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Japanese Painted Fern: Award-Winning Planting for Shady Areas - Now for Light Sun, Too!
Michalis 'BIG Mike' Kotzakolios

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When I say 'fern, other than Boston fern', you may think of a shy, shade-loving woodland plant. You'd be right, of course--but only partly. There's nothing shy about the Japanese Painted Fern, and while it likes shade as well as its woodland cousins, it can tolerate light sun, as well!

The only word for the plant itself is "stunning"; rich, dusky gray-green leaves are set off by startlingly bright red veins. With a maximum growing height of 18-20 inches--almost two feet!--the Japanese Painted fern (Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum') is a must-have for casual gardeners and gardening devotees alike.

Like its fellow orientals--kudzu, honeysuckle, privet--the Japanese Painted Fern thrives in the South. But this incredible plant doesn't stop there; it can sometimes live as far north as Zone 3.

With so much to recommend it, it's hardly any wonder that the Japanese Painted Fern won the 2004 Perennial Plant of the Year award from the Perennial Plant Association?

Basic care for the Japanese Painted Fern is the same for any other fern, with two basic differences: first, as mentioned earlier, it can tolerate, even enjoy, some light sun, rather than just heavy shade. Second, it doesn't like too much water. It will need watering in a drought, but the soil should be well drained (rich compost or organic matter is best), and for the most part, it can fend for itself on rain water.

Adding a little compost each year should be enough to maintain your fern in good health; if a little additional fertilizer is required, use only time-release fertilizer, and use no more than half of the recommended amount for perennials.

A word of caution: if you plant your fern where it gets light sun, make sure that it gets morning sun, rather than afternoon sun, especially in the South.

The Japanese Fern takes little care or attention and rewards you with traffic-stopping beauty. Truly a plant worth growing!

BIG Mike is a well known author, developer and Adsense expert as well as the owner of Niche Maniacs - a unique Adsense Marketing System designed to build long-term passive income streams from Adsense, Amazon, YPN, Chitika and other PPC services.

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