Tennessee Ostrich

nkm56March 26, 2008

I picked up a bag of bare-root Tenneessee Ostrich ferns at Walmart a few weeks ago, and planted them in pots so they would be up and growing well before I plant them near my pond. However, a week and a half has passed and I'm seeing no signs of life. Does it typically take this type of fern a while to start coming up, or am I just out of luck?

I'm keeping them in a sunny window for warmth (the bag instructions said they like sun), and keeping the soil moist but not wet. Any thoughts or suggestions?

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They do emerge later than others. But I'm also not terribly confident in the quality of "bagged, bare-root" plants from Wal-mart. Be sure to save your receipt and give then another 3 weeks or so. The fact that you have them indoors should cause them to sprout faster than they would outside anyway.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2008 at 11:42AM
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thanks for the response. The price was quite cheap, which probably should have been a red flag, but I had been looking for this type of fern for a while, so I grabbed it and hoped for the best. I guess you get what you pay for.

Anyway, I was looking at them again this evening, and there seems to be a bit of curled green stem rising up from under the soil in a couple of them, so maybe there is hope!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2008 at 9:47PM
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At last! Signs of life! Stems and leaves poking up through the potting soil. Looks like they're going to be great looking plants.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 9:23AM
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Hooray, I'm glad to hear that.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 1:57PM
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osmund(Zone 6: Southeast Ohio)

The ferns I've seen advertised as Tennessee ostrich are actually Diplazium (Athyrium) pycnocarpon. Give them a little time yet. If you don't see any activity by the middle of May, they're a lost cause.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 8:36PM
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Hey Nancy:

I also purchased three bags of Tennessee Ostrich ferns from Walmart. They took almost two months before any sign of life. They have began sprouting, but most still haven't done anything. Out of 3 packages 7 roots in each, I only have 5 coming up.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 3:58PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Glad to hear they're doing well!
So Tennessee Ostrich are different to the usual ostrich fern we know of?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 5:11AM
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I bought two bags of 4 roots each today. I was looking to incorporate them into my landscape and possibly have a few fiddleheads to feast on next spring. The bag says "Grown from cultivated stock. Not for consumption." Are these roots not true ostrich ferns with edible fiddleheads? Help! I want to return them if I can't eat the fiddleheads.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 4:16PM
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Its hard to tell what they are until they fully unfurl and you can get a good look at them. If it is not Ostrich Fern (Matteucia struthiopteris) then I probably wouldn't eat it. A lot of ferns are carcinogenic, and you probably don't want to risk it. True Ostrich Ferns are thought to be safe. If Tennessee Ostrich Ferns are actually Diplazium pycnocarpon (Narrow-leaved Spleenwort) then I wouldn't eat them. Also, you might want to wait until the plants get established before harvesting the fiddleheads. Most ferns won't produce additional leaves for that year if their fiddleheads are harvested! I hope I didn't dissapoint you, but I just wanted to give you a fair heads up!

Good luck and send pictures so we can ID them!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 5:07PM
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