Japanese Painted Fern

Athyrium niponicum

Almanac Planting Co Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum) Side View


USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 - 8

Sun: Part Shade to Full Shade

Life Cycle: Perennial Fern

Mature Height: 18"

Mature Width: 24"

Bloom Season: Non-flowering

Uses:¬†Air purification‚ÄĒremoves toxins and VOCs such as formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene from the air. Ideal for shaded areas. Loves¬†areas in woodlands and by water.


Japanese Painted Fern is known for its soft grayish-green fronds which extend from its striking matte maroon midribs. Its gray tones are typically their most dominant in the spring, and they slowly transition over to green as summer brings in higher temperatures.  

Ferns, such as this painted fern, have been approved by NASA for their air purification abilities. Ferns are fantastic for removing many of the most common airborne toxins and VOCs such as formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene.  Many of these toxins are linked to cancer and pulmonary diseases, so their removal from the air you breath is very important.

Its one of the most popular and best ferns as it thrives when potted as an indoor plant, in a hanging basket, as a patio plant, or planted outdoors in appropriate zones. 

Japanese Painted Fern grows into somewhat of a mound like shape over time. Its¬†variegated,¬†triangular fronds will grow up to 20‚ÄĚ long, making this fern absolutely beautiful in a hanging basking.¬†


Japanese Painted Fern Care

Thrives in shaded areas. Avoid exposure to full, strong sun.

Japanese Painted Fern may be grown as an outdoor perennial fern when planted in zones 3-8.

Prefers soil full of rich, organic compounds. Avoid soil with poor drainage as root rot may likely occur if planted in such. 

Attempt to keep soil slightly moist but not wet between spring and fall. 

Give very little water if kept indoors over winter. 

This plant does best in moderate temperatures between 55¬įF¬†and 85¬įF.

Japanese painted fern is a deciduous plant. As such, it will lose its fronds as winter approaches. Many individuals choose to trim and remove dead fronds over winter. Fronds will return will vigor and fullness in the spring. 

Needs very little to no fertilizer depending on soil conditions. Use caution when fertilizing and apply fertilizer at 1/4 strength max.


Size of Japanese Painted Ferns for Sale Online

The painted ferns that we sell online will ship in a greenhouse grade grow pot or hanging basket. Each plant will be appropriately sized for its pot. Please contact us with any specific questions.

Size of Japanese Painted Ferns When Fully Grown

Painted Ferns grow to a mature size of around 18" of height and 24" of width. They oven spread through division and their spores, so fern patches may grow to widths much larger than 2'. 

Additional Information

What is the Botanical Name of Japanese Painted Ferns? 

The modern botanical name of Painted Ferns is Athyrium niponicum.

Toxicity and Risks of Painted Ferns

We were not able to find any definitive answer as to if Japanese Painted Ferns are poisonous. Some sources say they may be toxic, while others say they are not. Due to such conflicting information, we are unable to answer this section in any manner of certainty. We feel as if it's best to avoid eating this plant, and to ensure that your pets do the same. Seek the guidance of your health care provider or veterinarian for further clarification. 

 Almanac Planting Co Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum) Close Up of Variegation

*This plant is a part of our Archived Plant Collection. Although no longer for sale on our online store, we keep pages like this on our site for the informational benefit of others. Please contact us if you're interested in purchasing large quantities of this plant, as we may be able to specially source and deliver plants for you.