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Do you want a fern with cool green fronds that will make a quiet backdrop in a shady space and bring a feeling of serenity to the garden? If so, then choose something else, because this fern like to party! Brilliance Autumn Fern is a dynamic Spirit that bursts out of the ground in spring with unique brick-red fiddleheads, which expand to become glossy, head-turning, coppery-orange fronds. They eventually change to green, but the colorful new foliage continues to emerge throughout the growing season, creating a snazzy two-tone effect. Give your shady borders new life with this charming, semi-evergreen fern.
- Hardiness Zone: 5-8
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Autumn Fern hails from eastern Asia and is found in wooded hills in China, Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines. It is quite common in parts of Japan, growing almost like a groundcover. The Autumn Fern’s name is rather confusing, as its color is most vivid in spring, not autumn, although the cool weather of fall may deepen its bronzy hues. Perhaps this Spirit was named for the autumnal tones of its new foliage. The degree of coloration may vary from plant to plant. Brilliance is a special selection chosen for its particularly strong colors.
Brilliance Autumn Fern is a remarkably adaptable Spirit that can thrive in many parts of the country. In 1998, the Florida Nurserymen and Growers Association named Brilliance the Florida Plant of the Year, yet this is also a plant that can live where winter temperatures drop down to -20ºF. In the colder parts of its range, it will be semi-evergreen, but in mild regions (like Florida) it will be fully evergreen through the winter.
How to Grow
Give Brilliance Autumn Fern a bit of morning sun rather than deep shade to bring out the richest colors in its foliage. Don’t let it fry in hot afternoon sun, however. This tough Spirit can handle more dryness than other ferns once it’s established, but regular irrigation in rich, organic soil will produce the best specimens. Ferns are light feeders and don’t need much fertilizer, and no major diseases or pests bother them, including deer. Trim any dead or unsightly fronds in late winter. Brilliance is late to break dormancy and resume growth in spring, so be patient.
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