Athyrium niponicum is an attractive, deciduous fern plant. It has creeping rhizomes with a whorl of fronds growing from the basal rootstock. The fronds are triangular-shaped blades, 10 to 16 inches tall and 6 to 10 inches broad, pinnate, with 6-10 pairs of pinnae 4 to 9 cm long and 2 to 3cm broad, deeply lobed. The fronds are bright green with a dark red-brown stem in the wild plant. Fertile fronds form the spore-bearing sori on the underside of all of the pinnae. Athyrium niponicum has a low and mounding habit, slowly spreading by rhizomes to form dense colonies. The fronds are situated in a manner that makes a horizontal layering impact.
Scientific Name: Athyrium niponicum (Mett.) Hance
Synonymous: Athyrium nipponicum, Asplenium niponicum, Asplenium uropteron, Athyrium uropteron, Athyrium goeringianum.
Common Names: Japanese painted fern.
How to grow and maintain Athyrium niponicum:
It thrives best in partial to full shade or an area that gets dappled sunlight year-round.
It grows in well-drained, moist soil, and require organic matter to grow. The soil pH should be neutral or very slightly acidic for the ferns to grow properly.
Water your plant regularly and always keep the soil evenly moist but never allow your plant to sit in water.
It thrives well in room temperatures between 65 degrees Fahrenheit – 75 degrees Fahrenheit / 18 degrees Celsius – 24 degrees Celsius are ideal, and no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius).
During spring and summer, fertilize weekly or biweekly with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half. Deformed leaves with brown or yellow spots or edges are a sign of too much fertilizer.
Re-pot your ferns once every 2 years in the spring, moving the plant into a pot only one size larger.
Remove yellowed leaves and older fronds to protect the crowns and tender shoots. Keep to the desired height and shape with light pruning or clipping at any time.
Athyrium niponicum can be propagated by sowing spores in mid to late summer or by division in spring. To divide the plant first slowly remove the plant from its container and separate the plant into 2-3 clumps ensuring each clump has at least 1 growing tip. Then replant these clumps in nutrient-rich, well-drained soil and ensure the clumps remain moist, at least until the new fronds start to appear.
Pests and Diseases:
It has no serious pest or disease problems. They are susceptible to attacks by scales, spider mites, and mealybugs.