QUESTION: Is hay scented fern evergreen? I was hoping to plant something that looks good all year.
ANSWER: No, this is a deciduous plant. The hay scented fern is frequently used as ground cover because of how thick the plant grows.
It spreads through rhizomes and can easily take over an area in only two to three years. In the eastern portion of the United States the hay scented fern is considered invasive.
However, should you decide this is the plant for your landscaping needs, it’s low-maintenance and has a few growing conditions which are easy to meet.
To begin, when growing the hay scented fern, it’s important to plant it in an area with full to partial shade. These plants naturally grow in wooded areas, so they’re accustomed to little or dappled sunlight.
These plants aren’t picky about soil type as long as it’s rich in nutrients and drains adequately. Hay scented ferns are perennial plants and remain hardy in planting zones three through eight.
Since these are perennial plants which are great for use as groundcover or border plants, be mindful of what you plant them with.
As mentioned, these ferns spread quickly. If you grow them alongside other perennial flowers, there’s a good chance they’ll choke other plants out.
For this reason, hay scented ferns are best planted in their own growing location.
Also, be sure to space the plants adequately as each plant can become as tall as three feet tall and equally as wide.
The only care hay scented ferns require is to be watered deeply their first year. Once they become established, you shouldn’t need to water them again unless the growing location goes through periods of severe drought.
Hay scented ferns can be divided throughout the growing season if their growing area is becoming taken over by the plants and there are issues with adequate airflow.
As discussed in the beginning, at the end of the growing season, the plants begin to drop their fronds. You can allow them to do this on their own.
However, when you notice the plants are beginning to go dormant, cut them back to ground level for a clean look.
They’ll return the following year and, as long as cared for properly, should continue to return for up to a decade.
When you know your plants are reaching the end of their lifecycle, they can be propagated by rhizomes or spores.
In theory, once you have a hay scented fern you should never need to purchase another one.
This type of fern has no serious issues with pests or diseases. Instead, they’re frequently used to deter certain pests.
Though hay scented ferns aren’t evergreen plants, they serve many purposes during their growing season.
Plus, they’re low-maintenance and easy to care for as they head into dormancy each year. If you have the space for this plant, consider adding hay scented ferns to your growing location.