Athyrium 'Metallicum'
Athyrium 'Metallicum'
Athyrium 'Metallicum'
Athyrium 'Metallicum'
Athyrium 'Metallicum'
Athyrium 'Metallicum'
Athyrium 'Metallicum'

Athyrium 'Metallicum'

"Painted lady fern"

Athyrium 'Metallicum'

1 bare root — £3.48

Order today, receive in May/early June
Delivery schedule

Orders placed before 1 March 2024
You can expect your order in March 2024

Orders placed 1 March - 15 April 2024
You can expect your order in March/April 2024

Orders placed 16 April - 15 May 2024
You can expect your order within 10 business days

Free delivery on UK orders over £50
Shipping to the UK

UK orders over £50
Free shipping

UK orders under £50

Northern Ireland orders under £50

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To turn a shady area into a lush space for fascinating foliage, make sure you include Athyrium 'Metallicum'—it’ll work wonders with its steely good looks! The silvery-grey foliage gives this remarkable Athyrium, also known as painted lady fern, a modern, sculptural look. These fronds uncurl in a fascinating way from tight coils in spring, and flaunt a frosted appearance which looks cool and bright from spring to autumn. Take a closer look and you’ll see the most perfect shade of purple running through Athyrium 'Metallicum's veins.  

Favouring full or dappled shade and damp soil, this Athyrium 'Metallicum' fern has a timeless beauty which will stand out in any low-light space, be it a woodland stumpery or a secluded patio area. It’s low in height which makes it a pretty filler for seasonal mixed planters, or handy for the front of a border. Hardy perennial Athyrium niponicum f. metallicum is deciduous so it will naturally die back for winter, which provides the perfect opportunity to underplant with spring bulbs like shade-loving Scilla sibirica which will be in bloom among the emerging fronds, or in a combination with shade tolerant perennials like Aquilegia, Brunnera, or Thalictrum.

Ferns can be helpful in eliminating or preventing pollution, because they are able to remove heavy metals from the air and the soil.

Key features

  • Comes back every year

  • Loved by pollinators

  • Great for shade

  • In peat-free compost

  • Low maintenance

  • RHS Award (AGM)

  • Fully hardy

  • Slug & snail repellent

Specs & details

  • Botanical name

    Athyrium niponicum f. metallicum

  • Plant size


  • Established height


  • Established spread


  • Plant spacing

    5 plants per m2

  • Leaf colour

    Green, white, purple vains

  • Habit


  • Life cycle


  • Hardiness

    Fully hardy

  • Years to establish

    2-3 years

  • Sunlight

    Full shade
    Partial shade
    Dappled shade

  • Position


  • Suitable for

    Large containers
    Cottage gardens
    Low maintenance gardens

  • Soil acidity


  • Soil moisture

    Free draining

  • Soil type

    Loam-based compost

  • Growing skill

    Easy to grow

  • Scented


  • Pollinator-friendly


  • Mouse resistant


  • Rabbit resistant


  • Deer resistant


  • Toxicity

    No report

Plant calendar

  • Planting
  • Flowering

Useful information

    • Soak your Athyrium 'Metallicum' roots in water for 3-6 hours prior to planting.

    • Plant your "Painted lady fern" bare roots into temporary pots with a multipurpose compost in spring and grow-on in a sheltered spot outdoors.

    • Choose a pot which comfortably fits the bare roots. Some have a noticeable crown which should be just below the soil surface with any top growth exposed.

    • Plant out into borders or permanent containers in late spring or early summer once in full growth. Choose a position in sun or shade depending on the variety.

    Read all planting & care instructions

  • Orders placed before 1 March 2024
    You can expect your order in March 2024

    Orders placed 1 March - 15 April 2024
    You can expect your order in April 2024

    Orders placed 16 April - 15 May 2024
    You can expect your order within 10 business days

Perennials in 1 minute

The beauty of perennial plants doesn’t just lie in their long-lasting flowers and sturdy, resilient nature, but it’s their sheer determination to keep on coming back stronger every year —in year one they’re good, but in future years they’re even better!

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