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Care of the plant Onoclea sensibilis or Sensitive fern.

Care of the plant Onoclea sensibilis or Sensitive fern

The genus Onoclea, family Onocleaceae, includes a single species of fern native to eastern North America and eastern Asia: Onoclea sensibilis.

Common names: Sensitive fern, Japanese ostrich fern, Bead fern or Ostrich fern.

They are elegant ferns with large rhizomes that reach 1 meter (3.28 feet) in height and 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) in diameter. They have light green bipinnate fertile fronds (leaves) and bright greenish-yellow sterile pinnatifid fronds. They do not produce flowers. The spores are protected by membranes called Indusios.

These easy-to-grow plants are used in large pots as houseplants, greenhouses, and on windows, patios and terraces. In the garden they are used on rockeries, on edges and in light undergrowth. In Asia young shoots are eaten.

Onoclea sensibilis prefers a semi-shade exposure but also grows in full sun (in cool summer regions). They prefer cool climates and resist light and occasional frosts.

Water abundantly so that the substrate never dries out completely. They do not resist drought.

The soil can be a mixture of 3/4 clay soil and 1/4 leaf mulch. Planting is done in early spring.

Fertilize monthly with liquid organic fertilizer in spring and summer.

They do not need pruning but their lateral expansion by stolons must be controlled.

They are plants resistant to the usual pests and diseases but sensitive to drought.

They are propagated by division of rhizomes or stolons in autumn or winter.

Images of the plant Onoclea sensibilis or Sensitive fern

Onoclea sensibilis