About this cultivar:
Athyrium niponicum var. pictum 'Silver Falls' is a 2000 introduction from Oregons Diana Ballantyne. It primarily differs from var. pictum by having more silver in the fronds and a longer period of good silver colour. In 2012 it was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit.
As for the species: Athyrium niponicum var. pictum, commonly known as Japanese painted fern, is a rhizomatous, deciduous fern with an arching habit. It features a slowly spreading clump of triangular, variegated fronds. Fronds are a soft grayish-green with an overlay of silvery hues accented by contrasting dark maroon midribs. Silvering is best for several weeks in the spring, with fronds becoming greener as temperatures rise.
Specific epithet niponicum means Japanese and pictum means painted.
- Position: Partial shade, Full shade
- Soil: Almost any soil - grows well in Ballyrobert!
- Flowers: Non-flowering, but interest January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
- Other features: Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit (RHS AGM), Suitable for Container, Woodland Plant, Interesting Foliage or Fruit
- Hardiness: H5 - Hardy in most places throughout the UK even in severe winters (-15 to -10°C), Fully hardy - grows well in Ballyrobert!
- Habit: Clump forming, Bushy
- Foliage: Deciduous
- Height: 60 - 90 cm (2 - 3 ft)
- Spread: 30 - 60 cm (1 - 2 ft)
- Time to full growth: 5 to 10 years
- Plant type: Herbaceous Perennial, Fern
- Colour: Purple, green
- Goes well with: -
About this genus:
Athyrium (Lady ferns) have long been valued (case in point: the Victorian fern craze) for being an easy-to-grow and spectacular looking genus of, tough, deciduous, garden ferns. Although the Japanese painted fern, Athyrium niponicum, was only used in the garden relatively recently it is now the most popular species.
The sheer volume of named cultivars of Athyrium for sale is incredible. Despite the popularity of the genus Athyrium most gardeners have never grown more than a fraction of the 80-plus species
As mentioned, Athyrium niponicum is also extremely popular and was selected as the 2004 Perennial Plant of the Year. Many wonderful cultivars are around because of the diversity of the foliage colour.
As you can imagine by their popularity, most members of the genus Athyrium are quite easy to grow in a wide variety of garden conditions. Despite a reputation as shade-only plants many Athyrium will do well in sun as long as there is enough moisture to stop them drying out (think: they are often grown and displayed in hot, humid, sunny, glass houses aren't they!!!?)