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Onoclea (oh-NO-klee-uh)

Common Name:  Sensitive fern

Light:  - Part sun to full shade

Soil:  Average to rich, acidic, moist to wet

Moisture:  Consistent moist to wet and swampy

Zones:  3 - 8

Onoclea sensibilis

Onoclea Description and Cultural Information

Onoclea sensibilis, sensitive fern. 12 - 30". Sensitive ferns have unique broad leaves with 12 - 15" fertile bead sticks that make an interesting combination. It gets its name because it is sensitive to climate changes, especially cold. It a vigorous spreader under ideal conditions.

How to Grow:  Sensitive ferns prefer moist, marshy conditions in part to full shade, but they will tolerate a fair amount of sun if kept constantly wet. In average garden conditions they tend to be as controlled as any other spreading fern but along ponds and stream beds they will grow quite rapidly. Divide plants in spring or early summer, planting the rhizomes just below the soil.

Landscape uses:  Sensitive ferns are attractive when naturalized in moist woodlands or along ponds. It makes a nice addition to the bog garden with plants such as lobelia, ligularia, rodgersia, and water loving iris, as long as you have the room.

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