The Lady In Red Fern, otherwise known as the Athyrium Filix-Femina ‘Lady In Red’ or Painted Lady Fern ‘Burgundy Lace’, Japanese Painted Fern ‘Burgundy Lace’, Athyrium niponicum ‘Burgundy Lace’, is a rather well known fern plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.
Best known for its low maintenance and moderate growth, this fern will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its light green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.
Fortunately, taking care of your Lady In Red Fern is not too difficult – as long as you follow our guidelines in this Lady In Red Fern Care Guide. Now let’s get started.
In order to take proper care of your Lady In Red Fern you’ll need to keep in mind the following guidelines:
- Water: The Lady In Red Fern grows best with regular watering to keep the soil moist during the dry season. Reduce watering once the plant is established.
- Light: Keep your Athyrium Filix-Femina ‘Lady In Red’ in an environment where it can receive full to partial shade on a daily basis.
- Soil: Make sure to keep the Lady In Red Fern in soil with moist but well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of sand, loam, and clay.
And as with many other plants, these are the only three care factors you need to remember to make sure your Lady In Red Fern is, for the most part, healthy and well to survive.
Scientific / Botanical Aspects
In botanical terms, the Lady In Red Fern belongs to the Aspleniaceae family, the genus Athyrium and the species Niponicum, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Athyrium Filix-Femina ‘Lady In Red’ (a-THEE-ree-um FY-liks FAY-mee-nuh).
As with other Athyrium’s, the Lady In Red Fern is a herbaceous plant, which means it will die back to the ground every year.
The Lady In Red Fern is a plant native to the Eastern Asia.
As a rule of thumb, we recommend to always keep in mind your plants’ native region and environment, since these are the conditions that your Lady In Red Fern is most accustomed to, thus where it can most favorably.
With this in mind, the Athyrium Filix-Femina ‘Lady In Red’ will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 8 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a and the ideal climate zone is between 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.
Growth and Size
In terms of size and growth, the Lady In Red Fern is a relatively moderate grower, which makes things somewhat easy for any plant enthusiast.
But, how big does the Lady In Red Fern actually get? What should you expect in terms of size? Let’s dive right in…
The Athyrium Filix-Femina ‘Lady In Red’ can grow up to 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) in 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) and 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) in 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm).
These dimensions make the Lady In Red Fern a relatively medium fern compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.
This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 24″ (60cm) free so the Lady In Red Fern can spread to its best extent.
In terms of watering, the Lady In Red Fern is a fairly complicated plant to take care of.
This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.
Specifically, most experts agree that the Athyrium Filix-Femina ‘Lady In Red’ grows best with regular watering to keep the soil moist during the dry season. Reduce watering once the plant is established.
Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water.
As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Lady In Red Fern in soil with moist but well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive.
But, if you want a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to watering your Lady In Red Fern then you should consider the famous ‘finger’ test. To perform this test, you just need to put your finger in your plant’s soil and determine if it’s moist or not. If it is, then don’t water; if it isn’t, then please do. In any case, this test will allow you to know if your Lady In Red Fern needs or does not need water, every time.
The Lady In Red Fern’s ideal soil potting mix is made out of sand, loam, and clay.
In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably neutral to acid soil.
Light and Exposure
In terms of light & exposure, the Lady In Red Fern requires full to partial shade in order for it to thrive under the right conditions.
Most experts agree that this fern will do well as long as you keep it in partial sun to shade, and it will be able to grow properly.
Specifically, we recommend that you place your Athyrium Filix-Femina ‘Lady In Red’ in little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day).
Being a herbaceous plant, the Lady In Red Fern will die back to the ground every year.
But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (mid, late), the summer (early, mid, late), and during the fall.
The leaves from the Lady In Red Fern have a beautiful light green color during most of the year.
In particular, they have a compound (pinnately, bipinnately, palmately) and fronds arrangement in its leaves.
Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance
The Lady In Red Fern is well known for its tolerance to wet soil, clay soil and animals like rabbit and deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Athyrium Filix-Femina ‘Lady In Red’ will be fine.
Now, let’s talk garden and how your Lady In Red Fern will look best in it.
Most Athyrium Filix-Femina ‘Lady In Red’ owners agree that this fern will look great in most cottage, asian/zen and rustic gardens of all types.
Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of informal and cottage, city and courtyard, gravel and rock garden, and in traditional garden styles.
In particular, the Lady In Red Fern’s best location within your garden is in ponds and streams, beds and borders, and in underplanting roses and shrubs, others use it for landscaping in a houseplant, very wet areas, border, firescaping/fire wise, urban garden, mass planting, erosion control, container, or a woodland garden.
Lady In Red Fern’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Heuchera, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.
Others consider that a nice Astilbe will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!
Even though we covered a lot of care information for your Lady In Red Fern, remember the basics: sunlight, soil and water, as these should be enough to grow a healthy plant at home.