Ostrich Ferns, Matteuccia struthiopteris, have large, dark green fronds with a vase shaped growth. You will find Ostrich Ferns as charming tropical looking fern for specimen use. This edible fern has fertile fronds that arise 6 to 12 inches in the center of the clump around midsummer, turning brown by fall. Ostrich Ferns are aggressive spreading plantsso do choose planting areas wisely.
Ostrich Ferns are renowned for the fiddleheads that emerge in spring, which are clipped off and eaten in a wide variety of delicious culinary dishes.
How to Grow: These tall growingOstrich ferns are native to marshy areas, little islands, and deltas of shallow streams and creeks. Plant them in humus-rich, moist soil in part to full shade. Great for bog gardens. Plants will tolerate some sun, but will need much more moisture to keep them looking good into late summer. Plants grow from dense, underground runners that spread out in every direction. Crowns can be dug up and replanted in the spring and early summer, planting them right at the level of the soil.
Landscape uses: Ostrich ferns make excellent background plants in the shade garden. Plant them with hostas and other tough perennials and shrubs. Thin plants out as necessary. If you don't want them to take over a garden, restrict them to large areas or areas where their spreading can be controlled.