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Onoclea sensibilis
  • RHS AGM

sensitive fern

O. sensibilis is a deciduous, rhizomatous fern forming extensive colonies of broad, light green, pinnate fronds to 60cm in length, the pinnae deeply lobed. Shorter, narrow fertile fronds have much reduced, blackish lobes

Other common names
bead fern
Japanese ostrich fern
see moreostrich fern
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Size
Ultimate height
0.5–1 metres
Time to ultimate height
5–10 years
Ultimate spread
1.5–2.5 metres
Growing conditions
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Poorly–drained
pH
Acid, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Green
Autumn Green
Winter
Position
  • Full shade
  • Partial shade
Aspect

East–facing or South–facing or North–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H6
Botanical details
Family
Onocleaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Suckering
Genus

Onoclea are deciduous ferns with creeping rhizomes and pinnately divided sterile fronds; spores borne on more erect, blackish, contracted fertile fronds

Name status

Correct

Plant range
E North America, Asia

How to grow

Cultivation

Easy to grow in most cool, moist, shaded sites. Good for pondside plantings but may become invasive in smaller gardens

Propagation

Propagate by sowing spores as soon as ripe or by division in spring

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Wildflower meadow
  • Low Maintenance
  • Flower borders and beds
  • Underplanting of roses and shrubs
Pruning

Dead or damaged fronds may be removed as necessary

Pests

Generally pest free outdoors

Diseases

Generally disease free outdoors

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