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Royal Fern

Osmunda regalis

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Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis) at Ashcombe Farm & Greenhouses

Osmunda regalis foliage

Osmunda regalis foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis) at Ashcombe Farm & Greenhouses

Osmunda regalis in spring

Osmunda regalis in spring

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  5 feet

Spacing:  24 inches

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade  full shade 

Hardiness Zone:  3a

Ornamental Features

Royal Fern features bold spikes of brown flowers rising above the foliage in mid summer. Its enormous oval bipinnately compound leaves are green in color. The foliage often turns tan in fall. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Royal Fern is an herbaceous fern with a shapely form and gracefully arching fronds. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other garden plants with finer foliage.

This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and is best cleaned up in early spring before it resumes active growth for the season. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spreading

Royal Fern is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Groundcover
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens
  • Bog Gardens

Planting & Growing

Royal Fern will grow to be about 4 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 3 feet. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 24 inches apart. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 15 years.

This plant performs well in both full sun and full shade. It prefers to grow in moist to wet soil, and will even tolerate some standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone over the growing season to conserve soil moisture. This species is not originally from North America. It can be propagated by division.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Characteristics
Accent  Groundcover  Naturalizing  Bog 
Applications
Flowers  Texture  Plant Form 
Ornamental Features