Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum'
Common name: JAPANESE PAINTED FERN
Tri-colored, 12-to-18-inch fronds emerge silvery-gray, almost appearing metallic. Silvery hue is accented by contrasting dark maroon midribs. Spectacular mature blades are triangular with zones of burgundy, gray and dark green. New fronds emerge throughout the growing season adding to the contrast of colors. Dense clumps are beautiful, adaptable, and a low-maintenance perennial.
This has a low and mounding habit, slowly spreading by rhizomes to form dense colonies. The fronds are positioned in a way that creates a horizontal layering effect much like you see in Dogwood trees. To protect the crowns and tender shoots in the spring, it is best to leave the old fronds on the plant over the winter. They can be removed in the spring when the new fronds reach 6 inches tall. If division is necessary, do so in the spring.
This hardy deciduous is easy to grow in organically rich, medium to wet, well-drained soils, with a neutral to moderately acidic pH. If the frond edges become scorched or crispy, the soil may be too dry. Add 2 to 3 inches of compost or peat moss to the beds each spring or fall. Best frond color occurs in light shade. Use in containers, as a ground cover or for borders in woodland areas, Asian and rock gardens, or any shady location. Foliage is a splendid filler for flowers arrangements.
Hardy nearly everywhere in the United States, except in the desert and northernmost areas in zone 3. One of the most colorful ferns for the garden, the Japanese Painted has silvery-grey fronds which are dusty purple towards the center. They are set off by the purplish-red veins and stems. Light to partial shade is best; some sunlight is required to produce the most vibrant color.
Athyrium n. 'Pictum' grows best in moist soil with a neutral to moderately acidic pH. Light to partial shade is best; some sunlight is necessary to produce the vibrant coloring. To protect the crowns and tender shoots in the spring, it is best to leave the old fronds on the plant over the winter. They can be removed in the spring when the new fronds reach 6 inches tall. If division is necessary, do so in the spring.
Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year -- 2004
MNLA Grower's Choice Award -- 2002
Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit -- 1993
Chicago Botanic Garden Plant Evaluation Top Performer -- 2015
Height: 12.0-18.0 Inches
Spread: 24.0 Inches
Hardiness Zones: 3,4,5,6,7,8
Foliage Color: Silver/grey shades
Part Shade (4-6 hrs. Direct Sun) - Full Shade (< 4 hrs. Direct Sun)
Average to Consistent Water Needs
Poor to Fertile Soil Quality
Growth Rate: Medium
Border Plant, Container, Cut Foliage, Attractive Foliage
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These are obviously well-cared-for plants. Properly packaged. Healthy specimens with proper coloring. They have been in most of the summer here (their toughest part of the year on a well-well-drained shoulder) and are doing just fine. I am back ordering some other fern varieties for this fall and happened to remember this order.... good stuff... and I don't review much, if ever. I like this place.
This was a well-packaged, healthy flat of 20 small Athyrium Pictum ferns. They were about 4" across with a healthy crown and root system. I expect the plants to do very well in their new home.