Japanese Beech Fern
And the award for best supporting actor goes to… Japanese Beech Fern! Not all Spirits can be stars. This fern doesn’t have brilliantly colored new growth. It doesn’t have a large, imposing stature or an evergreen presence in most parts of the country. But that’s ok. You need some simple green plants in your garden to give your eye a rest and to fill in space around your specimens. Can you imagine how crazy your garden would be if it were made up of nothing but flamboyant specimens competing for attention? Beyoncé needs her backup singers. Your Japanese Maple needs its Japanese Beech Ferns.
Ferns give a Jurassic Park feel to the landscape. These ancient Spirits, which existed with and even long before the dinosaurs, speak to us on a primitive level. They bring to mind an era we can only imagine, with lush ferny plants covering the ground as well as taking the form of tall trees. In modern gardens, their cool green fronds make shady spaces seem calming and peaceful. Japanese Beech Fern has subtle charms, with dark green coloring on the top surface and pale green on the flip side. It is native to Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and China.
Japanese Beech Fern will spread to form a groundcover in the moist, shady places where it thrives. Encourage it to fill in bare ground with regular water. If it oversteps its bounds, however, it is easily controlled. Extra plants can be dug up and moved elsewhere.
How to Grow
Grow this shade-loving Spirit in part to full shade, protecting it from direct sun during the hottest part of the day. Deep, rich, organic-laden soil is best, and regular irrigation will keep the foliage looking thrifty. Nearly all ferns appreciate moisture, but Japanese Beech Fern is especially fond of a steady supply of water (though the soil should drain well). Mulch to hold in moisture; compost or leaf mold serve as especially good mulches. Little fertilizer is necessary, as ferns are light feeders. Trim the previous season’s fronds back before new fiddleheads unfurl in spring. Japanese Beech Fern is evergreen in mild-winter areas.
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