Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum'

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Photo Courtesy of Walters Gardens, Inc.
 Common Name: Fern-Japanese Painted

2004 Perennial Plant of the Year!
One of the most colorful ferns for the garden, the Japanese Painted Fern has silvery-grey fronds which are dusty purple towards the center. They are set off by the purplish-red veins and stems.

This fern has a low and mounding habit, slowly spreading by rhizomes to form dense colonies. The fronds are positioned in a way that creates a horizontal layering effect much like you see in Dogwood trees.

Origin: Not Native to North America


  12-18 Inches
  24 Inches
Foliage Color:
  Silver/grey shades
Hardiness Zone:
Find Your Zone
Sun or Shade?:
  Part shade (4-6 hrs. direct sun)
  Full shade (< 4 hrs. direct sun)
Wet or dry?:
  Average water needs
  Consistent water needs
Need critter resistant plants?:
  Rabbit resistant
How fast should it grow?:
When should it bloom?:
  Grown for its attractive foliage
How's your soil?:
  Poor Soil
  Average Soil
  Fertile Soil
Sweet or Sour Soil?:
  Acidic Soil (pH < 7.0)
  Neutral Soil (pH = 7.0)
What's your garden style?:


Border plants
Cut flower or foliage
Grown for attractive foliage


  Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year 2004
  Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit 1993
  MNLA Grower's Choice Award 2002

Homeowner Growing & Maintenance Tips:

Athyrium n. 'Pictum' grows best in moist soil with a neutral to moderately acidic pH. Light to partial shade is best; some sunlight is necessary to produce the vibrant coloring. To protect the crowns and tender shoots in the spring, it is best to leave the old fronds on the plant over the winter. They can be removed in the spring when the new fronds reach 6 inches tall. If division is necessary, do so in the spring.


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While every effort has been made to describe this plant accurately, please keep in mind that the height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates throughout the country. The description of this plant was written based on our experience growing it in Michigan (USDA hardiness zone 5) and on numerous outside resources.