Male Fern

Availability: Out of stock

Bronzy new growth becomes dark green, with the symmetrical pinnately compound fronds of the native Male Fern (Dryopteris filix-mas)! This clump-forming Fern is found throughout North America and the Pacific Northwest. Featuring an upright habit that creates fountains of fine-textured divided and lustrous leaves, spouting from a single crown.

Snip a few fronds to add greenery to your indoor bouquets! By autumn, you'll enjoy a golden to orange fall color as the leaves prepare for winter, however, in mild winter climates, the leaves can remain semi-evergreen!

Named because it was once considered the companion to the Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina), the Male Fern is one of the most common Ferns of the temperate Northern Hemisphere, growing throughout USDA planting zones 4 to 8. These easy-to-grow shade-loving perennial Ferns can grow between 2-4 feet tall and wide depending on conditions and planting location.

Planting and Application:

Like all Ferns, the Male Fern favors damp shaded areas and is common in the understory of woodlands, but is also found in shady places on banks and clamoring among rocks. So of course, you can use this lacy greenery as accents, groupings, and long winding ribbons of lacy greenery throughout Rock Gardens, and on the margins of water gardens, ponds, and streams as long as they are in the shade.

Either way, the Fern provides a grand statement in the understory garden. Happily naturalizing beneath the canopy of large trees and shrubs. Use Male Fern as fringy facer plants to hide the bare leggy stems of older plants and hedges, or as a lacy foundation planting along the shaded side of your home. Ferns are gorgeous when used as backdrops or pathway edging, adding a lovely ambiance that sets everything else off magically.

If you have a tricky location, where only moss seems to grow, plant this lush greenery there instead! Even shaded container gardens, planters beneath covered patios, and around protected balconies are favorable for these Ferns! You'll gain privacy and some shade around your seating areas and the cooling greenery that only a stand of Ferns can provide your private nooks and meditation areas!

The crown of this Fern produces multiple plants, so divide the Male Fern regularly to increase your plants and to keep the symmetry, or allow it to become large clumps and drifts, allowing it to naturalize freely to fill large areas in refreshing greenery!

  • Bronze New Growth Matures Dark Green
  • Finely-Cut Compound Foliage
  • Upright Clumping Dense Fountains - Naturalizes
  • Golden Orange Fall Color - Can Remain Semi-Evergreen In Warm Winters
  • Great in Planters, Shade Gardens, Edging, Facer Plants, En Masse & Backdrops

#ProPlantTips for Care:

These native Ferns prefer shade to part sun, requiring regularly moist, fertile, acidic well-drained soil locations. However, Male Ferns can also grow in dense shade and tolerate draining clay. The foliage can remain semi-evergreen in mild winter climates! Provide regular water access through their first year and add a 3-4 inch deep layer of compost and/or arborist mulch around the crowns (not covering them).

In the early spring, rake or trim out any dead debris and old fronds from the clumps. Also in early spring, divide clumps and redistribute them throughout your landscape as needed. Seldom eaten by deer or rabbits, these are perfect edging and mass plantings around your out-of-the-way shaded landscapes!

  • Hardy Full to Part Shade Tolerant Native Fern
  • Any Well-Drained Slightly Acidic Soil
  • Regular Moisture Access
  • Clean Mounds In Early Spring
  • Deer & Rabbits Seldom Eat These Plants

Cool and refreshing, bronzy green then gold, the native Male Fern will add lush and rugged beauty to your shaded landscapes with ease! Order yours today at!

Buying Options for Plants

Nature Hills sells a large variety of plants with several options available. Plants are offered in both potted containers and as dormant bare root without soil. Here is a helpful resource to understand your options as you create a beautiful landscape with help from Nature Hills.

Ever wonder what a larger plant will mean for your landscape? Container Sizes are really all about the age of the plant!

Seasonally, Nature Hills offers hand selected, high quality bare root trees, shrubs and perennials. Bare root plants are sold by height from the top of the root system to the top of the plant. Plants may be taller than the height minimums.

  • Popular sizes of select trees are 1 foot, 2 feet, 3 feet, etc.
  • Popular sizes of select bare root plants is 1 foot, 18 inches, etc.

Nature Hills Container Size by Volume

Keep in mind, specific varieties and different growing conditions can affect the rate at which plants grow. Variations in size may occur.

Young Plants to 18 Months
Size Volume
2"x2"x3" Ranges from .18 to .21 dry quarts / .198 to .23 dry liters in volume
4.5" Container Equal to .65 dry quart / .72 dry liter in volume
Sprinter Pot Equal to .63 dry quart / .69 dry liter in volume
4" Container Ranges from .31 to .87 / .35 to .96 dry liter in volume
6" Container Equal to 1.4 dry quarts / 1.59 dry liters in volume
1 Quart Equal to 1 dry quart / 1.1 dry liter in volume
5.5" Container Equal to 1.89 of a dry quart / 2.08 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x5" Ranges from .8 to 1.1 dry quarts / .88 to 1.2 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x6" Ranges from 1.0 to 1.3 dry quarts / 1.1 to 1.41 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x9" Ranges from 1.1 to 2.1 dry quarts / 1.2 to 2.3 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x10" Ranges from 1.7 to 2.3 dry quart / 1.87 to 2.53 dry liters in volume
Plants 18 Months - 2.5 Years Old
Size Volume
2 Quart Equal to 2 dry quarts / 2.2 dry liters in volume
#1 Container Ranges from 2.26 to 3.73 dry quarts / 2.49 to 4.11 dry liters in volume
5"x5"x12" Equal to 3.5 to 4.3 dry quarts / 3.85 to 4.74 dry liters in volume
Plants 2 - 4 Years Old
Size Volume
#2 Container Ranges from 1.19 to 1.76 dry gallons / 5.24 to 7.75 dry liters in volume
#3 Container Ranges from 2.32 to 2.76 dry gallons / 10.22 to 12.16 dry liters in volume
Plants 3 - 5 Years Old
Size Volume
#5 Container Ranges from 2.92 to 4.62 dry gallons / 12.86 to 20.35 dry liters in volume
#6 Container Ranges from 5.25 to 6.01 dry gallons / 23.12 to 26.42 dry liters in volume
#7 Container Ranges from 5.98 to 6.08 dry gallons / 26.34 to 26.78 dry liters in volume

About Plant Sentry™

Plant Sentry is designed to protect both consumers and the nursery trade from invasive plant pests and diseases. Sites that display the Plant Sentry protection badge are protected from consumers buying and nurseries shipping material carrying invasive pests and diseases.

This proprietary eCommerce software prevents the shipment of a restricted plant to each state. The Plant Sentry system includes a shipment certification program. The Plant Sentry Compliance Officer works closely with and each nursery or fulfillment center to ensure only compliant plants are sold to customers.

Click Here to learn more

Plant Sentry


To obtain a more accurate shipment time-frame, simply enter your zip code in the “Find Your Growing Zone” box to the right. Our plants are grown all over the country and lead time on items may be different because of this. Once your order is placed, you will also receive the specific shipment time-frame information as part of your order confirmation. Once an item ships, you will receive shipment notification and tracking numbers, so you can follow along while your plant travels to your doorstep. We use FedEx, UPS, or USPS at our discretion.

Due to winter weather we have put a hold on shipping to the areas shown below in grey. You can still order now and we will ship the plant to you during an appropriate time for your zone.

*If you have found your zone already, it will be highlighted in the table below.
Color Zone Times
3 Spring 2019
4 Now
5 Now
6 Now
7 Now
8 Now
9 Now
10 Now
11 Now

Shipping Rates

At Nature Hills we handle, package and ship the products you order with the utmost care to ensure healthy delivery. Shipping and handling charges are calculated based on the tables below. Please note that some items include an additional handling surcharge, these will be noted on the item's product page.

From To S&H
0 - 19.99 24.99
20 - 49.99 29.99
50 - 69.99 34.99
70 - 99.99 39.99
100 - 129.99 44.99
130 - 149.99 48.99
150 - 150+ Approx 28%

Click here to see our full rates


Male Fern Is Suited to Grow in Zones 4-8
Growing Zones 4-8
More Information
Brand Nature Hills' Choice
Botanical Name Dryopteris filix-mas
Type Perennial
Mature Height 2 - 4 feet
Mature Spread 2 - 4 feet
Sun Exposure Full Shade, Partial Shade
Soil Well Drained
Moisture Moderate/Regular
Growth Rate Medium
Foliage Green
Fall Color Yellow, Orange
Pollinator Friendly No
Pruning Time Early Spring