Ferns For Full Sun (10 Ferns That Tolerate Full Sun)


Many ferns live in forests and prefer to dwell in the shade of tall trees.  However, there are some that can tolerate full sun.

So, what are some ferns for full sun?  Ferns for full sun include: Bracken Fern, Japanese Climbing Fern, Maidenhair Spleenwort, Meadow Fern, Moa, Northern Maidenhair Fern, Pellaea, Sensitive Fern, Silver Elkhorn Fern, and Water Fern. Some of these ferns have attractive foliage and can grow quite tall!

Of course, all of these ferns tolerate full sun, but some can tolerate partial or full shade.

In this article, we’ll talk about 10 ferns for full sun.  We’ll also take a look at what they need for light, water, and other important growth factors.

Let’s begin.

10 Ferns For Full Sun

Here are 10 ferns for full sun to start with:

  • Bracken Fern
  • Japanese Climbing Fern
  • Maidenhair Spleenwort
  • Meadow Fern
  • Moa
  • Northern Maidenhair Fern
  • Pellaea
  • Sensitive Fern
  • Silver Elkhorn Fern
  • Water Fern

Let’s begin with Bracken Fern.

Bracken Fern

Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum) is a perennial deciduous fern that produces underground rhizomes.  Its light spores have allowed it to spread across the world.

Bracken Fern
Bracken Fern is a deciduous perennial that has spread across the world. It tolerates full sun.

Bracken Fern needs moderate to dry moisture levels, and it resists both humidity and drought.  Too much water causes root rot and can damage the plant.

Bracken Fern prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH of 5.5 to 7.5), but it can survive in a much wider range of soil pH.

Bracken Fern can tolerate severe cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 3a (as cold as -40 degrees Fahrenheit or –40 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 2 to 7 feet, with a width of 3 feet.

You can propagate Bracken Fern by division.

You can learn more about Bracken Fern from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Bracken Fern from the Tennessee Wholesale Nursery.

Japanese Climbing Fern

Japanese Climbing Fern (Lygodium japonicum) is a perennial fern that can smother entire trees.  It is considered invasive in some areas.

Japanese Climbing Fern
Japanese Climbing Fern is a perennial that tolerates full sun.

Japanese Climbing Fern can tolerate wet, moderate, or dry moisture levels, and it resists both humidity and drought.

Japanese Climbing Fern prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH of 5.6 to 7.5).

Japanese Climbing Fern can tolerate some cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 7a (as cold as 0 degrees Fahrenheit or –18 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 90 feet in nature!

You can propagate Japanese Climbing Fern by division or by stolons and runners.

You can learn more about Japanese Climbing Fern from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Japanese Climbing Fern from Woodlanders.

Maidenhair Spleenwort

Maidenhair Spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes) is a perennial evergreen fern that forms underground rhizomes.           

Maidenhair Spleenwort
Maidenhair Spleenwort is a perennial evergreen fern that can tolerate full sun and drought.

Maidenhair Spleenwort prefers moderate to dry moisture levels, and it can be used in xeriscaping.

Maidenhair Spleenwort prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers acidic soil (pH of 5.1 to 6.5).

Maidenhair Spleenwort can tolerate extreme cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 2a (as cold as -50 degrees Fahrenheit or –46 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 6 to 12 inches.

You can propagate Maidenhair Spleenwort by division.

You can learn more about Maidenhair Spleenwort from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Maidenhair Spleenwort from Fancy Fronds Nursery.

Meadow Fern

Meadow Fern or Marsh Fern (Thelypteris palustris) is a perennial deciduous fern that forms underground rhizomes.  

Meadow Fern Marsh Fern
Meadow Fern or Marsh Fern is a deciduous perennial fern that can tolerate full sun.
Image courtesy of user:
Agnieszka Kwiecień,
Nova via:
Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.
wikimedia.org/wiki/File:
Thelypteris_palustris_02.jpg

Meadow Fern prefers moderate to wet moisture levels.

Meadow Fern prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers acidic soil (pH of less than 6.0).

Meadow Fern can tolerate extreme cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 3b (as cold as -35 degrees Fahrenheit or –37 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 12 to 30 inches.

You can propagate Meadow Fern by division.

You can learn more about Meadow Fern from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Meadow Fern from American Meadows.

Moa

Moa (Psilotum nudum) is a perennial evergreen fern that is ephiphytic (it climbs up and lives on other plants, such as trees).

Moa
Moa is a perennial evergreen fern that is epiphytic and tolerates full sun.

Moa prefers moderate to wet moisture levels.

Moa prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial or full shade.  It prefers acidic to neutral soil (pH of 5.6 to 7.5).

Moa cannot tolerate much cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 9a (as cold as 20 degrees Fahrenheit or –7 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 12 inches, with a width of 18 to 24 inches.

You can propagate Moa by stolons and runners.

You can learn more about Moa from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Moa from Black Jungle Exotics.

Northern Maidenhair Fern

Northern Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum) is a perennial deciduous fern that has underground rhizomes.

Northern Maidenhair Fern
Northern Maidenhair Fern is a deciduous perennial fern that tolerates full sun.

Northern Maidenhair Fern prefers moderate to wet moisture levels.

Northern Maidenhair Fern prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial or full shade.  It prefers neutral soil (pH of 6.8 to 7.2).

Northern Maidenhair Fern can tolerate severe cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 3a (as cold as -40 degrees Fahrenheit or –40 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 12 to 24 inches, with a width of 12 to 24 inches.

You can propagate Northern Maidenhair Fern by division or spores.

You can learn more about Northern Maidenhair Fern from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Northern Maidenhair Fern from Spring Hill Nursery.

Pellaea

Pellaea is a perennial fern that has underground rhizomes.

Pellaea falcata
Pellaea is a perennial fern that tolerates full sun and drought.

Pellaea prefers moderate moisture levels, but it can tolerate drought.

Pellaea prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers acidic soil (pH of 5.0 to 6.0).

Pellaea cannot tolerate much cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 9a (as cold as 20 degrees Fahrenheit or –7 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 8 to 16 inches.

You can propagate Pellaea by spores.

You can learn more about Pellaea from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Pellaea from Plant Delights.

Sensitive Fern

Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis) is a perennial deciduous fern that produces underground rhizomes and it is suitable for bog gardening.

Sensitive Fern
Sensitive Fern is a deciduous perennial fern that tolerates full sun.

Sensitive Fern needs moderate to wet moisture levels, and it resists both deer and rabbits.

Sensitive Fern prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial or full shade.  It prefers acidic to neutral soil (pH of 5.6 to 7.3).

Sensitive Fern can tolerate severe cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 3a (as cold as -40 degrees Fahrenheit or –40 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 1 to 4 feet, with a width of 6 to 18 inches.

You can propagate Sensitive Fern by division.

You can learn more about Sensitive Fern from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Sensitive Fern from Prairie Nursery.

Silver Elkhorn Fern

Silver Elkhorn Fern or Silver Staghorn Fern (Platycerium veitchii) is a perennial evergreen fern that is epiphytic and produces gray fronds that look like they are covered with felt (like Elk or Deer antlers).

Silver Staghorn Fern
Silver Elkhorn Fern or Silver Staghorn Fern is a perennial evergreen that tolerates full sun.

Silver Elkhorn Fern needs moderate moisture levels, and it resists both humidity and drought.

Silver Elkhorn Fern prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.

Silver Elkhorn Fern can tolerate some cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 9b (as cold as 25 degrees Fahrenheit or –4 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 1 to 2 feet, with a width of 1 to 2 feet.

You can propagate Silver Elkhorn Fern by offsets.

You can learn more about Silver Elkhorn Fern from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Silver Elkhorn Fern from Urban Tropicals.

Water Fern

Water Fern (Azolla filiculoides) is a perennial fern that is suitable for bog gardening and can be treated as an annual.

Water Fern
Water Fern is a perennial fern that tolerates full sun and can survive in water.

Water Fern can tolerate wet moisture levels and survives in water.

Water Fern prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It can survive in a vast range of water pH levels (pH of 3.5 to 10).

Water Fern can tolerate some cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 7a (as cold as 0 degrees Fahrenheit or –18 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of half an inch, but it can spread 1 to 3 feet.

You can propagate Water Fern by seeds.

You can learn more about Water Fern from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Water Fern from Aquasabi.

Conclusion

Now you know about 10 ferns for full sun and how to take care of them.  They might provide inspiration to help you to improve your landscape.

I hope you found this article helpful.  If so, please share it with someone who can use the information.

If you want to read some of my most popular posts, check out the “Best of GreenUpSide” page here.  Enjoy!

~Jonathon

jonathon.david.madore

Hi, I'm Jon. Let's solve your gardening problems, spend more time growing, and get the best harvest every year!

Recent Posts