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Osmunda regalis AGM

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© RHS 1998

Characteristics

Plant type

Bog or Fern

Habit

Clump-forming

Resilience

Hardiness

H6 (hardy - very cold winter)

Colour

Foliage

Brown and Red in Autumn
Green in Spring and Summer

Size

Ultimate height

1.5-2.5 metres

Ultimate spread

0.5-1 metres

Time to ultimate height

5-10 years


Preferred common name

royal fern

Family

Osmundaceae


Osmunda are medium-sized to large deciduous ferns, usually from wet places, with erect or arching, pinnate or bipinnate fronds, bearing spores either on modified pinnae or on separate, smaller fronds

O. regalis is a robust deciduous fern forming a large clump of bipinnate fronds to 2.5m in height, bearing rusty-brown spore-bearing pinnae at the tips; foliage turns attractive red-brown in autumn

Other common names

  • blooming fern
  • bog onion
  • buckhorn brake
  • common flowering fern
  • ditch fern
  • herb Christopher
  • hog onion
  • kidney fern
  • king fern
  • osmund royal
  • osmund the waterman
  • royal osmund fern
  • rusty fern
  • water fern

How to grow

Sunlight

  • Full sun
  • Part shade
  • Full shade

Aspect

  • South-facing, North-facing, West-facing or East-facing
  • Exposed or Sheltered

Cultivation

Easy to grow in most cool, moist, lightly shaded sites and will grow in full sun if given plenty of moisture. Will tolerate alkaline soils if plenty of fibrous compost is incorporated. Useful for very wet sites

Soil

  • Poorly-drained or Moist but well-drained
  • Acid, Neutral or Alkaline
  • Clay, Loam or Chalk

Propagation

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

Suggested planting locations and garden types

Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower borders and beds, Low Maintenance, Underplanting of Roses and Shrubs or Wildflower meadow


How to care

Pruning

Dead or damaged fronds may be removed as necessary

Pests

Generally pest free outdoors

Diseases

Generally disease free outdoors