- Royal Fern – Osmunda regalis Hardy Planting Zones- 3-10 Sun or Shade – Sun, Part Shade, Shade Mature Height - 2-5’ Mature Width- 2-4’ Bloom Season – Non-flowering Gardener Status- Beginner
Royal Fern - Osmunda Regalis
This is a deciduous fern that usually grows in Africa and Europe. When the fronds begin to grow, the fern looks like a flowering plant. The fronds of the fern are also very fertile, making it easy for the plant to reproduce in a short time. Sterile fronds often grow to about 63 inches tall while the fertile fronds are usually much shorter at about 50 cm. Royal Fern is one of the biggest ferns you will find in North America outside of the tropics. It produces a sizeable amber inflorescence in the middle of summer that could easily be mistaken for a flower, giving it the nickname “the flowering fern.” Much like other ferns, the royal fern has long spindly branches with alternating green leaves growing up each side. These branches tend to grow in bunches that expand as the rhizomes below make their way through the soil. Although it is quite large and beautiful, this fern is one of the slowest to reproduce. Its rhizomes will leisurely creep through your garden and pop up new offshoots as it pleases, a very fitting personality trait for a royal plant. You can speed up growth by planting this fern in the acidic soil as it tends to grow much more slowly in an alkaline or neutral PH. Picking a spot with high moisture retention will also ensure that your royal fern will stay happy and healthy. This species will do well in both sand and clay as long as the PH and moisture content is sufficient. In the wild, you might find this variety in a woodland bog or at the edge of a stream. This makes it a highly versatile option for almost any garden in North America. Because of the moisture requirements, this fern makes an excellent leafy green accent on the North side of your home, under a shade tree, or any other shady location on your property. You should give these plants about 18 inches of space to spread their lovely branches.