By Becca Badgett
(Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden)
Royal ferns in the garden add interesting texture and color to shaded areas. Osmunda regalis, the royal fern, is large with twice cut leaves and adds an air of elegance when tucked into shady beds with companion plants of contrasting foliage. Royal fern care is simple when growing a royal fern plant in the right location. Also known as old world royal ferns, leaves are large and sometimes produce bead-like sori (spores) at the tips.
Growing a Royal Fern Plant
Royal ferns in the garden like consistently moist soil that is acidic and rich with organic matter; however, they are adaptable to lesser conditions as long as regular water is provided.
When growing a royal fern plant, allow room for the plant to reach its optimum height and spread of 2 to 3 feet. Also, when growing a royal fern plant, be advised that happily located specimens may even reach 6 feet.
When learning how to plant royal ferns, observe the location first to make sure the soil stays moist and shade is available for most of the day. If the area gets sunshine, it should be from morning sun or limited late evening sun.
A soil test may be needed to determine the acidity before planting royal ferns in the garden. The addition of compost, shredded oak leaves or pine needles will improve soil drainage and add some acidity to the soil. Prepare the soil, if needed, several weeks or months before planting royal ferns in the garden.
Royal Fern Care
Care of royal ferns, once planted in the right place, is minimal. When happy in its location, growing a royal fern plant is simple.
Keep the soil moist and prune browning fronds in fall.
Now that you’ve learned how to plant royal ferns and the ease of care of royal ferns, think of adding them to a shady area in your landscape, such as a water or bog garden or near a pond or stream. Plant them with other shade perennials for an even more attractive display.