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Athyrium ‘Niponicum Metallicum’
(Japanese Painted Fern)


Item release date 20 June 2024.
January - December
30cm x 90cm
Partial Shade, Shade
Easy Care
Fully Hardy

Athyrium ‘Niponicum Metallicum’, or Japanese Painted Fern, is beloved at our nursery for its stunning foliage. This deciduous fern features silvery-green fronds with striking purple midribs, adding unique colour and texture to shaded garden areas. Ideal for woodland gardens, shaded borders, and containers, it thrives in moist, well-drained soil. Its low maintenance and elegant appearance make it a standout addition to any garden.

Additional information

Plant Type
Fully Grown Size
Garden Position
Light Level
Special Features
RHS Plants For Pollinators
RHS Garden Merit Award
30 Day Returns


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Athyrium 'Niponicum Metallicum', commonly known as the Japanese Painted Fern, is a botanical beauty that effortlessly adds elegance and lush green interest to any garden or shaded landscape. This ornamental fern is celebrated for its striking and unique appearance, making it a popular choice among garden enthusiasts. The Athyrium 'Niponicum Metallicum' features finely cut, silvery-grey fronds with an ethereal metallic sheen that glistens in dappled shade. Its delicate, lacy foliage creates a breath-taking contrast with other garden plants, and it's particularly captivating when planted alongside bold, dark-hued companions such as Heuchera. This fern is known for its adaptability and ease of care, thriving in the partial to full shade conditions often found in woodland or shaded gardens. Its preference for moist, well-drained soil making it an excellent choice for areas where other plants may struggle. With proper care and a little attention to its water needs, Athyrium will reward you with its textural interest year after year. The Japanese Painted Fern is a versatile addition to various garden styles, from formal gardens to naturalistic, woodland-themed landscapes. It can be used as an eye-catching focal point, a graceful border plant, or to add textural interest to shaded areas. Its unique appearance and low-maintenance nature make it an invaluable asset to gardeners of all skill levels.

Planting Conditions

Athyrium 'Niponicum Metallicum', known as the Japanese Painted Fern thrives when planted in specific conditions. It prefers shade or partial shade, avoiding direct sunlight that can damage its delicate fronds. Plant it in well-draining, nutrient-rich soil with good humus content. This fern species does well in cool to moderately warm temperatures, so shield it from extremes of heat or cold. Adequate spacing of about 18-24 inches between plants allows room for growth, and applying organic mulch aids in moisture retention and temperature regulation.

Watering & Feeding

When it comes to watering, maintain consistently moist soil, as this fern thrives in a moist environment. Watering should be regular, especially during dry periods, but avoid water logging the soil. Feeding this fern is relatively simple. Fertilisation is generally not a major concern, as Athyrium 'Niponicum Metallicum' tends to do well in nutrient-rich soil. However, if growth appears stunted or leaves lose their vibrancy, consider using a balanced, slow-release fertiliser in the Spring to provide an extra nutrient boost.

General Care

To care for Athyrium 'Niponicum Metallicum', or the Japanese Painted Fern provide a shaded or partially shaded location to shield it from direct sunlight. Plant it in well-draining, humus-rich soil that maintains moisture without water logging. Maintain a temperate environment, avoiding extreme heat or cold. Ensure proper spacing, typically 18-24 inches apart, for unhindered growth. Apply organic mulch for moisture retention and temperature control. Guard against common pests like slugs and snails that can harm the delicate fronds. Occasional pruning of dead or damaged fronds supports fresh growth and aesthetic appeal.