Wavy scaly cloakfern for November Foliage Follow-Up


“I got a rock,” Charlie Brown complains while trick-or-treating. But I was happy to find this holey limestone rock at Redenta’s in Dallas last month. Yes, I actually bought a rock as a planter. Later, at The Natural Gardener, I happened upon this unusual plant — wavy scaly cloakfern (Astrolepis sinuata), a dry-loving native Texas fern — and decided to give it a try in the rock.


According to the Wildflower Center’s website:

“Astrolepis sinuata is a lower elevation, dry habitat fern typically found growing underneath evergreen desert & semi-desert shrubs in rocky soil or rock crevices. Although the fronds like to be in full sun, the roots like [to] remain shaded. This fern is semi-evergreen…with thick green fronds, the undersides of which are cinnamon in color, forming a tight 18[-in] wide upright clump with a short creeping rhizome.”

Mine’s in more shade than is ideal, but it sounds like a dry rock planter will be to its liking.


Plant Delights, which sells it by mail, adds this warning — or challenge, depending on how you look at it:

“This attractive southwest US native is found on limestone outcrops and slopes from Texas south to South America, but is rarely seen in cultivation…This is not a fern to be tried by beginners, as it is not as easy to cultivate as most others. In nature, it usually grows with its roots hidden beneath a large rock.”

I hope I don’t kill it!


And because today is Foliage Follow-Up, I’ll end with the patio view from my living room — nearly all foliage plants, including purple oxalis (Oxalis triangularis) on the stairs, various potted succulents, and an evergreen vine on the fence.

This is my November post for Foliage Follow-Up. Fellow bloggers, what leafy loveliness is happening in your garden this month? Please join me in giving foliage its due on the day after Bloom Day. Leave a link to your post in a comment below. I’d appreciate it if you’ll also link to my post in your own — sharing link love! I look forward to seeing your foliage faves.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
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22 Responses

  1. Love that fern and the rock is perfect. I still have a number of ferns that are looking good despite multiple frosty nights. Here’s my November foliage: http://www.lindabrazill.com/each_little_world/2017/11/foliage-follow-up-11162017.html

  2. Peter/Outlaw says:

    I wish you luck with your new and very pretty fern. Your new planter rocks! Great combination. My FFU, random as usual, is here: https://outlawgarden.blogspot.com/2017/11/foliage-follow-up-november-2017.html

  3. Jenni says:

    When I think of ferns, I think of moist, loamy soil, so this is a new one for me! I love the the ruffle shaped leaves. I hope this is still performing well when we all get to visit your garden at the Austin Fling! Autumn foliage is rocking in the PNW. http://www.therainydaygardener.com/2017/11/fall-splendor-in-rainy-day-garden.html

  4. I have a couple of those ferns, neither of which looks as good as yours, which I suppose shouldn’t really be a surprise given our respective locations. I’m sure it will be very happy.

  5. lcp says:

    Yes, that fern is very cool! I can offer words of encouragement because I have two of these that have survived two winters & two summers here in San Antonio, with minimal assistance on my part…Both are in pots, and in light shade (courtyard by front porch & back yard near umbrella/rockers) and have been growing quite merrily all along…If they get VERY dry the leaves curl up and look quite dead and brown, but revive like Lazarus if you give them a drink in time, thank goodness…I did plant two others, quite wee, in the cementlike soil that borders the back path below the deck, and they were in sun half the day: I am sorry to report those two are no longer amongst the living, so my guess is that your will be quite happy in their nifty rock in your shade…don’t they seem like maidenhair on steroids to you, by the way?

    On another note, your purple oxalis is giving my purple oxalis an inferiority complex…:)-

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Yay, so glad to hear it doesn’t mind light shade! I have hope for this little guy. And I like the Lazarus bit too, although now I’m tempted to test it. As for that oxalis, it’s nothing I do for it. It’s just a purple-powered machine and has been going strong in that turquoise pot for years with a little top-dressing of compost in spring. I adore it. —Pam

  6. Your backyard looks great, and I love your rock-hugging fern. What a fabulous planter! I have a couple of Cheilanthes which look similar to the one you have, and also like a bit different conditions than most other ferns. Best of luck with it – I hope to see it in person, although I’m still on the fence about the Fling. Would love to attend, but we are on the college hunt this year, so are almost maxed out as far as travel budget goes. Will try to finagle something…

    My FFU here: https://flutterandhum.wordpress.com/2017/11/16/foliage-follow-up-day-november-2017/

  7. Lori says:

    I’m trying this one too! Haven’t killed it yet. Robin hasn’t killed hers either, so I am hoping it’s a winner in my garden!

  8. Jenny says:

    I think I have seen that growing successfully at the Wildflower Center. Good luck.

  9. Your new fern looks great and the rock planter is perfect for it. Your garden is looking very summer-like, while here in the northeast foliage is changing color and starting to fall. Here is my FFU for November at http://landscapedesignbylee.blogspot.com/2017/11/garden-bloggers-bloom-day-foliage.html#.Wg5VrLpOmhA

  10. Kris P says:

    I love the rock planter and the fern is perfect for it. I’ve been trying to find ferns that can withstand summer’s heat and our long dry spells here so I’ll be interested in hearing how yours, new to me, does in the long haul. I have a belated foliage follow-up here: https://krispgarden.blogspot.com/2017/11/foliage-follow-up-new-plants.html

  11. How clever to plant the fern in a rock, Pam. It is very effective. Your back yard is lovely. P. x

  12. Even without flowers, your foliage keeps the garden interesting. So much life yet in late November!

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