Common Name: royal fern
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium to wet
Suggested Use: Naturalize, Rain Garden
Tolerate: Rabbit, Heavy Shade, Wet Soil
Best grown in medium to wet soils in part shade. Prefers moist, rich, humusy, acidic soils, but adapts to lesser conditions. Also prefers cool summer climates where it tolerates close to full sun as long as given consistent moisture. Full sun exposure is not recommended for the hot St. Louis summers.
Royal fern is a tall, deciduous fern that typically grows in clumps to 2-3’ tall, but with consistent moisture in optimum growing conditions can reach 6’ in height. Broad fronds have large, well-separated pinnae (leaflets) which give this fern an almost pea-family appearance. As the cultivar name suggests, ‘Purpurascens’ is noted for producing reddish-purple tinted fronds in spring which mature to bright green in summer before turning yellow to brown in autumn. Spores are located in brown, tassel-like, fertile clusters at the tips of the fronds, thus giving rise to the additional common name of flowering fern for this plant. Osmunda fiber used in the potting of orchids comes from the fibrous roots of species ferns.
No serious insect or disease problems.
Excellent selection for wet areas along ponds, streams, water gardens or in bogs. Also grows well in shaded borders, woodland gardens, wild gardens or native plant gardens.