Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’, the Japanese painted fern, wins popularity contests everywhere. Deservedly named by the North American Perennial Plant Association as the Perennial Plant of the Year in 2004, it is the only fern to have been so honored. The colorful fronds are a collage of varying green shades blended with burgundy and gray. Whirls of deciduous foliage hold this unique and decorative appearance throughout the summer. Frond sizes and colorings are highly variable but this offering is a select highly colored clone. It is best displayed in filtered shade. Sun will burn the foliage. Plant it as a focal point in your Zone 4 to 9 gardens where it will gradually spread to form an elegant ground cover.