Japanese Painted Fern

As low as $49.79 was $59.99
Availability: In stock

Make your landscape sing this season! It's easy when you choose the right plants to breathe life and color into even the dimly lit corners of your yard. Put the beautiful foliage of Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum') will have all eyes turning towards this shade-loving attention-getter!

Japanese Painted Fern has a 'weeping' shape. It develops into a grand garden fountain...but remains miniature-sized. These gorgeous ferns feature an incredible display of "painted" grayish-green leaves. You'll be fascinated by their purplish veining and accents and entranced by their overlay of silvery hues.

This exquisite selection is a garden standout and every leaf is a masterpiece! This is a great addition to your landscape. Even beginning gardeners will be able to enjoy watching this fern grow and spread to cover ground. Growing throughout chilly USDA planting zones 3 to 8, these colorful perennial Ferns grow under 2 feet tall and wide at maturity!

Planting and Application:

Perhaps you've tried other plants in your toughest shaded spaces...but nothing seems to take hold and thrive. Never fear, the rugged Japanese Painted Fern has won top accolades for good reason! Japanese Painted Fern performs beautifully in those mossy, low places in your yard that always stay a little wet. It thrives even in deep shade and in containers as a focal point planting!

Grant the shady spots in your garden some well-deserved attention. This award-winning choice brightens up the lowest layers of your design with its intricate, finely cut, silvery leaflets and dark maroon midribs and stems. Working under mature trees and their dappled-to-shaded understories, and along the north side of your home.

You'll never overlook the silvery, gray-green, and maroon hues of each feather frond. Turn a high-profile eyesore into a true design feature. While a single specimen can look extraordinary in small space gardens...this plant truly shines in a massed planting. Space them 12 inches apart and they'll grow together in a magnificent groundcover.

Run them all along the eastern edge of your Hydrangea beds. They'll bridge the gap to ground your mixed shrub borders with an elegant ribbon of color. Pair Japanese Painted Fern with Hostas and Heucheras for a spectacular shade garden. They'll thrive in low-lying spots beside stream beds.

More prosaically, why not elevate the look of that despised hollow by the gutter with some Rushes and a mix of our flowering Astilbe - turning it into a Rain Garden? This treatment would be amazing at the edge of a pond or water feature. You'll want to site a dock with a glider to take in the beauty of this thoughtful arrangement each morning with your cup of coffee.

Try them as a hard-working underplanting for your favorite Japanese Maple tree. If you have the room, plan an organic, free-form grouping of three or five...and run Japanese Painted Fern under all of them in a well-mulched bed. Don't forget the hammock stand and outdoor table to while away many an afternoon in style!

No Zen Garden or Meditation Garden would be complete without this powerful visual element at ground level. Soften the north side of placed boulders with several Japanese Painted Ferns, then add fine gravel mulch and rake regularly in a mindful meditation.

Use these perennial Ferns throughout your shaded areas, or give them as a very thoughtful gift plant to someone you love.

  • Perennial of the Year
  • Striking Foliage Makes This A Favorite!
  • Gray-Green Leaves With Silver Overcast, Purple Stems, Veins & Accents
  • Include Beautiful Leaves in Cut Arrangements
  • High Impact, Spreading Groundcover, Landscape Fill, Containers & Specimens

#ProPlantTips for Care:

You might think it would be finicky, but luckily, this Fern is also very durable and low maintenance! This is not the right choice for full-sun locations! Give Japanese Painted Fern full shade, or a bit of morning sun to bring out the colors even more. It loves moist soil and needs well-drained soil. The roots don't like to stay sopping wet.

A consistent schedule of moderate water delivers the best results. However, once the roots are well-established in the landscape, these fantastic workhorses will tolerate short periods of dryness. A 3-4 inch deep layer of wood chip mulch over the root systems to keep them cool and moist. Never allow mulch to rest directly against the burgundy stems...pull it back for proper air circulation.

This plant will grow in a slowly spreading fashion unless planted in rich soil to boost its performance. Add a few handfuls of compost during planting to enrich your soil...and top-dress with compost every other year or so.

This 2004 perennial plant of the year certainly deserves Nature Hills Root Booster during planting. The symbiotic ingredients work non-stop over the life of the plant to support each of the tiny feeder roots in their quest for nutrients and moisture.

Prune in early spring to trim off any winter damage and divide every 3-5 years to keep the clumps growing vigorously. We recommend you plant several, so you can always have a few fronds to include in cunning cut flower arrangements.

  • Does Well in Full Shade to Partial Shade
  • Extremely Cold Hardy
  • Any Rich Organic Well-Drained Soil
  • Prefers Consistent Moisture
  • Deer & Rabbits Don't Prefer the Taste
  • Low Maintenance

Place your order for our expertly grown Japanese Painted Fern today! This beloved perennial is a popular favorite for many...please order enough plants to complete your entire project without delay. Japanese Painted Ferns have earned their place in people's hearts the world over...order yours today at NatureHills.com!

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 NatureHills.com 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
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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


Japanese Painted Fern Is Suited to Grow in Zones 3-8
Growing Zones 3-8
More Information
Brand Nature Hills' Choice
Botanical Name Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum'
Type Perennial
Mature Height 12 - 18 inches
Mature Spread 18 - 24 inches
Sun Exposure Full Shade, Partial Shade
Soil Well Drained
Moisture Moderate to Higher
Growth Rate Medium
Foliage Color Silver, Purple, Gray-Green
Pollinator Friendly No
Pruning Time Early Spring