New York Fern Plants – How To Grow New York Ferns In Gardens

Tiny New York Fern Plants
New York Fern
(Image credit: NatureServe)

New York fern, Thelypteris noveboracensis, is a woodland perennial that is native to and found throughout the eastern U.S. This is a forest plant primarily, and it also hugs streams and wet areas, so consider putting this native plant in your woodland garden or natural wetlands garden.

About New York Fern Plants

Ferns are the classic shade plant, perfect for those areas of the garden where other plants just don’t thrive. Growing New York ferns is a great option, as the plants are easy to maintain, come back year after year, and will spread to fill out space. These ferns produce trailing rhizomes, which help send up new fronds so that you get more each year. Thelypteris is the marsh fern family of plants. It grows in marshy, wooded areas and by streams. The fronds are a yellowish-green color and rise to about one to two feet (0.3 to 0.6 m) tall. The leaflets are twice divided, which gives the New York fern a wispy appearance. New York fern supports toads and helps fill in gaps in woodland gardens where spring flowers don’t appear.

How to Grow New York Ferns

New York fern care is certainly not intensive, and these plants will thrive if you give them the right conditions. They need at least part shade and prefer acidic soil. They tolerate moist conditions but, once established, rarely need watering. Plant these ferns in a shady, wooded area; in a marshy area; or near a stream for the best results. Expect your New York ferns to spread each year and to potentially out-compete some other plants. You can divide the roots to thin them out or to propagate and transfer additional plants to other areas of the garden. The drier and hotter the conditions, the less it will spread so keep this mind.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.