Golden Shield Fern Plants

General Info RHS AGM
Shade Full Shade, Full Sun, Partial Shade
Area Frost Pockets, Scotland & The North
Soil Good, Well Drained, Acidic, Poor/Dry
Type Evergreen
Ornamental Foliage

Dryopteris affinis

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SIZES 1-5 6+
2 Litre Pot Out of Stock £14.99Out of Stock£13.99
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Dryopteris affinis: Scaly Male or Golden Shield Fern. 2 Litre Pot Grown Plants

A large, upright magnificent fern that can get quite big with time. The new growth is lemon-lime coloured, maturing to green. The stems are decorated with marmalade yellow scales called ramenta. Fronds can reach over 1.5 metres, and the base of an old specimen can grow into quite a large mound. It is pretty much evergreen in most of the UK.

Browse our other ferns or our full range of garden shrubs.


  • Bright, yellow-green new foliage
  • Semi-evergreen
  • Upright, large
  • Most soils & positions
  • Hardy
  • Native
  • Frond length to 1.5-2m
  • RHS Award of Garden Merit

Growing Golden Shield Ferns

This flexible and hardy fern is not fussy about soil quality or shade - it only needs moisture and good drainage to thrive. Well-established plants are reasonably tolerant of dry conditions, but cool and moist is their preference.

Dead fronds remain attached to the base of the fern. Removing them will allow more light in for the living ones.

In Your Garden Design

Ferns may be popular in garden design in North America and Asia, but can be often overlooked in the UK which is surprising given the fact they can have a real purpose particularly in those dark, shady, dank areas of the garden where no other plant can reach. This can make them ideal for small metropolitan garden areas where often a design inside the house can be minimalist and a small, simply decorated garden using predominantly ferns can reflect that. Dryopteris affinis can be an excellent addition. Its bronze-green fronds add a subtle variation to a woodland planting scheme and would stand out in any small urban garden, paired with other ferns at a range of heights and placed next to any hosta. Camelias and Japanese Acers can be added to the mix as long as they are in the right soil, perhaps in pots, and caladiums and astilbes are good companion plants too.

Did You Know?

Native, they are common in the UK's more natural areas around meadows and rocky hills in colder Northern regions.

Dryopteris means oak fern, referring to the shady deciduous forests that they love. According to The Woodland Trust they give clues about the age of woodlands: "Scaly male fern is used as an ancient-woodland- indicator plant. These species can help identify older woodlands with longer ecological continuity."

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*Delivery to mainland Britain & the Isle of Wight ONLY. Surcharges to the Isle of Wight and some areas of Scotland apply.

Bareroot planting is best done between November and April
Bareroot and potted - what's the difference?

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