EASTERN HAY-SCENTED FERN

Dennstaedtia punctilobula

Eastern Hay-Scented Fern, Dennstaedtia punctilobula is noted for its sweet scent of freshly cut hay which is released when crushed or dried. Fast-growing, this fern will spread by rhizomes to form colonies. Useful as a ground cover in shade gardens, woodland gardens, or under trees. The fronds can be cut for use in flower arrangements. Hay-scented fern is deciduous and can grow up to 2 feet (60 cm) in height and spread up to 3 to 4 feet (90 – 120 cm) wide. When it emerges in spring, it’s lush bright green. It’s often considered ephemeral, though, as it turns soft yellow and tends to look raged as it moves into fall.  Gardeners who’ve had their native plantings decimated by deer will appreciate that hay-scented fern is deer-resistant. Hay-scented fern is  suited for large woodland gardens where dense shade and dry soil make it hard for few other plants to thrive. 

SPECS: Genus: Dennstaedtia ; Species: Punctilobula; Plant Type: Fern; Life Cycle: Perennial; Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade; Soil Moisture: Wet, Medium Wet, Mesic (middle); Height: 1′ — 3′; Spread: 3′; Plant Spacing: 2′; Bloom Color: Blue, Green; Advantages: Erosion control, Fragrant, Grassland restoration, Lawn alternative, Low maintenance; USDA Zone: 3 — 7; Attracts: Beneficial insects, Butterflies, Hummingbirds; Tolerant: Deer, Drought, Dry soils, Erosion, Heat & humidity; Plant Community: Because it is such an aggressive grower, hay-scented fern should only be planted around established trees or shrubs that provide the fern with the required shade such as American Hornbeam, Hawthorn & Tulip tree. ;