Ostrich Fern Info: Learn More About How To Grow Ostrich Ferns
The ostrich fern (Eriophrys ostricornis) is one of the most popular ornamental plants in the world. It grows up to 10 feet tall and has a very attractive greenish white color with red spots all over its leaves.
Its flowers are small pink or purple berries which have been used medicinally for centuries. They are believed to relieve pain, reduce fever, treat coughs and colds, and even boost immunity.
Ostrich fern is native to Africa but it was introduced into North America in the late 1800’s. It became established quickly because of their adaptability and hardiness.
However they were not considered a good choice for indoor growing due to their short life span of only 2 years. Their main use indoors is for hanging baskets.
There are many varieties of ostrich fern including the common ostrich fern (Eriophrys chalcedonyi), the golden ostrich fern (Eriophrys rubra), and the California ostrich fern (Eriophrys californica). All these species grow in different climates so there will be some differences in appearance depending on where you live.
How Do You Transplant Ostrich Fern?
Ostrich ferns grow best in shaded areas where they are protected from strong winds. They do not grow high but spread out so they need room to spread out and not be crowded by other plants. It is best to plant them in the fall or spring when the soil is workable.
Dig a hole for the ostrich fern at least twice as wide as the container that it came in. After you remove the plant from its container, place it in the hole and fill it with soil.
Press down firmly on the soil and water it thoroughly so that it is well watered. Ostrich ferns do not like “wet feet” so make sure that the area where you planted it is well drained.
How To Care For Ostrich Ferns
Ostrich ferns like partial shade so they can benefit from being planted under deciduous trees. Like all ferns, they do not like to be crowded by other plants so make sure that there is at least three feet between them and other types of plants.
They like fertile well drained soil and they need moderate water but do not over water them.
You should fertilize them once a month during the growing season and stop fertilizing them three months before the first frost date in your area. Ostrich ferns are susceptible to many types of pests and diseases so check to see if yours exhibit any signs of pest or disease before treating them.
When planting more than one ostrich fern together, plant multiple ones in a group rather than just two or three scattered around the yard. This will give your yard a more natural look and they will grow together better as a group.
Ostrich ferns are long lived plants and can grow very large over time so plant them somewhere they are not going to become a problem.
When Is The Best Time To Buy Ostrich Ferns For Planting?
The best time to plant an ostrich fern is in the spring as soon as it is available for sale. Planting in the fall is also an option but it will be stressed by cooler weather and possible lack of adequate sunlight before winter sets in so make sure it is going to get enough light in its new location.
Fall planting will produce a smaller plant than one planted in the spring. Planted in the summer, ostrich ferns tend to be leggier and slightly less hardy than those planted at other times of the year.
I hope that you now have a better idea of what kind of care an ostrich fern requires and where to plant it in your yard. If you are thinking about planting a large number of these ferns in your landscape, you might want to think about buying them as plugs rather than as individual plants.
This will give you a head start on growing larger plants with less care as well as giving you more of them.
Whatever time of year you plant them, they will grow much better if they have enough room to spread out rather than being crowded by other plants. Most garden centers only carry them as individual plants so if you want more than one or two, you need to order them ahead of time from a wholesale grower.
Sources & references used in this article:
… and Analytical Studies of Pteridophytes: I. Preliminary Observations on the Development of Buds on the Rhizome of the Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthlopterls Tod.) by CW Wardlaw – Annals of Botany, 1943 – JSTOR
Characterization of matteuccin, the 2.2 S storage protein of the ostrich fern: Evolutionary relationship to angiosperm seed storage proteins by J RÖDIN, L RASK – European journal of biochemistry, 1990 – Wiley Online Library
Spatial characteristics of edible wild fern harvesting in mountainous villages in Northeastern Japan using GPS tracks by T Matsuura, K Sugimura, A Miyamoto, H Tanaka… – Forests, 2014 – mdpi.com
Mutation in ferns growing in an environment contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls by EJ Klekowski Jr, E Klekowski – American Journal of Botany, 1982 – Wiley Online Library
Knowledge-based estimation of edible fern harvesting sites in mountainous communities of northeastern Japan by T Matsuura, K Sugimura, A Miyamoto, N Tanaka – Sustainability, 2014 – mdpi.com