Dryopteris filix-mas Cristata is a deciduous, hardy fern making a rosette of erect or arching, mid-green fronds (leaves), neatly crested at their tips and ends, forming a shuttlecock-like shape. The common name of Dryopteris filix-mas Cristata is crested male fern.Position: Thrives in a cool, sunny or partially shaded position in moist or wet, humus-rich soil. Good ground cover under trees, for woodland gardens and naturalised planting schemes.
Planting: Water thoroughly or stand the pot in a bucket of water for half an hour before planting. Dig a hole twice the size of the pot, mix compost and a granular fertiliser with the soil from the hole, remove the pot, place the plant in the hole so that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil, back fill with the soil/compost mix and firm down to prevent air pockets. Water well after planting and during dry spells during the first growing season.
Also looks brilliant when grown in containers of good compost.
Aftercare: Although quite drought tolerant once it has become established, water during prolonged dry periods, whenever the soil dries out, especially when growing in sun or directly under trees. Mulch around the base of the plant with a thick layer of organic material annually. This keeps in moisture, prevents weeds and adds nutrients to the soil.
Feeding: Feed in spring with a granular fertiliser.
Pruning: Remove dead or damaged fronds as and when they appear, especially in autumn when they die back.