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Onoclea sensibilis ‘Sensitive Fern’

Sensitive Fern’ is a large, semi-evergreen, very beautiful, deciduous fern which occurs in wet woods and thickets and in moist soils along streams and springs. Grows up to 18″ tall. Features long-stalked, deeply pinnatifid, bright green, vegetative (sterile) fronds with leathery, triangular leaflets (pinnae) which have distinctively netted veins. Shorter, erect, woody-like fertile fronds (to 12″ tall), whose ultimate divisions are bead-like segments, typically brown up in late summer and persist throughout the remaining season and winter. Commonly called sensitive fern because the green vegetative fronds are sensitive to and suffer almost immediate damage from the first fall frost. Also sensitive to drought.

Ferns are perfect for the background of the garden or in a woodland setting. Their gracefulness make them especially suited for companions to the Hosta. Performs well in sun but prefers partial shade.


# Description Qty per Unit Units Available Price/Unit
FN125 Onoclea sensibilis 'Sensitive Fern' out of stock $0.00

Plant Details +

Size #1
Height 12-18"
Spacing 18"
Hardiness Zones 4-9
Exposure Partial Shade to Full Shade
Foliage Bright yellow-green fronds
Flower Non-flowering
Bloomtime Non-flowering

General Information +

Botanical: Onoclea sensibilis

Common: Sensitive fern

Family: Dryopteridaceae

General Characteristics: An interesting fern with a broad, triangular overall leaf shape and deeply cut, wavy margins that are smooth (not toothed). The leaf stem is winged and the fronds are upright to arched in habit. Best in wet woodland gardens and moist locations along streams and ponds. Also appropriate for shaded areas of a native plant garden or naturalized planting. Nice to mix with evergreen ferns such as the Christmas fern, to 'hide' them once they've died back/gone dormant.

Planting/Care Instructions +

Pests or Diseases: No serious insect or disease problems. Foliage may depreciate as summer progresses in hot climates, particularly if soils are not kept moist.

Planting Instructions: May be planted in any well-drained soil. Dig a hole large enough to encompass the roots without bending or circling. Set the plant in place so the crown (part of the plant where the root meets the stem) is level with the soil surface. Water thoroughly. Best grown in organically rich, medium wet, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. Needs consistent moisture. Although native to swampy and marshy areas, it grows quite well in average garden soil as long as soil is not allowed to dry out. Usually grows taller in wet soils which it tolerates well. Spreads by both creeping rhizomes and spores, and can be somewhat invasive in optimum growing conditions.