With so many varieties, sizes, and heights to choose from—including beautiful California natives—there are plenty of great options that are just right for your project.
Ancient plants for modern Bay Area gardensFerns are prolific plants that populate nearly every ecosystem in the world.
They are among Earth’s oldest plants and scientists have recorded the appearance of ferns over 300 million years ago. Today, they are the second most diverse group of vascular plants on earth.
Here in the Bay Area, the California Native Plant Society recognizes 113 ferns that are native to our state. And best of all, many of these hardy plants are perfect for integrating into a wide variety of landscapes in our region.
How ferns differ from flowering plantsFerns offer an evergreen appearance throughout the year along with strong textural contrast to trees and other shrubs or perennials.
According to the US Forest Service | USFS, evergreen ferns do not have flowers or seeds. They reproduce by tiny spores called sori under the pinna (leaves) and can sometimes even reproduce vegetatively.
Botanically, ferns have been categorized with other spore-bearing vascular plants, often called “fern allies”. Recent genetic studies in fact reveal important and interconnected relationships among ferns and their allies in the landscape.
The cladogram below from the USFS shows these important plant relationships where ferns thrive.
Ferns do share a root, stem, and leaf structure similar to flowering plants. The graphic below breaks down the components of a fern and describes their function or purpose.
Year-round evergreen beauty in filtered light locationsMost ferns prefer open shade. But surprisingly, they don’t do well in very deep shade that never gets sunlight. They prefer dabbled shade with some filtered light that tree branches overhead often provide. They also do best in soil with high quantities of organic matter that’s moist and frequently watered.
To maintain an attractive appearance for ferns, it’s best to trim off old, yellowing fronds which will promote new growth. And with the addition of a high-quality, slow-release fertilizer—like G&B Organics All Purpose 4-4-4 fertilizer—in the late winter, you can help ferns look lush and deep green throughout the growing season.
Tina Roushall | Tina Roushall Gardens
Check out these ferns for cool Bay Area landscapesFrom very large to small, vertical or creeping, for partial sun or heavy shade, and from lacy to woolly, there are many fern varieties to complement and enhance just about any Bay Area landscape.
Some of the talented Landscape Pros that work with us have helped us select a group of great fern options for cool Bay Area landscapes—including many California natives. Consider adding them to your project plant list.
Jenni Brummett | Pacific Nurseries
Interested in using ferns for cool Bay Area landscapes?If you want to learn more about cool ferns for your project, just contact one of our experts online at Pacific Nurseries to check on availability and container sizes that we produce. Or just give us a call at 650.755.2330.
You can also check out our Growing Plant List. This comprehensive, alphabetized and searchable list includes all of the plants that we’re growing right now in available sizes. And if the plant you want is not on our list, we’ll do all that we can to get you what you want, when you need it.
All of the featured ferns in the group above are typically available but quantities can change quickly or be depleted due to market demand.
Just attach your Microsoft Excel .xlsx plant list to our online form to PLACE AN ORDER. We can also provide an Estimate for one item or for an entire installation.
As Director of Operations, Will Baldocchi focuses on operations management, sales, and how to improve the customer experience at Pacific Nurseries. He also continues a proud family tradition of helping Bay Area Landscape Professionals succeed with high-quality landscape material and great service. Email Will or give him a call at 650.755.2330.