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Alternative to Shuttlecock Fern (aka Ostrich Fern)

Anna33Anna33 Posts: 300
I really love the look of these ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris, to given them their proper name), with their upright shape, but on reading about them it seems that they can colonise and take over an area pretty quickly, which isn't that suitable for the shady patch I'm currently planning.

Are there any other alternatives to these ferns that have a similar upright habit, are also fern-y looking, are still fairly striking, and don't need too much cossetting? I'm planning a fern and foliage area, about 2mx2m approx (irregular shape, though), mostly full shade, but I'm at the very early stages of deciding on which plants are going in.


  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,967
    Dryopteris Felix-mas is an easy fern which will even grow in dry shade.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,756
    Dryopertis wallichania is lovely.  Dryopteris erythrosora if you want something evergreen.  Another favourite of mine is Cyrtomium fortuneii, which is also evergreen, although you may find it's foliage not "ferny-enough" for your tastes.
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,638
    How about Blechnum spicant, deer fern or hard fern? Fairly bullet proof and not too spreading.
  • Anna33Anna33 Posts: 300
    Thank you all. I've looked them all up, and I reckon Dryopteris wallichania is going to be my best bet.

    Having moved from a previous south facing suntrap into a new garden with completely different conditions, this is the first time I've needed to learn about ferns, so it has still been super useful having the other names thrown at me as well to research.
  • thenettlepatchthenettlepatch Posts: 1
    edited April 2021
    @Anna33 we are redesigning our garden and deliberately planting Ostrich Ferns as the first heads that sprout in spring are edible and I miss having them each spring. (I am from eastern Canada, where we call them "fiddleheads" and they are the highlight of spring each year!) You can make soup with them, put in ravioli, etc., but eating them as a side dish, simply steamed and served with a splash of vinegar and a blob of butter is the classic way . . . well, I am salivating just thinking about it. They have a gorgeous flavour between asparagus and broccoli. Have I convinced you yet? :D  

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