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Ostrich Fern

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The most common and recognizable of the ferns, this is a very tough and hardy plant, featuring tall lacy fronds all season long; spreads aggressively and may require some control; grows best in shade with rich, moist soil; great for textural effect

Characteristics

Species:
struthiopteris
Average Landscape Height:
24 inches
Average Landscape Width:
4 feet
Genus:
Matteuccia
Branching:
herbaceous
Plant Form:
upright spreading
Canopy:
leggy
Growth Rate:
fast
Pruning:
spring cleanup
Spacing:
3 feet
Summer Foliage Color:
light green
Maximum Light:
full sun
Minimum Light:
shade
Maximum Moisture:
wet
Minimum Moisture:
dry
Pollution Tolerance:
high

Ornamental Features

Ostrich Fern is primarily valued in the garden for its ornamental upright and spreading habit of growth. Its large fragrant ferny compound leaves remain light green in color throughout the season.

Landscape Attributes

Ostrich Fern is an herbaceous perennial with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.

Planting & Growing

Ostrich Fern will grow to be about 24 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 4 feet. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 3 feet apart. It tends to be leggy, with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and should be underplanted with lower-growing perennials. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 20 years. As an herbaceous perennial, this plant will usually die back to the crown each winter, and will regrow from the base each spring. Be careful not to disturb the crown in late winter when it may not be readily seen!

This plant performs well in both full sun and full shade. It is an amazingly adaptable plant, tolerating both dry conditions and even some standing water. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in rich soils. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This species is native to parts of North America. It can be propagated by division.

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