Blechnum penna-marina

Antarctic hard-fern, alpine water fern, pinque

The Alpine Water Fern is a tremendous little fern for giving evergreen ground cover at a low level, particularly useful for front of the border or rock garden pockets. The creeping rhizome spreads the plant into a small colony resembling a patch of upright, wiggly green maggots!

However Blechnum penna-marina is never troublesomely invasive as, rooting close to the surface, it is easily removed from where unwanted. New growth is particularly colourful: bronze in shade but almost bright red in a sunny position. All in all a delightful and trouble free garden plant.

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Origin: Chile, Argentina
Genus: Blechnum
Species / Cultivar: penna-marina
Common Name: Antarctic hard-fern, alpine water fern, pinque
Synonym: Austroblechnum penna-marina, Blechnum alpinum

Plant Biography

Blechnum penna-marina originates in the Southern most parts of Chile and Argentina, down to the subpolar Magellanic forests. You can’t get more cold tolerant than that!

It grows in the most unusual places where other plants would struggle, from rock crevices to small caves. It loves a damp, sheltered spot with some light. A deep shade won’t bother it too much.

In cultivation is used mostly as a ground cover in damp areas in part shade to full shade.

Blechnum penna-marina
Soil: Moisture Retaining
Soil that drains at a slower rate due to higher organic matter content.
Growth Rate: Medium
Expect to see moderate growth during growing season.
Water Requirement: High
Likely to require supplementary watering in warmer months, even once established.
Situation: Part Shade to Full Shade
Can enjoy several hours of direct sunlight, but also happy in full shade.
Eventual Height: 0.3m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 1.0m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Fully Hardy
Will survive unprotected outdoors in most areas of the UK, even in the harshest winters.
Habit: Evergreen
Always in leaf throughout the year. It won't lose all its leaves at any one time.
Lifecycle: Perennial
This plant is persistant and does not die off after flowering. It will return each season indefinitely, if provided with suitable growing conditions.

Expert Tip

This lovely low growing fern can be planted even in the coldest parts of the UK in rocky gardens and as to soften rock walls.
Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

This creeping little fern makes a fantastic ground cover in a woodland border with an acidic soil and plenty of moisture. Plant 15-20 cm apart to allow the fern to expand and cover the ground.

Loosely cover with horticultural fleece if frost is forecasted to prevent damage to the leaves. In sheltered spots and close to houses the plant will thrive with no protection required.

Feed with a mild solution of fern fertiliser or any seaweed based fertiliser during the growing season (April to September) and clean twice a year dead fronds.

Make sure to keep it well watered as fronds can get easily scorched by sun and during dry periods.

1 customer review for Blechnum penna-marina

Excellent plants. Really strong, healthy ferns with a good root system present. Within the market place they represent great value. Palm Centres service is excellent.

Andrew Dickinson