UACES Facebook Ferns
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May 1, 2017


I have heard that cinnamon fern is a good hardy fern for Arkansas, and that it likes lots of moisture. How tall will it eventually grow, and are the “cinnamon spikes” in the center, new leaves or flowers?



Cinnamon fern, Osmunda cinnamomea, is a hardy fern which will grow up to five feet in height.  Although it likes moist soil, once it is established in rich soil, it will usually do well on its own. The “cinnamon spikes” that grow in the center are the spore-producing part of the plant.  Ferns don’t ‘flower’ like most other plants, but reproduce from spores.  Most ferns produce spores on the underside of the fronds, but the members of the osmunda fern family produce a separate type of frond which produces the spores.  On the Cinnamon fern the reproductive spore looks like a giant cinnamon stick, thus the common name.


 March 25, 2017


I bought some woodland ferns at a great price recently.  I want to do a shady garden in our back yard with hosta, and a couple of shrubs.  When the trees leaf out, the light is filtered and mostly shady.  However, right now with most of the trees just barely beginning to leaf out, it is fairly sunny back there.  Can I go ahead and plant the ferns or should I leave .them in pots in mostly shade until the trees provide more shade?



When we talk shade gardens and shade plants we are talking about summer light—or sunlight when it is most intensely hot! Deciduous trees do allow sunlight in during the winter months but that should not impact shade perennials or shrubs. Go ahead and plant now 


September 24, 2016

QuestionOne of my friends has two huge KQ ferns that he overwintered last year.  He said he put them in an outdoor house and it had no light and they hardly shedded.  Anyway they came out again this spring and are big and thick.  Do you have any information or more details on how to overwinter ferns or is it worth it?

 AnswerAs long as you can prevent the ferns from freezing, they should overwinter fine in a garage or crawl space under your house.  I am surprised that they did not shed any leaves, since normally they don’t look too spry when you move them back outside.  A little haircut and some water and fertilizer helps them bounce back.    

 (December 2011)

QuestionI purchased and grew a macho fern on my deck this past summer in Rogers. We enjoyed the large fronds and the yellowish green color and would like to keep the fern for next year. It obviously will not survive the winter outside. Presently, I have it in the garage and I'm watering it sparingly, but I think it will get too cold for it in the unheated garage as winter progresses. I have an enclosed crawl space where I over winter a few other favorite outside plants (rosemary, asparagus fern, spider plant, etc) by keeping them under a bank of fluorescent lights and watering occasionally. However, the macho fern is too large to treat the same way. Should I trim the fern back to a smaller size and place it under the lights in the crawl space, leave it as is in the garage with limited sunlight, or do you have other (better?) recommendations?


AnswerAs long as it doesn’t freeze, it should be fine in the garage or crawl space. It is not going to thrive or continue to grow, but it should survive. I like to cut it back when moving it back outside in the spring, to freshen it up and get rid of the old dead growth. The plants go semi-dormant during their winter rest, so water and light aren’t a huge factor as long as the temperature stays above freezing. The root system should survive and flourish once it gets more light and warmer temperatures next spring.

(October 2010)

QuestionI have a fern that is 1 1/2 years old and is down to about 3 or 4 fern leaves left. I want to do whatever I can to continue and rebuild its growth. I have cut off all the old dead leaves, repotted it, and need to know what to do now. It was given to me from a funeral so it is very important.


AnswerI am assuming it is a houseplant and not a hardy fern, since you got it from a funeral. I don't know if you move the fern outside in the summer, but if you don't I would highly recommend that for next year. If it is outside now, bring it back inside soon. Ferns often shed old leaves constantly inside because of the lack of humidity, which they love. For now, put the fern in the coolest room in your house with bright light. Let it get on the dry side before you water. Keep it alive until spring, then move it outside in the shade, and I bet it rebounds beautifully. Fertilize two or three times when it is outside and it should get full. You may also want to repot it when you move it outdoors next spring to make sure it is not pot-bound.


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