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Sweet Fern

Scientific name

Comptonia peregrina


Sweet Fern is a deciduous shrub species that typically grows 1 m in height. The leaves are dark green coloured, alternately arranged, narrow, lance shaped, have entire margins, rounded lobes, and are deeply notched, giving the appearance of a fern. The leaves are also aromatic when rubbed or crushed. The flowers are small, yellowish green catkins, which bloom between May and June. The fruits are greenish brown, burr like nutlets. This plant fixes it’s own nitrogen, which allows it to grow in poor soil and benefit nearby plants. This plant spreads well to produce small colonies. It is useful for controlling erosion and stabilizing shorelines.

Planting conditions

Sweet Fern grows best in normal or moist conditions with full or partial sun exposure. It can grow in a variety of soil but prefers sand, humus, or loam soil types. It is tolerant to infertile soil, acidic soil, wind, wet areas, and drought. This plant can be naturally found in rocky bluffs, prairies, and along roadsides.


  • Plant height:
    • Max 1.5m
    • Max 2m
    • Max 3m
    • Any
  • Moisture level:
    • Dry
    • Normal
    • Moist
    • Wet
    • Drought Tolerant
  • Light conditions:
    • Full sun
    • Partial sun
  • Soil type:
    • Sandy
    • Loamy
    • Humus
    • Rocky
  • pH:
    • Acidic
    • Normal
  • Depth:
    • Potted
  • Eco Zone:
    • 3a
    • 3b
    • 4a
    • 4b
    • 5a
    • 5b
    • 6a
    • 6b
    • 7a
  • Plant type:
    • Shrub
  • Height:
    • 1 m
  • Spread:
    • 1 m