A new deciduous fern has captured my heart. Cheilanthes argentea is also called white back fern or silver cloak fern, and the common names refer to the striking color that covers the back of the fronds. However, even without the unusual coloration, the fern would be beautiful.
Cheilanthes argentea will grow in zones 5-9. It is a short fern with a creeping habit. The crinkled leaves are up to six inches tall and grow atop dark, wiry stems. It needs good drainage and grows best in gritty, loose soil in partial shade. It is rabbit and deer resistant and is an excellent fern for draught tolerance. It likes to grow amidst limestone rocks and can even grow in crevices in rock walls, where the roots will seek out moist places between the rocks.
I put my fern in loamy garden soil in a pot. So far it is doing very well under those conditions. I may later find it a place in the woodlands, where I think it will prosper.