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Deal! This is your opportunity to save big, and right in time for late-summer planting and fall growth. It's a one-time clearance of plants we love but no longer have room for in our crowded test fields, greenhouses and catalog. We have to prune our plant list so we can make room for new choices.

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Asplenium bulbiferum

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Asplenium bulbiferum New!
Degree of Difficulty
Degree of Difficulty
This plant is easy to grow in a variety of conditions.

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(Mother Fern) Ferns are low-maintenance plants that add a tropical look to the Salvia garden. This one grows well in USDA Zones 9 to 11. Mother Fern, which has a graceful, arching look and finely cut fronds, loves partial to full shade and lots of water. This makes it an excellent choice for damp, shady Southeastern gardens.

Due to its arching nature, Mother Fern only measures 24 inches tall and looks particularly pretty with short Asian woodland sages and Salvias for warmer winter climes, such as the Rosy Bract Sage (Salvia rubiginosa), which has cool, violet-blue flowers. In addition to ample water, Mother Fern needs rich soil.

The bulbiferum appellation of its scientific name, refers to the fern’s production of plantlets on the tips of its fronds. These babies drop off and grow into new plants, which explains the common name of Mother Fern. Another common name for this fern is Spleenwort. Whereas wort is Old English for “plant,” spleen refers to the fern’s ancient role as a medicinal plant.

In the wilds of its Australian and New Zealand homelands, this deer-resistant plant grows as an epiphyte on trees and fern trunks as well as a rooted plant along shady rock croppings and waterways. Epiphytes don’t harm their host plants, because they only rely on tree trunks and other structures for support. When epiphytic instead of rooted in the soil, ferns consume nutrients and moisture drifting in the air. Tarra Bulga National Park in Victoria, Australia, is home to many Mother Ferns.


Product rating
(1 reviews)  

In stock
16 item(s) available

Common name  
Mother Fern
USDA Zones  
9 - 11
Size (h/w/fh)  
Partial to full shade
Soil type  
Water needs  
Water loving
Pot size  
3 1/2 inch deep pot
Container plant?  
Our price


Quantity (16 available)

Email me when nearly out of stock  

Here are some guidelines for success with this plant in your garden.
Click on an individual icon for more detailed information.


Full shade
Full shade
Partial shade
Partial shade

Garden Uses

Container plant
Container plant
Indoor plant
Indoor plant

Growing Habit

9 - 11
9 - 11
24 inches tall
24 inches tall
36 inches wide
36 inches wide

Water Needs

Water loving
Water loving
  • Arum italicum 'Pictum'

    (Lords and Ladies) Large, glossy, arrow-shaped leaves with marble-like cream-colored variegations are one of the major attractions of Arum italicum 'Pictum', which is sometimes called Arum italicum 'Marmoratum'.

    A large pale green-to-cream bract -- called a spathe -- rises to a peak like an elf's cap behind the tiny white flowers on the yellow, finger-like spadix of this exotic looking woodland plant. Almost ephemeral, the spathe lasts only hours.

    The arrow foliage may appear almost year round, except in summer when all that is left of the plant is the stalk topped with colorful red to orange berry seeds.

    Lords and Ladies is an almost magical looking plant for containers or woodland gardens where it spreads gently by way of tuberous roots or seeds bringing color to shady areas.

    Described by some sources as unpleasant, the aroma of Arum flowers appeals to insect pollinators.

    Maybe it is the pungent smell that warns off wildlife, including deer. They seem to know not to eat the plant due to the calcium oxalate crystals it contains. All Araceae family species are a bit toxic. But calcium oxalate also appears in other plant families. It is the same phytochemical that makes Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum leaves inedible.

    Native to Europe from England to Cyprus and the Canary Islands, this short, heat-tolerant plant is moisture loving but does well with average watering. Its many common names -- including Jack in the Pulpit and Orange Candle Flower -- are as colorful as it is. As to its "Lords and Ladies" moniker, laundry workers used the roots to create a starch during Elizabethan times for the fancy ruffs and collars that lords, ladies and royalty wore.

  • Salvia forsskaolii

    (Balkan Sage) Violet-blue whorls of flowers and plentiful, fuzzy, basal leaves that reach an impressive length of 18 inches are two notable features about this hardy, herbaceous perennial, which is native to the Southeastern Balkan Peninsula.

    Balkan Sage is found in coniferous forests, meadows and slopes from Bulgaria to Turkey's Black Sea coast. However, it is named after the 19th century Finnish plant collector Peter Forsskål, who collected botanical samples further south in Saudi Arabia.

    Although deciduous in areas with cold winters, it blooms about nine months a year for us on the Northern California coast beginning in summer. Following a brief winter dormancy, it returns reliably every spring, clumping in a way that makes it look like Hosta from a distance. Yet, unlike that woodland plant, it grows well in full sun as well partial shade. It is a fine choice for a lightly shaded garden or border and is happy in the acid soil under conifers.

    Give it soil with average fertility, occasional water and enough shade to promote lush growth. Your reward will be large flowers with lovely white and yellow bee lines attractive to hummingbirds and honeybees.

  • Salvia glabrescens 'Momobana'

    (Pink Makino) The gracefully shaped, two-tone flowers of Pink Makino look like ballerinas in tutus. This shade-loving, herbaceous sage comes from moist, mountain woodlands on the Japanese island of Honshu. In Northern California, it blooms for us in late fall.

    Its short flower spikes rise up from basal clumps of shiny green, hairless, arrow-shaped leaves. Plants in this water-loving species can take a little morning sun, but do best with shade for the rest of the day. Pink Makino also needs rich, well-drained soil.

    This is a plant that should be seen up close both for its extraordinary flowers and lush foliage. Plant it in a container, along a shady pathway or as a woodland groundcover.  Although slow growing, this tough yet lovely sage is worth the wait. Fortunately, deer are unlikely to nibble it.
  • Salvia glabrescens 'Shi Ho'

    (Makino) We would grow this rare clone of the woodland Japanese native Salvia glabrescens even if it never flowered, because the hairless, arrow-shaped foliage is so lush, toothed and colorful. As they age, the arrow-shaped leaves transform from yellowish green to dark green.

    This is a plant for moist, shady garden spots, but can take a bit of morning sun. It is hardy as long as it receives plenty of shade, water and soil that is rich and well-drained. In autumn, short spikes of small, pink and purple two-tone flowers rise out of compact basal foliage, creating a gracefully proportioned look.

      Makino should be seen up close both for its extraordinary flowers and lush foliage. Plant it in a container, along a shady pathway or as a woodland groundcover. Although slow growing, this tough yet lovely sage is worth the wait. Fortunately, deer don't like it.

  • Salvia glabrescens 'Yellow & Purple'

    (Makino) The unusual flower color and short, mounding growth of this clone of Salvia glabrascens -- a woodland Japanese native -- make it distinctive. The blossoms are nearly clear yellow with striking purple beelines.

    This is a good choice for moist, shady garden spots, but can take a bit of morning sun. Makino cultivars are hardy as long as they receive plenty of shade, water and soil that is rich and well-drained. In autumn, short flower spikes rise out of compact, basal foliage, creating a gracefully proportioned look.

    This herbaceous sage should be seen up close both for its extraordinary flowers and lush foliage. Plant it in a container, along a shady pathway or as a woodland groundcover. Although slow growing, this tough yet lovely sage is worth the wait. Fortunately, deer don't like it.

  • Salvia hians

    (Himalayan Sage or Kashmir Sage) The word "hians" in Salvia hians means "gaping" and refers to the hanging lip of this sage's flowers, which are a dusky violet and bloom from late spring through early fall.

    This hardy, easy-to-grow species is a heat-tolerant native of Pakistan and Bhutan where it is found at elevations of 8,000 to 13,000 ft. Sticky and fragrant, the foliage features heart-shaped leaves.

    Himalayan Sage grows in woodlands and on slopes in its native environment. Give it sun in cool climates and part shade in warm areas. This water-loving, herbaceous sage also needs soil rich in humus.

    Please note: the "true identity of this plant is in question.  We offer it as is, with no certainty as to whether it is the real Salvia hians.

    Himalayan Sage is a good border plant for shady walkways. Although deer don't like it, our customers do. Consequently, it is usually in short supply.

  • Salvia japonica

    (Japanese Woodland Sage or Shu Wei Cao) This short, lavender-flowered, ornamental sage has purple-to-green foliage. In Asia, this woodland plant has long been an important medicinal herb, used in the treatment of conditions such as diabetes.

    Aside from being pretty, the foliage of Salvia japonica has been eaten during times of famine. In addition to Japan, it is found in Korea, China and Taiwan.

    Although its 24-inch spikes of airy flowers are pretty, it is the richly purpled new growth of this mounding sage that particularly attracts attention as a groundcover or border edging. Give it moist, rich soil and partial shade.
  • Salvia lyrata 'Purple Prince'

    (Purple Prince Lyreleaf Sage or Cancerweed) Due to its short height and reddish-purple, veined leaves, Purple Prince Lyreleaf Sage often is descriped as looking like Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans).

    Barely discernible, the flowers of Lyreleaf Sages bloom in spring and summer. It is the dramatic basal foliage -- including the purplish stems and calyxes of its flower spikes -- that makes this plant attractive.

    Purple Prince is a compact 8 inches tall except when its flower spikes increase its height to 18 inches. It has reddish-purple foliage in contrast to the deep purple of Purple Volcano, another variety of Lyreleaf Sage that we grow. Both are adaptable from full sun to full shade. These are heat- and cold-tolerant plants that are perennial in USDA Zones 5 to 11.

    Lyreleaf Sages love water, but can get by on average watering based on local conditions. They also aren't picky about soils, but reseed easily in loose, sandy ground. Although endangered in New York, this American native species can be invasive where sandy soil and steady moisture are available. It grows wild in 25 states from Kansas east to New Jersey and in the South from Texas to Florida.

    Lyreleaf refers to the shape of the heavily lobed leaves as being similar to a musical lyre. Consumed in salads when its leaves are young and in teas, the species has a weak, minty flavor. Its other prevalent common name, Cancerweed, refers to a long history as a medicinal plant. Native Americans made salves and infusions from Lyreleaf Sages for ailments including asthma, colds, constipation and diarrhea.

    Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds all love this plant and so do we.

  • Salvia nipponica 'BSWJ5829'

    (Kyushu Woodland Sage) We are in love with this short forest sage from Kyushu, Japan. Its clusters of large creamy flowers pale as fresh-churned butter begin blooming in September. Even when not blooming, its foliage is showy in a shady garden.

    The number in its scientific name -- where a more descriptive appellation usually would be -- is the plant's collection number, which is assigned when a botanist or gardener first discovers or develops a new cultivar.

    We thank Bleddyn and Sue Wynn-Jones of Crug Farm in Wales for introducing this beauty to commercial horticulture. It grows well in either partial or full shade and particularly likes a combination of morning sun and afternoon shade. Give it plenty of water and rich, well-drained soil. However, remember that it will take time for this plant to spread and gain full height.

    Kyushu Woodland Sage is a fine choice for a mixed container planting, a perennial border or a damp spot in the understory. Gardeners in the country will be glad to know that deer pass it by.


  • Salvia nipponica 'Fuji Snow'

    (Variegated Japanese Woodland Sage) Irregular white margins surrounding deep green make the triangular leaves of this fine Japanese forest sage lighten the shade. In fall, pale yellow flowers add to the standout effect.

    Pennsylvania plantsman Barry Yinger, who specializes in Asian plants, deserves thanks for introducing this heat-tolerant, cold-hardy clone from Japan. In America, it thrives in USDA Zones 6 to 9.

    Similar to other varieties of Japanese Woodland Sage, this one thrives in many kinds of shade including full shade and settings where morning sun and afternoon shade are available. Give it plenty of water and rich, well-drained soil.

    Aside from being a fine container plant, this sage works well in perennial borders, along a path and as groundcover.


  • Salvia nipponica var. Formosana

    (Formosan Woodland Sage or Tai wan qin zhu cao) A native of Taiwan, this Salvia nipponica grows well in hot, humid climates as well as milder locales.

    Blooming throughout fall, bright yellow flowers help this sage lighten a shady garden. Similar to other Woodland Sages, it can handle many sunlight conditions, including partial shade, full shade and a combination of morning sun and afternoon shade.

    The sunny flowers contrast handsomely with the plant's arrowhead-shaped leaves that are deep green on top and hairy purple underneath. The foliage alone makes this a great planting choice for damp, shady spots. However, it needs somewhat warmer climes -- USDA Zones 7 to 9 -- than our other woodland sages.

    Spreading gently, Formosana eventually clumps densely to become an effective groundcover. Grow this plant in rich, moist soil and give it plenty of water.

    And if that's not enough, consider that this sage is an important anti-inflammatory herb in traditional Chinese herbal medicine. In the West, ongoing medical research is beginning to support this and show Formosana's role as an antioxidant as well.

  • Salvia x 'Big Swing'

    (Big Swing Sage) With its large, cobalt blue flowers displayed on strong, wiry, branched stems, this eye-catching sage wins the FBTS "best of class" designation for being our top Big Leaf Sage (Salvia macrophylla).

    Garden writer Betsy Clebsch developed Big Swing, which is a cross between Big Leaf Sage and Arrowleaf Sage (S. sagitata). Its flower spikes rise well above handsome foliage with large, furry, arrowhead-shaped leaves that look almost tropical.

    Use this heat-tolerant plant to bring a lush look to a damp corner of your garden or in mixed patio containers.  Give it rich, well-drained soil and plenty of water for a long bloom season.

    Big Swing comes highly recommended by butterflies, but deer leave it alone.

  • Salvia yunnanensis

    (Yunnan Sage or yun nan shu wei cao) Yunnan Sage's tall spikes of violet-to-purple flowers bloom from summer into fall. Native to Southwestern China's provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan, it grows on shady, grassy hillsides and along forest margins at elevations up to 9,500 feet.

    This is an important medicinal sage in Asia. Its bright red taproots are made into herbal remedies used to strengthen the immune system. Research laboratories are just now identifying the active ingredients, after a millennium of use by the Chinese.

    Yunnan Sage tolerates cold as well as heat. It needs partial to full shade, average to plentiful water and well-drained soil. Plant it in moist areas, woodland gardens, perennial borders and along pathways where you can see it close up.

    Highly recommended!
Average customer rating:
(1 reviews)  

1 Most useful customer reviews (see all reviews):
Lori Jones
Feb 27, 2014
I received two of the Asplenium Bulbiferum (Mother Ferns) and they were beautiful (and still are). Arrived in excellent condition and they were large plants not little starter plants like I have received from other places. I saw these for sale on a trip throug the North Georgia Mountains and had purchased one there. Liked them so much I looked on line for more and found them here. I would definately order more from Salvia By The Sea.
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Container Gardening: 32 Salvias and Companions for Hanging Baskets

Container Gardening: 32 Salvias and Companions for Hanging Baskets

Category: Container Gardening
Posted: Apr 28, 2015 07:16 AM
Synopsis: As summer nears, it's time to prepare hanging baskets for patios, front entries and other locations that lend themselves to an aerial display of lush greenery and colorful blossoms. This year, don't just settle for what is familiar; make room for cascading Salvias and waterwise companion plants. Flowers by the Sea has selected 32 favorite plants that arch, tumble, form globes of bloom and otherwise perform beautifully aloft.
I like Amstiad

Hummingbirds love Salvia (sage) nectar and are attracted to it by the bright colors of tubular sage blossoms. In particular, these little whirlybirds can easily spot flowers in the red spectrum, which is prevalent among sages. Here are some hummingbird gardening tips.

  1. Go tubular. Hummingbirds need tubular flowers that are easy for long, thin beaks to access.
  2. Provide lots of color. Think of yourself as a cafeteria manager who needs to provide many tempting choices in order to attract business. Red, pink, orange and purple sages are particularly powerful hummingbird magnets.
  3. Keep your garden blooming. Plant a variety of Salvias based not only on color but also a broad span of bloom times. Many flower from spring into fall. Others are prolific fountains of nectar for shorter seasons. Numerous winter-blooming species are available for areas that are home to hummingbirds year round.
  4. Grow sages native to the Western Hemisphere. Although hummingbirds will take advantage of many kinds of tubular flowering plants, these tiny birds are native to the Western Hemisphere and prefer flowering plants native to their half of the world.
  5. Select Salvia companion plants. Hummingbirds appreciate a variety of favorite tubular-flowered plants.
  6. Plant hummingbird gardens near cover. Trees and bushes surrounding feeding areas provide protection from predators and chilly, rainy weather.
  7. Don't use pesticides. Insects provide protein for hummingbirds, so don't kill these food sources.
  8. Provide water. Hummingbirds frolic in misters and shallow birdbaths.
  9. Supplement plantings with feeder tubes. Change the sugar water every few days and don't add food coloring. Keep the feeders clean, but don't scrub them with soaps or detergents. Here is more feeder care information.
  10. Read more. Our Everything Salvias Blog offers a number of articles about hummingbirds.