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Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis (royal fern)

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Hardy fern grow sheet
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis

royal fern

Royal fern is truly one of the most distinctive and spectacular bold-textured deciduous native ferns with its light green, leathery leaves and graceful architectural stature. With adequate moisture, royal fern can reach 6' tall and create a lush, tropical feel along a stream or beside a pond.

SIZE
Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis LP32 - 32 per flat Availability
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Height

4-6 Feet

Spread

2-3 Feet

Spacing

18 Inches

Bloom Color

USDA Hardiness Zone 2-10

royal fern Interesting Notes

Royal fern is truly one of the most distinctive and spectacular bold-textured deciduous native ferns with its light green, leathery leaves and graceful architectural stature. With adequate moisture, royal fern can reach 6' tall and create a lush, tropical feel along a stream or beside a pond. Osmunda regalis var spectabilis has broad fronds with large, well-separated pinnae and upright fertile fronds that change from golden-yellow to green to brown later in the season. Easy to grow and handles moist shade with delight, royal fern is an ancient deciduous species that is found on all seven continents.


For best performance, royal fern should be grown in part shade to full shade in moist soil, rich in organic matter. When plant is first planted, water well and continue to water until well-established. O. regalis var spectabilis grows as far north as Ontario and as far south as Florida through the Midwest until Texas. It naturally occurs in the wet-mesic to hydric soils of swamps, riparian forests, and shorelines.


Royal fern has a long lifespan and is a slow and steady grower, reaching up to 100 years old if placed in a happy situation. Osmunda spp provides subsistence for a borer moth species but is most notable for creating habitat for vertebrate animals when planted en masse. With its fibrous root systems, it is helpful for erosion control especially along stream and pond banks. The plant does not tolerate fast moving water well.

Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis Growing and Maintenance Tips

Grow in shade or part sun in moist soil rich in organic matter. Water well on planting and regularly until established.

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Shade
Full Shade
Part Sun
Part Sun
Moist
Moist
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Cut Flower
Cut Flower

Additional Information

Green Infrastructure
Meadow/Prairie
Woodland
Bioretention/Rain Garden
Wetland Indicator Status
Obligate Wetland (OBL)
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Attributes
Native to North America
Propagation Type
Tissue culture