Fern companion plants are plants that you can grow alongside Matteuccia struthiopteris. They thrive in the same conditions as ferns—moist soils and shaded locations.

Shady Garden Companion Plants for Ferns Plant America

So if you want to grow plants alongside your ferns, you must find those that will complement your ferns.

The good news is you don’t have to go through the stress of finding out those lovely plants that will elevate your garden, so let’s see more of these plants below. 

👩🏻‍🎓 Scientific Reference

“A study by Texas A&M University highlights the role of companion planting in optimizing space utilization in gardening.”Texas A&M University Research

List of Fern Companion Plants

1. Coral Bells

Coral bells or Heuchera sanguinea are similar to Ostrich ferns. Native to North America, these perennial plants keep their leaves all year round. 

– Features

These would be able to and produce vibrant foliage in green, purple, pink, and bronze. Their leaves are rounded and hairy, evergreen or semi-evergreen, depending on the season. They also produce flowers of different colors, ranging from white to pink in the summer. Most of them grow as tall as 12 inches and 21 inches wide. Coral bells are ideal maidenhair fern companion plants.

Coral Bells Leaves in Springtime Plant America

– Growth Requirements

Coral Bells grow well in partial shade and well-drained, moisture-rich soils. They are best planted in late fall or early spring. Coral bells are short-lived perennials and will die out in a couple of years unless divided regularly.

Like most sword fern companion plants, these bell-shaped flowers are relatively straightforward to care for. You may, for instance, deadhead the damaged flowers regularly, and as a result, they will boost bloom in summer to fall. The plant needs occasional watering and is drought-tolerant. If you grow your plant in full sun, water it regularly to survive the hot weather. They are hardy hibiscus companion plants for zone 4a to 9a.

2. Corydalis

Corydalis is a perennial deciduous plant known for producing tube-shaped flowers that come in yellow or blue. These flowers often bloom in clusters in early spring and summer. 

– Features

Although they are short, in specifics, they grow no higher than a foot and a half, this perennial plant makes a great ground cover plant when combined with ostrich fern or lady fern. Sometimes, you can’t tell the difference between the leaves and that of ferns, especially the C. Cheilanthifolia variant because they look similar. It is often mistaken for Corydalis.

Yellow and Violet Flowers Plant America

– Growth Requirements

Corydalis do well in part shade and moist soil with an alkaline pH balance. Unlike some penstemon companion plants, Corydalis tolerate all kinds of soils, whether loam, clay, or sand. Adding plenty of organic matter will enhance the drainage and growth of the plant. Too much exposure to sunlight will affect the leaves. They are propagated by division in fall, just like most flowers on this list.

Water Corydalis often to keep the soil moist. Add compost or organic fertilizer to the plant in spring before the buds start to open. These beautiful plants don’t need pruning except there are spent flowers to be removed, or when they show some burnt leaves. Lastly, don’t stress, because it is common for the plant to die in winter or summer but regrows under the right temperature.

3. Caladiums

Caladiums are gorgeous plants with colorful, arrowhead leaves. The plant has blue or green foliage with big multicolored leaves that can easily be damaged in heavy windy conditions. This is why it’s a perfect companion plant for Athyrium niponicum and other species of ferns because the steady-leaved plants will protect the Caladium leaves. This plant is native to South America and thrives in hot weather. However, you can grow it in more temperate climates under the right conditions.

Caladium plants reach as high as 12 inches and 24 inches wide, meaning they cover the ground extensively.

– Growth Requirements

Caladiums are tropical plants, meaning they will blossom in warm air. You have to wait until daytime temperatures are at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures are above 60 degrees Fahrenheit to plant it.

Caladium Companion Plants Plant America

In addition, it would also grow best in containers because the soil heats up faster. However, you can grow it from tubers in late spring. Large tubers are preferred because they produce bigger leaves and attain maturity faster. Speaking of soil, Caladiums prefer moist, well-drained soils rich in compost.

The question most gardeners always ask is if you can plant fern companion plants indoors. Caladiums can be planted indoors at warm room temperatures not exceeding 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night and 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. When summer arrives, you can move the pots outside to a shady spot. It should receive at least four hours of sunlight daily. Excessive sun exposure can affect the leaves.

Remember that the caladium plants are easy to care for, you must, as a result, provide water the soil till it becomes moist in the growing season. If the soil becomes dry, the leaves will yellow and fall out. You can spread mulch around the plant to preserve moisture. In hardy USDA zone nine and above, the tubers will be dormant, and the foliage will die. Cut the leaves on the ground and let the tubers stay.

4. Strawberry Begonia

Strawberry begonia is one of the bergenia companion plants for ferns. Also known as Saxifraga stolonifera, this plant is recognized by its semi-evergreen, heart-shaped foliage. Planting this would look stunning among fern leaves. Strawberry begonia is common in hardiness zone two, where it enjoys colder climates, nonetheless, this plant changes color at an indoor temperature.

Fruit in the Tree Branch Plant America

– Growth Requirements

Strawberry begonia flourishes in cool locations with temperatures of 50 degrees Fahrenheit and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Growing this plant requires little room and a brightly lit location.

Water the plant sparingly, especially when the soil starts to dry. Dry soils affect the bloom of Strawberry begonia. Don’t forget the importance of fertilizing the plant monthly during the growing season, which is in spring. In addition, avoid getting the leaves wet to prevent the growth of the fungal disease, as this is quick for it to be affected. Allow the plant some rest in winter to promote flowering in the spring.

5. Geraniums

Geraniums are one of the popular tree fern companion plants. They are perennial and annual plants that grow in beds and containers. These plants are widespread in hardiness zones six and seven. 

– Features

They have deciduous foliage and flower heads that come in several stunning colors that will complement your fern garden. These plants are also perfect lungwort companion plants. Geraniums are also good Hosta companion plants.

Planting this alongside your ferns in a large container would look great and add more beauty to your home.

– Growth Requirements

Growing geraniums depends on where and how you want to grow them. If you want to grow indoors, geraniums will need sufficient light to bloom and temperatures of around 70° F during the day and 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night. 

Photos of Beautiful Flower Geranium Plant America

In addition, they also prefer to be in a soil that is well-drained and water will not remain in its roots. However, for outdoor planting, plant in a location that receives at least six hours of light. 

Note that the plants aren’t cold tolerant, which means that you must wait until the danger of frost is gone before planting, and easily, keep some space between each plant when they are around the fern and mulch to retain moisture.

Caring for Geraniums is simple, whether you are growing them indoors or outdoors. Repot indoor plants once they have overgrown. Moreover, deadhead sent flowers to enhance blooming. In the winter, water occasionally, but don’t allow the roots to dry out completely. Don’t water when the soil feels wet, hence you should allow the soil to dry a little before watering.

6. Bleeding Heart

These plants are one of the best royal fern companion plants. They both complement each other perfectly, which means you won’t have any issue growing them by their sides. 

– Features

The plants are recognized by their love-shaped white or pink flowers that bloom from late spring to early fall. These lovely flowers are produced from long stems. They grow as tall as 12 inches and three feet in width.

– Growth Requirements

This plant prefers slightly moist soils and part shade. It is best planted in fall or spring. Before planting, add compost to boost bloom.

Romantic Bleeding Heart Flowers Plant America

Ensure the soil isn’t waterlogged to prevent root rot. It is propagated by division, so divide clumps every few years and remove dried roots to allow growth.

These love-shaped plants are straightforward to grow and require low maintenance., which means that you can grow them in plant pots or on the ground. They are cover plants, so pruning is necessary to reduce spread. Watering the plant throughout the growing season when the top soil is dry is necessary to maintain bloom. Lastly, you may perform some regular fertilization is which is required when you see that the plant is malnutritious.

7. Hellebore

Hellebore is a beautiful, evergreen plant that can make any landscape look great. Also known as the Hybrid Lenten rose at times. 

– Features

This plant is known for its chartreuse foliage and tooth-like leaves that grow on strong stems. Hellebore has bowl-shaped rose flowers that come in white and yellow speckles. Some variants have white with maroon or pink speckles.

Hellebores bloom in early spring, from February precisely in the beginning of the Christian Lent. The bloom lasts for several months, and the foliage remains evergreen throughout the period.

One of the First Signs of Spring Plant America

– Growth Requirements

Hellebore prefers moist, well-drained soils and shady spots in the garden. Planting in dry soils will reduce the flower bloom. The plants grow as tall as eight feet and three feet wide, depending on the species of this plant. Since they are perennial plants, they continue to grow for several years.

Hellebore is best planted on a hillside, but you can grow them in raised flower beds. When transplanting from their nursery pots, ensure you shake up the potting mix. Hellebore plants are perfect phlox companion plants and foxtail fern companion plants.

As new growth stalks emerge, shear back the old or even at times spoiled foliage to the base. Lastly you must water the plant during spring during growth to aid growth, but you may start watering slightly less in summer than that of in spring.

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