Sodding Suggestions- Native Interrupted Ferns

Interrupted Ferns – Osmunda claytoniana

Twinwood Farms, a Texas tree farm offers native trees and grass for landscaping.


Scientific Name: Osmunda claytoniana; Common Name: Interrupted Ferns

Hardiness: USDA zones 2 – 8

How Sold: In bunches.  Contact us today to purchase some for your yard project!

Landscape Use: Grows well with hostas in shaded woodland or wild gardens. Also effective along ponds or streams and works well as an underplanting for trees and ornamental shrubs. Interesting accent for the shaded border.

Details: Osmunda claytoniana, commonly called interrupted fern, is native to Eastern Asia, Eastern United States and Eastern Canada and which usually occurs on moist, wooded slopes of ravines, moist sandstone ledges and wet woodlands. It typically grows in a spreading-vase form to 2-3′ tall, but with constant moisture can reach 5′ in height. Broad fronds are “interrupted” in the middle by spore-bearing pinnae (leaflets) which typically fall off in mid-summer, thus giving rise to the common name. Heavy rhizomes are the source for Osmunda fiber used in the potting of orchids. The oldest known fossil record of any living fern in the world is over 200 million years old!

Planting Instructions: This plant performs well in both full sun and full shade. It prefers to grow in moist to wet soil and will even tolerate some standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH and is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. Dig saucer shaped hole. The depth is determined by measuring the height of the roots from root flare to bottom. The width is 2-3 times the root ball diameter. Plant the root ball with the growing tips just barely showing through the loose soil surface. Water thoroughly to settle the soil and give plants a good start. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 3 feet apart. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 15 years.

Care & Maintenance: Easily grown in medium to wet soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers moist, rich, humus, acidic soils, well-drained soils but adapts to lesser conditions. Do not allow the soil to dry out. Will grow in full sun if given plenty of moisture but is not recommended in southern climates. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. Remove dead or damaged fronds as necessary. Foliage is blue-green in spring; yellow-green, russet, bright-blue, black in summer; blue-green, russet in autumn

Diseases & Pests: No serious insect or disease problems. Rabbit, deer, clay, resistant and a great asset for very wet sites as it is very tolerant of wet soil. This is a high maintenance plant that will require regular care and upkeep and is best cleaned up in early spring before it resumes active growth for the season. Gardeners should be aware the fern’s characteristic of suckering and plant in an area where it can be allowed to spread.



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