Autumn Fern ‘Brilliance’

Autumn fern ‘Brilliance’ is a popular selection grown for its dramatic new fronds that emerge a coppery red all through the growing season. That’s especially obvious as the new fiddleheads unfurl each spring.

Bronze new frond really stands out on Brilliance autumn fern.

I’ve grown regular autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora) for 30 years. I like the fact that it’s evergreen. The only other evergreen fern that I grow is holly fern, and I have to worry about whether it’s going to brown with cold North Texas winters where I garden (Collin County). Autumn fern does not turn brown.

Continued Below
Brilliance autumn fern as photographed in our home landscape earlier this week. Note how well the new fronds stand out.

What you need to know about autumn fern…
Full shade or morning sun with afternoon shade.
Native to Japan and China.
Winter hardy to Zone 5, so suited to all of Texas.
Highly organic, consistently moist soil.
Mature height 18-24 inches.
Arching growth habit.
Leaves emerge bright green, mature by early summer to rich, dark green looking much like Baker’s fern that florists use.
Spreads by underground rhizomes to fill beds.
Variety ‘Brilliance’ produces coppery new fronds.
Don’t be surprised by the rows of spores that will develop on the backs of your ferns’ leaves. They’re the normal reproductive mode of these handsome plants – not some mysterious insect eggs!

These are reproductive spores on the backs of the leaves. They’re normal. Let them be!
Posted by Neil Sperry
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