Onoclea sensibilis

Common name: Sensitive Fern

Native plant

Sensitive fern is a large, somewhat coarse deciduous fern that occurs in wet woods and thickets and in moist soils along streams and springs. Grows up to 4' tall, featuring long-stalked, bright green, fronds. Commonly called sensitive fern because the green vegetative fronds are very sensitive to and suffer almost immediate damage from the first fall frost. One of the few ferns that can tolerate full sun conditions if  wet enough. Although native to marshy areas, it grows quite well in average garden soil as long as it is not allowed to dry out. Spreads by both creeping rhizomes and spores, so it can be quite assertive with the right growing conditions.


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Price Level: 
Perennial- Specialty Species Tier 2
Sizing Options: 
Flat of 18 (pints)
1 Gallon

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Plant Details

Plant type


Soil type

Mesic (Not too Wet Not too Dry), Moist Mesic

Light exposure

Eastern Exposure / Morning Sun, Full Sun, High Canopy Shade (Usually from oaks), Partial Sun / Part Shade, Shade

Bloom period


Urban environment

Yards that Flood


Floodplain, Moist Woods, Prairie Grasslands, Savannas, Wetlands, Woodlands

Growth form

Colonizing / Spreading, Rhizomatous/stoloniferous

Growth rate


Flower color


Fall color



Mature height
1 Feet
Mature width
1 Feet
Max height
1 Feet
Max width
1 Feet

Additional information

Rain garden suited

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