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Sensitive Fern

Scientific name

Onoclea sensibilis


Sensitive Fern is a perennial fern species that typically grows less than 1 m in height. The leaves of this fern are light green, narrow, spaced out, have descending lower leaflets, and ascending upper leaflets. Erect, spore-bearing fronds appear out of the center of the leaves in the early spring and turn brown in the late summer. The fronds of this fern have a woody, segmented bead appearance.

Planting conditions

Sensitive Fern grows best in moist or wet conditions with full or partial shade. It prefers organically rich, humus or loam soil types. It is tolerant to heavy shade, acidic soil, and periodically flooded areas. It is intolerant of drought and sensitive to the first fall frost. This plant can be naturally found in moist forests, around marshes, bogs, and along shaded stream or lake shorelines.


  • Plant height:
    • Max 1.5m
    • Max 2m
    • Max 3m
    • Any
  • Moisture level:
    • Moist
    • Wet
    • Flood Tolerant
  • Light conditions:
    • Partial sun
    • Shade
  • Soil type:
    • Loamy
    • Humus
  • pH:
    • Acidic
    • Normal
  • Depth:
    • Potted
  • Eco Zone:
    • 4a
    • 4b
    • 5a
    • 5b
    • 6a
    • 6b
    • 7a
  • Plant type:
    • Ground Cover
    • Fern
  • Height:
    • 1 m
  • Spread:
    • 1 m