Fern Ostrich

Matteuccia struthiopteris

Fern Ostrich
Fern Ostrich Fern Ostrich Fern Ostrich Fern Ostrich

One of the largest and most popular ferns in cultivation today. The dark green, pinnate fronds are shaped like ostrich plumes, being much wider at the top and tapering down to a bare stipe.  The first set of leaves is sterile and has a gracefully arching form.  These leaves can reach heights of 6 feet in ideal environments.  This set of leaves dies back by early to midsummer and is replaced by a set of fertile, dark green leaves which are about half the height of the sterile ones.  These leaves turn a shiny greenish bronze in fall, becoming brown in winter.  They remain standing all winter long.  Spreads rapidly by underground runners.  Needs moist soil.

Growing & Maintenance Tips:

Native to marshy areas and creek beds, Ostrich ferns prefer to be grown in moist, humus-rich soil with a neutral pH. If planted in cool, moist locations, they will tolerate full sun. In general, however, they prefer open shade.  Plenty of space is necessary to grow since they are rapid spreaders that grow by underground runners.  They extend out in all directions, quickly forming colonies.

Flower Color

Foliage Color

Dark green

Plant Spread

3-4 ft.

Plant Height

3-6 ft.

Hardness Zone


Good Companions

Barrenwort-Bicolor (Epimedium x versicolor), Foamflower (Tiarella ), Goat's Beard (Aruncus dioicus), Hosta (Hosta ), Phlox-Woodland (Phlox divaricata laphamii), Rodger's Flower-Featherleaf (Rodgersia pinnata), Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)

Characteristics & Attributes


Ground cover
Cut flower or foliage
Bog plant

Bloom Time

Critter Resistance

Deer and rabbit resistant


Full sun to part shade
Full shade

Growth Rate


Seasonal Interests

Attractive foliage all season long!

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