woodwardia areolata (Netted Chain Fern) Unity Grown

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Woodwardia areolata, commonly called netted chain fern, is a deciduous native fern that thrives in moist shady environments like woodland swamps. Growing to one or two feet tall with relatively wide, smooth fronds, netted chain fern serves as an excellent ornamental fern for wetter locations.

Tolerant of heavy shade and perpetually wet, acidic soils, Woodwardia areolata is also resistant to deer browsing and brackish soils, making it a hardy choice for any wetland area. Given the right conditions, this species will form large colonies by way of thin rhizomatic roots, making it an ideal choice for shady beds, moist woods, bog gardens, and near ponds or streams.

Additionally, Woodwardia areolata is a dimorphic fern, meaning that its sterile fronds have a wide, ornamental appearance, and its reproductive fronds have a narrow, crinkled appearance, adding texture and appeal to any location; you can see the difference between these fronds in the second photo.

Native to U.S., Native to Maryland, Native to Eastern Shore, and Straight Species
Mature Plant Height:Short: 12-29"
Full Shade (less than 4 hours of sun) and Part Shade/Sun (4-6 hours of sun)
Soil Moisture: Wet
Soil Type: Acidic and Rich Organic Matter
Foliage Color: Green
Features: Groundcover, Erosion Control, Attracts Birds, and Attracts Wildlife
Tolerances: Shade Tolerant, Deer Tolerant, Rabbit Tolerant, Wet Soil Tolerant, Salt Tolerant, Flood Tolerant, and Clay Soil Tolerant
Garden Type: Woodland Garden and Small Space

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