When to plant ferns in fall


Hello, I was planning on order some ferns – Ostrich fern, Lady Hardy fern and Japanese painted fern – and I was wondering if I can plant them at the end of October? We live in Toronto, near Bathurst and St Clair and they will be planted is a west-facing garden that is shady from mature oak trees. Thanks!


Hello and thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners

The quick answer to your question is “yes”.

Yes, you can plant those three kinds of ferns in late fall as the season which is hardest on them is our blazing hot summers.

You also mention that despite being in a west facing garden they are well protected by mature oaks which give a nice solid shade, perfect for ferns who will enjoy the ambient light without suffering the heat associated with the sunlight from a western exposure.

I would caution you however that both the Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) and the Lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina) are significantly larger than the Japanese painted ferns (Athyrium niponicum) so be careful how close you plant them together. The ostrich fern can also be quite an aggressive spreader so try to place it where it has room to roam.