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Crested Male Fern Plants (Dryopteris filix mas Crispa Cristata) 1Crested Male Fern Plants (Dryopteris filix mas Crispa Cristata) 1Crested Male Fern Plants (Dryopteris filix mas Crispa Cristata) 2Crested Male Fern Plants (Dryopteris filix mas Crispa Cristata) 3

Crested Golden Shield Ferns

Dryopteris affinis Cristata The KingFeefo logo

The details

Dryopteris affinis

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

Dryopteris affinis Cristata The King: Crested Golden Shield Fern. 2 Litre Pot Grown Plants

A modern variety of upright fern with new growth is sharp lemon-lime colour which matures to a lovely shade of green. The stems are decorated with dark marmalade 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 practically evergreen in most of the UK.

It is distinguished from D. affinis by the crested tips of its fronds.

Ferns are delivered pot-grown, year round. 
Browse our other garden shrubs.

Features

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

Growing Cristata The King Ferns

This flexible and hardy fern is not fussy about soil quality or too much shade, it only needs moisture and good drainage to thrive. Well-established plants are quite tolerant of dry conditions, but they cool and moist soil. Remove dead fronds from the base of the fern to allow more light in for the remaining ones.

In Your Garden Design

At Holkham Hall, North Norfolk, the home of the Earl of Leicester, there is a shady area in the walled garden which has been turned into a fern garden or stumpery. It's a very effective piece of design which is a great idea to copy in an urban garden where generally plots are smaller and overlooked to subject to shade or other shaded areas next to walls, hedging and fencing. Although a new plant which would not have been familiar to the Victorians, this particular fern would be excellent to use for this. Plant a winter-flowering jasmine such as Nudiflorum behind to give the lime green foliage a contrasting backdrop; combine with a fresh-looking heuchera such as Lime marmalade; pair with Primula veris for a bit of Spring prettiness and add the variegated wide-brimmed hosta to add a bit of clean-lined masculinity.

Did You Know?

Ferneries became all the rage in the Victorian era, so much so that Pteridomania or "fern fever" became a familiar term for those afflicted by the passion. Glass houses filled with ferns of all shapes and sizes suddenly became de rigeur for those who had the luxury of country estates; others would house fern in little glass cases indoors. In 1869, when fern fever was at its height, the author Shirley Hibberd wrote a book called the fern garden in which he described the appeal of fern cases: ‘In the heart of a great city, the fern case is a boon of priceless value. It is a bit of the woodside sealed down with the life of the wood in it.’ A similar indoor small greenhouse was regarded medically as protection from the smog of Victorian cities.

There are surviving examples of ferneries. Kingston Lacey National Trust still has one and there's a fern house at Ascog Hall on the Isle of Bute. The crime-writer, Agatha Christie's old holiday home in Devon, Greenway, features one. The most impressive is at Tatton Park and was created by Joseph Paxton who also built Crystal Palace. The passion filtered through to the decorative arts where ferns featured on wallpaper, fabrics and much more. After the end of WW1, the upkeep of ferneries became too much and the passion for them declined ferns have never lost their popularity as a feature in gardens simply because of their practicality and hardiness: they are after one oldest groups of plant on earth to have survived beyond the dinosaurs.