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Brilliance Autumn Fern Brightens a Shade Garden

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Virtues: ‘Brilliance’ autumn fern provides color and texture in the shade garden from spring through fall (or year-round in warm climates). Its fronds emerge with beautiful orange tones in spring and take on russet shades in fall. Easy to please in the shade, this fern mixes well with other shade-garden foliage plants.

'brilliance' autumn fern

Common name: ‘Brilliance’ autumn fern

Botanical name:Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance’

Exposure: Part shade or full shade

Season: Spring through fall, for foliage

Foliage: In the spring this fern’s fronds show all shades of orange, from salmon to near red. They turn glossy, solid green in summer and then perform a subdued reprise of orange in the fall.

Habit: ‘Brilliance’ autumn fern reaches 18 to 30 inches tall and wide. It will die back to the ground in cold-winter regions but it remains evergreen in areas free of frost.

Origins: A cultivar of a species native to eastern Asia

How to grow ‘Brilliance’ autumn fern: Site this fern in part or full shade, in moist, fertile soil with good drainage. Provide water in periods of drought. USDA Zones 5–8.

Image credit: Walters Gardens