Picking Plants for Knee-to-Thigh-High: Medium-Sized Perennials

Medium-sized perennials make for stand-out borders. But that's not all they're good for. Learn more about their design uses, as well as color and other options, here.

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Textural Hart's Tongue Fern
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DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Ferns

Ferns are a great, diverse group with colors, shapes and sizes to suit almost any garden.

Shown here, the wavy-edged Hart's tongue fern is evergreen, making it an asset year-round. The large, finely cut fronds of the lady fern spring from stalks which are sometimes red-brown. For even more exciting coloring, go with the Japanese shield, or autumn fern, whose coppery-red lacy fronds turn pink and then silvery-green with age.

Although these ferns range widely in size - from 12 inches to 4 feet tall, and 16 to 36 inches wide - they all need protection from the sun. Plant ferns in moist soil and partial or, ideally, dappled, shade in a woodland setting.

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