General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Fern
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Partial Shade to Full Shade
Full Shade
Water Preferences: Wet
Wet Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 12 - 48 inches
Plant Spread: 6 - 18 inches
Leaves: Unusual foliage color
Underground structures: Rhizome
Suitable Locations: Bog gardening
Uses: Groundcover
Water gardens
Will Naturalize
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Flood Resistant
Propagation: Other methods: Division
Other: Divide creeping rhizomes
Conservation status: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation status:
Conservation status: Least Concern
Common names
  • Sensitive Fern
  • Bead fern
  • Sympathy fern
  • Onoclea

This plant is tagged in:
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  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Sep 24, 2018 8:45 AM concerning plant:
    Sensitive Fern gets its common name because it is sensitive to the first frost and to drought, and the leaves rapidly wilt if picked. Its native range is in southeast Canada from Newfoundland to Manitoba down to eastern Texas to northern Florida back up through New England, growing wild in swamps, marshes, and bottomlands. It usually grows about 1.5 to 2 feet high, but can grow to 4 feet tall. Its sterile fronds are coarse, triangular in shape, and simple pinnatifid and are about 1.5 to 4 feet long. Its separate fertile fronds come up from the ground and are short, to about 1 foot high, erect, woody-like stems that brown up in late summer and remain until spring. It spreads quickly by rhizomes (underground stems) to form a colony or mass. I have seen this species growing in full sun and doing well where the soil is always wet; otherwise, it should have part-shade to full shade in rich, moist soil. It is occasionally planted in landscapes, but not commonly. It is offered by a good number of native plant nurseries and some larger, diverse conventional nurseries.
  • Posted by sallyg (central Maryland - Zone 7b) on Jun 12, 2019 8:31 PM concerning plant:
    I've grown this fern for over fifteen years. It grows a thick mat of roots, and spreads. Even in a moist spot, I have never had it much more than 2 feet tall. Maybe it needs to be undisturbed longer to grow so tall - I have to dig it back away from the downspout periodically here. Easy to grow and interesting both for leaf and for dry spore stems.

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