Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Blechnum Chilense

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Blechnum chilense (09/02/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Blechnum chilense (09/02/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Partial to full shade

Flowering period: Late spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 1m

Eventual Spread: 1m

Hardiness: 8b – 10b

Family: Blechnaceae

Blechnum chilense is an evergreen fern. Its dark green waxy leaves are simply divided pinnate fronds, up to 1m long and 30cm broad. New frond often appear with an orange/ pink color. Its fertile frond are more erect than the leaf fronds and have narrow linear pinnae. Its roots are rhizomes which aids its spread.

Blechnum chilense, commonly known as Seesucker Fern, Chilean Hard Fern or Costilla de Vaca, is native to Chile and Argentina.

The etymological root of the binomial name Blechnum is from the Greek blhxnon meaning ‘fern’. Chilense is derived from the Latin meaning ‘from Chile’.

The landscape architect may find Blechnum chilense useful as an evergreen ground cover plant for shady locations.

Ecologically, Blechnum chilense is of little value to UK wildlife.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given Blechnum chilense their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1997.

Blechnum chilense Leaf (09/02/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Blechnum chilense Leaf (09/02/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Blechnum chilense prefers moist, well-drained soils. It prefers an acid to neutral pH of soil.

Blechnum chilense requires little maintenance. Large clumps may be divided in spring.

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