Audubon Native Leatherwood Fern closeup of olive-green leaflets on fern fronds
Native Regions map for Leatherwood Fern
Audubon Native Leatherwood Fern closeup of olive-green leaflets on fern fronds
Native Regions map for Leatherwood Fern

Audubon® Native Leatherwood Fern

Bower & Branch Trees and Plants

Audubon® Plants for Birds: Dryopteris marginalis

Regular price

This plant is not available at this time through Bower & Branch. We provide this plant profile for reference only. 

See below for alternative selections for purchase and inspiration!


  • The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow.
  • This bird-friendly native trees provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
  • All Audubon® branded trees are grown 100% Neonic-free by Bower & Branch, making these plants safer for the birds and safer for the environment.
  • Hand Selected, Fresh from the Grower


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Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 3-8
  • Mature Height: 1-2' tall
  • Mature Width: 1-2' wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Spacing: 1-2' apart

Why plant Audubon® Native Leatherwood Fern?

Adaptable, easy, perky, and evergreen, Eastern Wood Fern is a thoroughly satisfying little Spirit that brings fresh greenery to dark spaces all year long. Its restrained growth is a plus as well. While some Ferns become tall and imposing, and some spread (too) quickly, Eastern Wood Fern maintains a compact habit, and it stays put. It’s tough, too! Although Eastern Wood Fern enjoys regular moisture, it tolerates more dryness than most Ferns. Use it at the base of trees or planted among boulders in a woodland garden. It also looks sharp in those challenging skinny spaces shaded by tall buildings.

Ferns give a Jurassic Park feel to the landscape. These ancient Spirits, which existed with and even long before the dinosaurs, speak to us on a primitive level. They bring to mind an era we can only imagine, with lush ferny plants covering the ground as well as taking the form of tall trees. In modern gardens, their cool green fronds make shady spaces seem calming and peaceful. Eastern Wood Fern, a.k.a. Marginal Shield Fern, is a noble North American native found all over the eastern United States and into Canada. It loves wild woodland spaces and rocky, north-facing cliffsides.

How to use Audubon® Native Leatherwood Fern in the landscape?

Got deer? Ferns are usually a safe bet where deer are a problem. They provide needed greenery in the shady woodland garden spaces where deer may come looking for a meal, but deer tend to leave them alone. Eastern Wood Fern is troubled by few pests of any kind and is relatively carefree.

Planting Zones

Hardiness Zone: 3-8

How To Plant Audubon® Native Leatherwood Fern

Although Eastern Wood Fern is one tough Spirit, treating it well will reap rewards. This means giving it a premium spot in the landscape where it will receive gentle morning sun or dappled sunlight throughout the day. It needs shade when the sun is hottest. This Fern also appreciates rich, organic soil that holds some moisture but drains well and doesn’t stay soggy after a rain. Regular irrigation is important for lush growth, especially if plants are competing with tree roots for water. Eastern Wood Fern is evergreen in places where winter isn’t too brutal. You’ll still want to cut back the old fronds before new ones appear in mid-spring.

How To Fertilize

Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.

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