Onoclea sensibilis

Sensitive fern

Tips for Homeowners:

The soothing green foliage of this rambling fern make it an excellent Groundcover for a Wetland or wet Shade Garden.  In appropriate sites, Onoclea sensibilis matures into a verdant and soothing Mass or Border.  This fern can control erosion and is a valuable component of Deer Resistant Plantings, Low Maintenance Plantings, Rain Gardens and Wetlands.

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  • Onoclea sensibilis is a rambling pinnately lobed fern with soft green sterile fronds.
  • Fronds are deciduous often turning bright yellow before disappearing for the winter.
  • Spores are enclosed in bead-like coverings and are borne on separate upright fertile stalks.
  • Forms colonies in rich boggy or moist loamy soils in shade or part shade.

Height: 12-18 in
Spread: 30-36 in
Spacing: 3-5 ft

Zone: 3-9
Color: Non-Flowering

Characteristics & Attributes


  • Native
  • Great Foliage
  • Water's Edge / Bog Plant
  • Mass Planting
  • Fast Growing
  • Ground Cover


  • Shade/ Part Shade


  • Spreads quickly by rhizomes
  • Creeping/Ground Cover

Season of Interest (Foliage):

  • Summer
  • Spring
  • Fall

Soil Moisture:

  • Keep Well-Watered
  • Wet Soil/Wetlands
  • Moist, Well-Drained

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