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Matteuccia struthiopteris

Ostrich Fern

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.

  • »  Upright, arching habit
  • »  Spreads by shallow underground rhizomes
  • »  Use as ground cover in woodland gardens
  • »  Photo courtesy of Walters Gardens, Inc.

  • Category:Fern
  • Hardiness Zone:3-7
  • Height:90-180 cm
  • Spread:90-120 cm
Critter Resistance
Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Full Shade
Partial Sun
Foliage Color
Soil Moisture
Average Water
Wet Soil/Wetlands
Growing & Maintenance Tips for Matteuccia struthiopteris

Native to marshy areas and creekbeds, 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.

The first set of leaves is sterile and has a gracefully arching form. These leaves can reach heights of 6' 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 bronze-gold in fall, becoming brown in winter.

Ostrich ferns need plenty of space to grow since they are rapid spreaders. They spread by dense underground runners which extend out in all directions, quickly forming colonies.