How to grow the royal fern. Genus Osmunda. Structure of the Osmunda regalis frond. Osmunda fiber potting medium.
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The “cinnamon sticks” growing from the center of the clump are actually flowers. Or at least the closest thing a fern produces to flowers.
Osmunda regalis is a deciduous, clump forming fern which grows in wet soil. In nature, it can be found growing alongside streams and lakes.
The infertile fronds can reach 5 feet in length but are usually closer to 2 or 3. The center stalk (stipe) from which the leaflets arise is smooth, thin and darker than the leaflets.
The leaflets of the feathered infertile fronds are divided.
Ferns of the genus Osmunda produce their spore capsules on separate, fertile fronds. These are the dark green fertile fronds.
The spores are green. The fertile fronds will turn brown after the spores are released.
The roots of this fern as well as those of other ferns of the genus Osmunda like the cinnamon fern, Osmunda cimmamomea, are used to make osmunda fiber potting medium which is used for growing orchids or other plants that need a great deal of air circulation around their roots.
Osmunda fiber is soft (when damp), pliable and very long lasting. It is the preferred potting medium of many orchid growers because it doesn’t break down and need to be replaced nearly as often as bark chips.
When you buy osmunda fiber it will be dry. Soak it before use.
Growing a Royal Fern
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Set the plants 2-3 feet apart into moist, slightly acid soil just covering the crowns.
The most important thing is that the soil be highly organic and able to retain moisture. Add copious amounts of organic compost or shredded leaves to the planting area prior to setting the plants in.
If the soil is boggy enough, these fabulous ferns will reach impressive, almost tree fern like heights.
High shade like that found under the canopy of tall trees is the preferred exposure.
When the fast growing clumps mature, they may be divided in the spring.
Hardiness Zones: 3-10
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