Best Large Ferns For Garden UK

To gardeners, the maintenance of their precious plants and the overall look of their garden are always the top-most priorities. While the major area of their garden soil is easily occupied, planting in the shaded portions becomes difficult with the less favorable temperatures, sun exposure, and soil conditions.

If you too are struggling with gardening because of the same, buying the best large ferns for garden will not only help in covering the empty spots but also add an exquisite touch to the overall appearance of the garden. A versatile species with both evergreen and deciduous types, these ferns are fit for mixed borders or for softening paths.

Are you also planning to plant a large fern as soon as possible? Check out our top 8 picks below. Here are the best large ferns available in the UK:

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Top-Rated 8 Best Large Ferns For Garden UK 2021

1. Dicksonia Antarctica

 Dicksonia Antarctica - Tree Fern Plant in 1.5L Pot best large ferns for garden uk reviews

Sold by Garden Haven, these Best Large Ferns For Garden UK is an absolute showstopper for your garden. The Dickinson Antarctica is half-hardy and needs extra care and protection during winter to remain evergreen. These deeply divided and glossy dark green plants are grown through spores and not imported.

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Key Features

  • Native to Australia
  • Brand: Garden Haven
  • Half-hardy
  • Fronds to 3m in length
  • Requires humus-rich soil

Pros

  • Absolute showstopper
  • Not imported
  • Evergreen if protected in winter
  • Deeply divided
  • Between 2-3 years old; suitable for pot size
  • Outstanding beauty
  • Tropical rainforest look
  • Partial or full shade requirement

Cons

  • Needs protection in winter to ensure growth
  • Slow-growing tree fern

Dickinson Antarctica fronds to 3m in length and flaunts red-brown steam and terminal rosette of arching, making it a plant of outstanding beauty that requires a humus-rich soil and partial or full shade.

This best large fern for tropical rain forest look is between 2-3 years old and suitable for pot size.

2. Dryopteris Erythrosora

 Dryopteris erythrosora - Japanese Shield Fern Plant in 9 cm Pot best large ferns for garden uk reviews

Also known as the Japanese Shield Large Fern Species or the Copper Fern, the Dryopteris Erythrosora is known for its rich bronze triangular fronds, occasionally having a pink tinge. These eventually age into lush dark green, creating a beautiful contrast. A deciduous fern, all its fronds die in autumn and regrow during spring.

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Key Features

  • Japanese Shield Fern Plant
  • Requires moist soil
  • Growth to a height of 60cm
  • Shady location
  • Brand: IR Plant and Garden Centre
  • Also known as Copper Fern and Autumn Fern

Pros

  • Fully hardy
  • RHS Award of Garden Merit
  • Tolerant of dry soil in shade
  • Can be grown in pots or containers
  • Suited for border planting
  • Suitable for softening a path
  • Fern Perennial Outdoor

Cons

  • Needs constant moisture
  • Slow-growing

Dryopteris Erythrosora from IR Plant and Garden Centre, also called the Autumn Fern, is known to be in a deciduous state while constantly requiring moisture in a shady location for proper growth.

Fully hardy, these best large ferns for border planting won the RHS Award of Golden Merit and can also be grown in pots or containers.

3. Athyrium Niponicum

Athyrium niponicum Metallicum - Japanese Painted Fern Plant in 9 cm Pot uk reviews

IR Plant and Garden Centre provide Athyrium Niponicum, also known as the Japanese Painted Ferm, in 9cm pots. With greyish-green fronds and a contrasting burgundy stem, this Cheap Evergreen Ferns UK is fully hardy, deeply cut, and can grow in partial or full shade.

It requires being evenly moist and neutral to acid soil for proper growth but is known for giving a classy look to your homes. It is the best large ferns for garden UK.

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Key Features

  • Japanese Painted Fern
  • Come in a 9cm pot
  • Brand: IR Plant and Garden Centre
  • Deciduous fern
  • Deeply cut
  • 8 to 12 inches tall

Pros

  • Fully hardy
  • Can grow in partial shade
  • Average rate of growth
  • Neutral to acid soil
  • Greyish-green fronds
  • Contrasting burgundy stems
  • RHS Award of Garden Merit Winner

Cons

  • Needs a rich evenly moist soil
  • Needs crown protection in winters

Rated as the best giant ferns for sheltered patio, Athyrium Niponicum var. pictum is also a winner of the RHS Award of Garden Merit. A deciduous fern with its fronds dying in autumn and fresh growth each spring, these grow up to as tall as 12 inches with an average growth rate.

4. Matteucia Struthopteris

 Matteuccia struthiopteris 'Ostrich Fern' Perennial Tree Fern 9cm Pot uk reviews

Suitable in borders or mass plantings, Matteucia Struthopteris is a Deciduous Tall Fern that flourishes in spring and summer. Its dark green fronds grow up to 1m-1.5m tall and 1m-1.2m in a spread, providing attractive lush greenery. The Ostrich Fern is fully hardy, relatively easy to grow, and highly tolerant of full shade.

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Key Features

  • Deciduous fern
  • 9cm pot size
  • 1m-1.5m height
  • 1m-1.2m spread
  • Flourishes in spring and summer
  • Supplied by Gardeners Dream Store
  • Common Name: Ostrich Fern

Pros

  • Fully hardy
  • Requires partial shade
  • Average growth rate
  • Tall dark green fronds
  • Does not bloom
  • Perfect for terrestrial gardens
  • Suitable in borders
  • Fit for mass plantings
  • Highly tolerant of full shade

Cons

  • Not suitable for hot, humid climates
  • Needs constant moisture

This is the best large ferns for terrestrial gardens. Supplied by the Gardeners Dream Store, Matteucia Struthopteris is commonly known as the Ostrich Fern because of its tall fronds that resemble ostrich feathers.

Thriving in humus-rich moist soils, these best large ferns for garden is known to produce colonies of ferns from the parent plant through its underground root network. It also does not bloom and has an average growth rate.

5. Osmunda Regalis

 Osmunda Regalis Blooming Royal Fern Deciduous Potted Outdoor Garden Shrub Plant uk reviews

Osmunda Regalis is the Best Garden Ferns UK With Foliage that turns red-brown in autumn and bright green in spring. Growing up to 2.5m tall, the fern also spreads around 1m wide. The fern is supplied by Gardeners Dream Store and can be planted anywhere in the garden, even under shaded areas.

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Key Features

  • Grows up to 2.5m tall
  • Spread around 1m wide
  • Partial shade positioning
  • Deciduous
  • Supplied by: Gardeners Dream Store
  • Common Name: The Royal Fern

Pros

  • Average growth rate
  • Feathery fronds
  • Fully hardy
  • Red-brown foliage in autumn
  • A perfect option for wet areas
  • Grows well in shade
  • Natural, round shape
  • Breathtaking look
  • Can be planted anywhere in the garden

Cons

  • Requires proper drainage in the soil

Commonly called The Royal Fern, Osmunda Regalis adds a breathtakingly beautiful look to your garden and is the best forest ferns for wet areas. With an average growth rate and feathery fronds, this fully hardy fern is naturally round and grows well in shade. It is well suited for moist and slightly acidic soils.

6. Asplenium Scolopendrium

 Asplenium Scolopendrium Angustatum - bareroot - 9cm- Fish or Wildlife Pond and bog Aquatic Plants uk reviews

Excellent for edging or as a groundcover, the Asplenium Scolopendrium is supplied by Lincolnshire Pond Plants with 9cm bareroot. With a long season of interest, this Best Hardy Ferns UK is naturally grown in Lincolnshire before and has a spread of up to 30 cm. Its narrow, upright, and lustrous wavy-edged fronds give it an eye-catching appearance.

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Key Features

  • Hart’s Tongue Fern
  • Grown in Lincolnshire
  • Grows up to 45cm at least
  • Spread: 30cm
  • Brand: Lincolnshire Pond Plants

Pros

  • Naturally grown
  • Provided with 9cm bareroot
  • Fully hardy
  • Average growth rate
  • Wavy-edged fronds
  • Fit for a shady mixed border
  • Tolerates dry soil
  • Versatile
  • Exposure to partial sun
  • A long season of interest
  • Evergreen

Cons

  • Requires excellent drainage in the soil

Asplenium Scolopendrium has an average growth rate and can tolerate dry soil too. Also known as the Hart’s Tongue Fern, it is fit for shady mixed borders and very versatile. Fully hardy, this best ferns for shade UK even requires less exposure to sun and remains lush and fresh-looking throughout the year.

7. Cyrtomium Fortunei

Cyrtomium fortunei Plant in 13cm Pot. Japanese Holly Fern uk reviews

Growing up to 2-foot long, Cyrtomium Fortunei is the Best Tropical Fern in UK and requires full to partial shade. However, too much sun exposure needs to be avoided.

Its pale-green fronds have an upright habit while the distinctive dark stems give it a striking appearance. It is the best large ferns for garden in the market.

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Key Features

  • Available in 13cm pot
  • Brand: Perfect Plants
  • Common Name: Japanese Holly Fern
  • Fully Hardy in UK
  • Also known as Fortune’s Cyrtomium

Pros

  • Likes damp, humus-rich soil
  • Semi-evergreen
  • Pale-green
  • Full to partial shade
  • Grows up to 2 foot-long
  • Leathery fronds
  • Average growth rate
  • Distinctive dark stems
  • Suited to woodland sites
  • Upright habit

Cons

  • Too much sun may bleach out the color
  • Good drainage essential to protect roots in winter

Available from Perfect Plants in 13cm pots, Cyrtomium Fortunei is the best growing ferns for woodland sites and likes damp, humus-rich soils. Because of leathery fronds that resemble holly branches, it is commonly known as the Japanese Holly Fern too. Semi-evergreen and non-flowering, it even requires medium maintenance.

8. Polystichum Munitum

 Polystichum munitum Fern Plant in 10cm Pot. Sword Fern uk reviews

Supplied by Perfect Plants in 10cm pots, Polystichum Munitum is the Best Large Fern Plant and aptly so because of its dark green leathery fronds resembling swords as well their distinctive shuttlecock shape arrangement. Even though it adapts to any soil type, it performs best in moist but well-drained soils.

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Key Features

  • Sold in 10cm pot
  • Distinctive shuttlecock shape
  • Western Sword Fern
  • Brand: Perfect Plants
  • Evergreen fern

Pros

  • Adapts to any soil type
  • Tolerates hot temperatures
  • Dark green leathery fronds
  • Grows up to 90cm long
  • Full or partial shade
  • Fit for a mixed border
  • Provides all-year foliage
  • Average growth rate

Cons

  • Grows best in moist but well-drained soil
  • Crowns need protection in winter

Growing up to 90cm tall in height, Polystichum Munitum is evergreen and provides all-year foliage even with an average growth rate, making the best large ferns for mixed borders. Requiring full or partial shade to grow, this Sword Fern is known for tolerating hot temperatures too.

Bottom Line

Whether fully hardy or half, requiring partial or full shade, evergreen or deciduous, this list includes the best varieties of large ferns you can find in the market at affordable rates. All naturally planted and sourced from top providers, these ferns are low maintenance and perfect for time-bound gardeners.

Large ferns are highly-preferred by all for the lush greenery they add wherever planted. With growth rates ranging from slow to average, these ferns can be the highlight of your garden or even just a background plant. We hope this guide helps you in choosing the best large ferns for garden.

Merry Gardening!

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