Athyrium 'Branford Rambler'

Overall Plant
Common Name: Japanese painted fern 
Type: Fern
Family: Athyriaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Tolerate: Rabbit, Heavy Shade


Easily grown in humusy, organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. Best sited in sheltered locations. Best silvery frond color occurs in light shade. Too much sun often results in a bleaching of the attractive frond colors. Tolerates more soil dryness than some other ferns in this genus, but soils must not be allowed to dry out.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Athyrium is a genus of ferns of about 180 species. They are found mostly in moist forest and woodland settings in both temperate and tropical areas.

Genus name comes from Greek athyros meaning "doorless" in reference to the slowly opening hinged indusia (spore covers).

'Branford Rambler' resulted from a cross between A. felix femina and A. niponicum 'Pictum'. It is a clump-forming, deciduous fern that features upright, dark green fronds growing to 24" with maroon to red central stipes (stems). Dense foliage forms an attractive ground cover for moist, shady spots when plants are massed.


No serious insect or disease problems. Fronds frequently become somewhat tattered in appearance by mid summer.


Woodland gardens, shade gardens or shaded border fronts.