Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Plants Ideal For Rain Gardens

Athyrium filix-femina is a northeast plant more commonly known as Lady Fern and grows up to 6 feet tall. Native American's once dried their food on the leaves of this large fern. Lady fern survives well as long as its roots are always in contact with water, even water 2 to 4 inches deep. Athyrium filix-femina is found in the understory of Western Red Cedar, Hemlock, Douglas Fir and White and Black Spruce. This fern can colonize in the cracks of rocks, so placing a small boulder garden in your rain garden might enhance the native feel.

Osmunda regalis is better known as Royal Fern This fern boasts light green fronds, bursting upward to 5 feet. It tends to be found in standing water that is slightly acidic. Osmunda regalis' unfolding fiddleheads are edible. This most beautiful of northeast plants is, in fact, distributed nearly worldwide with exception of Australia and New Zealand. It's fossils have even been found in Antarctica.

Osmunda cinnamomea is commonly called Cinnamon fern, most likely for the deep brown of it specialized spore-covered fronds. Osmunda cinnamomea can grow to five feet and is found as far south as Missouri. Its fiddleheads are a food source for several native species, including people and the fuzz of new fronds is often used to line bird's nests. Cinnamon fern enjoys poorly drained soil, rich in organic material and is often found in association with Sphagnum moss.

Carex pendula is better known as Drooping or Pendulous Sedge. Like Royal Fern this is another Northeast plant distributed throughout New England, but is also found in Northern Ireland, UK, Europe and North Africa. Drooping Sedge can grow to 4 feet and tolerates partial shade. It does bloom from late spring to early summer.

Carex stricta is better known as Tussock Sedge. This beautiful thin-leaved grass grows into mounds up to 2 feet and thrives in part to full sun. Also look for Tussock Sedge's sister species Carex stipata or Awl-Fruited Sedge.