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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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.