High Desert Plant Finder & Guide
Red Beauty Painted Fern
Athyrium nipponicum 'Red Beauty'
Red Beauty Painted Fern foliage
(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)
Height: 15 inches
Spread: 12 inches
Hardiness Zone: 4
Other Names: Crested Japanese Painted Fern
Attractive tri-color fronds of silver, red and green; colorful maroon-red central stems and veins; compact and dense, perfect for shady spots; beautiful in masses on the edges of ponds or streams
Red Beauty Painted Fern's attractive ferny bipinnately compound leaves emerge dark red in spring, turning dark green in color with showy silver variegation and tinges of red throughout the season. Neither the flowers nor the fruit are ornamentally significant. The red stems are very colorful and add to the overall interest of the plant.
Red Beauty Painted Fern is a dense herbaceous fern with a shapely form and gracefully arching fronds. It brings an extremely fine and delicate texture to the garden composition and should be used to full effect.
This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and usually looks its best without pruning, although it will tolerate pruning. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.
Red Beauty Painted Fern is recommended for the following landscape applications;
- Mass Planting
- Border Edging
- General Garden Use
- Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens
Planting & Growing
Red Beauty Painted Fern will grow to be about 15 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 12 inches. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 15 years.
This plant does best in partial shade to shade. It prefers to grow in moist to wet soil, and will even tolerate some standing water. It is particular about its soil conditions, with a strong preference for rich, acidic soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in both summer and winter to conserve soil moisture and protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America, and parts of it are known to be toxic to humans and animals, so care should be exercised in planting it around children and pets. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.
Please note: Our Plant Guide is all about plants that will work in the high desert. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a current list of plants in stock on hand at each location or at our farm. We purposely do not sell or ship plants via the internet. Plant questions and availability are best determined in-store.