Cinnamon fern, Osmunda cinnamomea, is a perennial fern that gets its name from the cinnamon fern spores that are nestled in among its fronds.
The cinnamon fern prefers full shade or heavy mid to late-day partial shade. If you have some hosta, this would also go well in the same proximity. Both of these plants are great shade garden plants. This fern may reach up to 36" in height and width. It grows best in fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 5.5-7.0. It has fertile bright green fronds that appear in spring, then will turn a cinnamon brown with spores, then decline by midsummer.
Fronds turn golden yellow in fall, then brown. Plant cinnamon fern in groups in the border bed, as a ground cover in the woodland, or as the focal point in a container planting. Good companions for this plant includes, goatsbeard, bugbae, and Siebold hosta cultivars. Try adding some cinnamon fern around the sides of a canopy gazebo. The green fronds of a cinnamon fern look cool and refreshing and add to the varying types of plant textures that you can use in your yard and garden.
Care of Cinnamon Fern
Plant this beautiful fern 36” apart in spring or fall in fertile soil high in organic matter. To increase organic matter, add 1-2” of compost to the planting bed and till in to a depth of 12-15”. Apply slow-release granular plant food at the time of planting.
When the soil feels dry 2” below the surface, water deeply. Also apply 3” of vegetative mulch around, but not touching the plants or rhizomes in summer and winter to help retain soil moisture and as it decomposes it will add organic matter to the soil. Prune it back in fall once frost withers the foliage.
Propagation of Cinnamon Fern
You should divide the fern in either spring or fall. Dig around the rhizomes and lift them. Use a sharp spade to slice through the root system. Reset portions that contain healthy roots and top shoots, then water and mulch. Discard any pieces that look unhealthy. Cinnamon Fern is relatively pest and disease free. It may occasionally get Rust, but that is about all.
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