What is Shield Fern Plant? – How to Grow Southern Shield Ferns in Gardens?

Hey folks! We are back with another plant’s knowledge. Have you ever heard about shield fern plants? Do you know how to grow them? How to take care of them? Are you a shade lover? If yes, then it’s great that you are here. Shade lovers aren’t bothered by any deer browsing, they try to grow southern shield ferns.

But do you know exactly about it? From South Carolina through Florida, west into west Texas, and south to the Caribbean Islands, this fern species is native. Once the plant has established itself in these areas, Southern Shield Fern care is modest. 

Key takeaways:

  • They do prefer shade to partial shade with dripping limestone, ravines, low woods, riverbanks, and marshes.
  • The other names of river fern, southern maiden fern, wood fern, and common maiden fern.
  • The planting of shield fern plants is preferred in moist soil, rich in organic matter.
  • It does scale a pH between 6.1 and 7.8.

Do you know One of the most beautiful ferns in the woods is the Southern Shield Fern? Its deciduous, soft-looking fronds make it one of the most beautiful of our native ferns, and its adaptability to the southern garden makes it one of the most popular. Let’s learn more about this fern plant in detail. 

GENUS NAMEDryopteris
COMMON NAMEWood Fern
PLANT TYPEPerennial
LIGHTPart Sun, Shade
HEIGHT1 to 3 feet
WIDTH1 to 3 feet
SEASON FEATURESWinter Interest
SPECIAL FEATURESGood for Containers, Low Maintenance
ZONES3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
PROPAGATIONDivision

What is a Shield Fern?

Growing southern shield fern plant prefers shade to partial shade with dripping limestone, ravines, low woods, riverbanks, and marshes. The shield fern (Thelypteris kunthii) has several common names, including river fern, southern maiden fern, wood fern, and common maiden fern. In east-west Texas it is called the river fern because it only grows near or near water, while in east-central Texas the fern is only found in moist wooded environments, Hence the name wood fern.

Ferns are great plants for shady gardens, and the southern shield fern is no exception. This Florida native goes by several other names, including Southern Wood Fern and Queens’ Maiden Fern. Large, triangular leaves emerge in spring and grow to three to four feet tall.

Bright green foliage complements other shade lovers like cast-iron plants throughout the summer. Then in autumn, the leaves turn into rich bronze. Because it will form clumps and spread over time, southern shield fern is a good ground cover, although it may need some tameness to keep it contained.

This versatile fern likes moist soil but is also well drought tolerant. It’s even resistant to deer, making it ideal for gardeners who have trouble finding plants that deer won’t eat. Southern Shield Fern is also known as Dryopteris normalis, Dryopteris saxatilis, Thelypteris macrorhizoma, Thelypteris normalis, Thelypteris unca, Southern Shield Fern, Southern Wood Fern, Southern Maiden Fern, River Fern, and Widespread Maiden Fern. You don’t have to live near the coast to successfully grow southern shield fern.

Shield Fern Plant tolerates short periods of drought and does well in USDA hardiness zones 7 to 10. Choose a partially shaded planting site with moist soil, rich in organic matter, good drainage, and a pH between 6.1 and 7.8. Take soil samples to a nearby Cooperative Extension Service for analysis.

Growing Southern Shield Fern Plant 

Like other ferns, the shield fern is characterized by its long, pale green leaves. These pinnate leaves have hairs on the top and bottom. This fern is an excellent low-maintenance groundcover fern for shady areas of the landscape. It can reproduce by root division and, as mentioned, is deer resistant some examples of deer-resistant herbs and vegetables are Radishes, Eggplant, Fennel, Lavender, Thyme, and Chives. 

For more such plant related-articles, you may also read, How to grow Angel vine in a pot? – Care, Growth, and facts

The plant spreads by rhizomes to form colonies and quickly fill an area. Caring for Southern Shield Fern When planting Southern Shield Ferns, choose a shady to a partially shaded area with average to rich, moist, well-drained areas, although Shield ferns can tolerate poor drainage. Fern care is minimal. Water during droughts and prune dead leaves before spring to encourage new growth. 

How do you care for Southern Shield Ferns in Gardens?

Below are the caring tips for your plant. Read them properly and follow them. They are as follows:

Sunlight Needs

  • This plant requires partial shade to full shade for the healthy growth of the plant. 
  • This plant will not grow well in direct sunlight so you have to be cautious in this. 
  • You will observe rust spots on the fronds if you will plant them in full sunlight. 
  • This shows that the plant will require more water to grow. 

Watering Requirements

  • This plant will grow well if you provide it with a good amount of water daily, especially if you’re growing it in full sunlight.
  • You have to water it 1 inch in every week.
  • Though it is a drought-tolerant plant and remains without water for a long, it will not look good in that condition.
  • At the time the plant is growing, it requires more water to develop strong roots.
  • When it becomes mature, then reduce the frequency of watering the plant. 

Fertilization needs 

  • Though this plant does not need to be fertilized daily, you can provide it with fertilizer once time in a year.
  • You can make use of slow-release fertilizer at the time of spring.
  • It will help in the vigorous growth of the plant. Also, you can apply some organic mulch at the base of the soil.
  • You have to keep the soil moist so fertilizing is important as it will help in growing the plant in full sunlight by providing it with nutrients. 

Temperature Preferences

  • The temperature requirement of this plant is moderate, you have to provide it with an average room temperature. 
  • These plants will be affected by the arrival of frost. 
  • It is suggested to move this brand to the greenhouse at the time of winter.
  • To protect your plant from the frost. You have to change its location and provide it with its Preferred temperature requirement. 

Pests And Diseases

  • Pests and diseases tend to come to a plant to ruin its growth. 
  • But you will be happy to know that this plant is free from pests and diseases. 
  • They will remain healthy for a long but also will develop spots on the fronds with some time. 
  • So, you have to control if there are some fungal infestations. You have to do so with the help of a fungicide.

Pruning Requirements

  • Every plant requires pruning to maintain a healthy shape and size. 
  • This plant does not require much pruning as it will not grow wild in your area. 
  • You can trim it off if the plant is growing vigorously. 
  • It will help in promoting the growth of the plant and make use of sterilized scissors for doing so. 

Soil Type

  • The type of soil required by this plant is well-drained and moist soil. 
  • This variety will not grow well in the poor soil but if you feed them with it, then be cautious that it does not remain soggy.
  • Provide them with clayey soil and loamy soil. 

Where to Plant Wood Fern? 

As you are looking to plant wood ferns in your home garden, it’s great, so now you should know where to plant wood ferns. You have to plant the wood fern in the location where it receives shade, i.e.; partial shade to full shade. 

You have to provide them with humus-rich, well-drained soil. Strong winds will not be able to bear by the younger plants. So, you have to choose a sheltered location for your plant. 

Every variety of the wood fern is different, which includes their different heights, growing rates, and spreading rates. So, you have to choose according to your available location. They will be highly visible in your location, so it is a great choice for your location.

Wrapping up the context 

In this article, you come to know about shield fern plants. Ferns are great plants for shady gardens, and the southern shield fern is no exception. This Florida native goes by several other names, including Southern Wood Fern and Queens’ Maiden Fern. Large, triangular leaves emerge in spring and grow to three to four feet tall.

Bright green foliage complements other shade lovers like cast-iron plants throughout the summer. Then in autumn, the leaves turn into rich bronze. Because it will form clumps and spread over time, southern shield fern is a good ground cover, although it may need some tameness to keep it contained. I hope this article will be helpful for you all. 

Thanks for reading! Happy Gardening!

Becky Decker

Becky Decker, our esteemed Editor-in-Chief, is a passionate gardener with years of experience in the world of horticulture. With her guidance, BonjourGreen.com aims to be your trusted companion on your gardening journey. Featured In   Becky Decker’s expertise and gardening wisdom have been recognized and featured in various prominent publications, including:   Homesandgardens.com Yahoo.com Urbansplatter.com Inkl.com Foliagefriend.com Yahoonews  Experience & Background   Becky Decker’s love for gardening has been a lifelong journey. She has honed her skills through countless seasons of planting, nurturing, and harvesting a wide variety of plants, flowers, and vegetables. Her deep-rooted knowledge is complemented by her Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from the University of Green Valley.   Prior to leading BonjourGreen.com, Becky worked as a garden consultant, helping countless individuals turn their outdoor spaces into vibrant, thriving gardens. Her experience spans over a decade, making her a trusted authority in the gardening community.   The Birth of BonjourGreen.com   Inspired by her passion for gardening and her desire to share her expertise with a wider audience, Becky Decker launched BonjourGreen.com in 2021. This platform serves as a hub for gardening enthusiasts of all levels, from beginners to seasoned pros.   At BonjourGreen.com, we are committed to providing you with comprehensive guides, expert advice, and hands-on tips to help you achieve success in your gardening endeavors. Whether you have a small balcony garden or a sprawling backyard paradise, we have the information you need to make your garden flourish.   Our Mission   BonjourGreen.com is more than just a gardening website; it’s a community of gardeners who share a common love for nurturing the Earth. Our mission is to empower you with the knowledge and resources to create beautiful, sustainable gardens that bring joy and tranquility to your life.   Join Us on This Green Journey   We invite you to explore BonjourGreen.com and embark on your gardening journey with us. Whether you’re seeking advice on planting techniques, pest control, landscaping ideas, or the latest gardening trends, you’ll find it all right here.   Connect with us, ask questions, and share your gardening stories. Together, we’ll cultivate a thriving community of gardeners and help each other make the world a greener, more beautiful place.   Let’s dig in and grow together at BonjourGreen.com, where gardening dreams bloom!

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