Athyrium niponicum var. niponicum

Common Name: painted lady fern 
Type: Fern
Family: Athyriaceae
Native Range: Eastern Asia
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Tolerate: Rabbit, Heavy Shade


Easily grown in humusy, organically rich, moist, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Soil must not be allowed to dry out. Best sited in locations sheltered from strong winds. Plants will naturalize by short, branching rhizomes to form colonies in optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Athyrium niponicum is a rhizomatous, deciduous fern with an arching habit that typically grows to 20” tall. It features a slowly spreading clump of bipinnate, medium green fronds with oval to lance-shaped toothed leaflets. Midribs and pinnae bases are tinged with red.

Var. niponicum includes the type strain of the species.

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

Specific epithet means Japanese.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Woodland gardens, shade gardens or shaded border fronts. Also effective in shaded areas along streams or ponds.