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Onoclea sensibilis - Sensitive Fern from Pleasant Run Nursery

Onoclea sensibilis

Sensitive Fern

Onoclea sensibilis, also called Sensitive Fern as its specific epithet might imply, is an Eastern North American native fern with broad, almost tropical-looking fronds throughout the growing season. The fronds emerge as reddish crosiers, unfurling and maturing to be light, limey green in color, standing out on long stiples (stalks) against the dark forest floor. Small fertile fronds rise above the lime green sterile fronds in mid-summer, beginning to take on a dark brown tone by August and September. The individual bead-like segments of these fertile fronds make for an interesting addition to a seasonal floral arrangement, or even just as a textural component in the fall and winter gardens. It’s not just called Sensitive Fern for no reason, however: this fern is notorious for being quite dramatic about winter damage, and will die back to the ground immediately upon the first frost. If allowed to thrive in its preferred environment with wet, consistently moist soil, Onoclea sensibilis will happily spread by rhizome and naturalize itself in its habitat, providing a dense canopy of fronds that frogs, toads, and salamanders use for shelter.


36 Inches


36 Inches

USDA Hardiness Zone

Current Availability
Qty Avail Description Comments Future Crop Future Crop Ready Date
0 Onoclea sensibilis #1 (Sensitive Fern) 300_224 Spring 2024_8/1/2024
Characteristics & Attributes
Deer Resistant
Full Shade
Native - Straight Species
Rain Garden Plants
Winter Interest
Soil Conditions
Full Shade
Partial Shade/Shade Tolerant
Black Walnut Tolerant
Clay Soil Tolerant
Wet Site Tolerant
Foliage Color