Bladder Fern - Cystopteris Bulbifera
This delicate perennial fern typically grows in groupings of 12 inches high and 24 inches wide. The plant forms long fronds of three to six inches long with deciduous leaf blades that can grow up to two feet long. The leaves are a light to medium green in color throughout their life. The bladder fern gets its Latin name from the little bulblets that form on the undersides of the fronds. These bulblets will eventually fall off and produce new ferns, blanketing the area with lacey green carpet.
A particular favorite of gardeners, this type of fern is the perfect option for providing ground cover as it proliferates rapidly and will spread to cover an area in as little as a season or two. Each frond can produce over fifty bulblets, indicating the ease by which it spreads. This type of fern grows so well in the shade that it's perfect for planting underneath trees or anywhere that is mostly shaded. The addition of bladder ferns to a home garden adds an air of wildness to an otherwise organized space, as these plants are commonly seen in nature.
Bladder ferns are a wonderful addition to any home garden as they are easy to care for and grow in soil and shade conditions that many other plants do not. The bladder fern is happy in full or partial shade and prefers rocky soil, particularly limestone. This type of fern thrives in moist conditions and adapts to any PH level soil, but does require good drainage. Bladder ferns do best in areas with little competition with other plants. As winter sets in, the bladder fern's leaves will start to turn brown and die back. This dead growth protects the heart of the plant through the winter but should be removed in the spring to make way for new growth.