Ostrich Fern Falling Over

philomena(z 5A NY)May 31, 2005

Help ! I planted two mature Ostrich Ferns last fall in generally the same area. These 2 plants were spilt out from the same root stock. One is doing just fine, but the other one is having problems. The edges of the fern leaves start to get brown, and then the entire frond falls over. The spot where it bends feels soft. The fern is about 3 or 4 feet high at this point. The only difference I can see compared to the other fern, is that this one gets a little bit more sun. Could that be causing the problem ?

Thanks !

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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

Not too likely that the sun is the trouble. Ostrich fern likes a bit of sun by comparison to most ferns. Here in southern Ontario it will grow out in the sun if in wet conditions or on the edge of a woods. All my Ostrich ferns get dappled light and full sun in the late afternoon and evening. I would be more inclined to think that it got sick after it was split from the other ferns and is just not doing well. If it goes dormant don't dig it up as it may come back next spring. I find Ostrich ferns the easiest to transplant but they do need care for the first year until they are firmly established.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2005 at 7:45AM
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philomena(z 5A NY)

Thanks for the advice - this is the first time I have had any Ostrich ferns, so didn't really know what to expect. I'll keep my eye on it, make sure it stays well-watered, and leave it be, if the plant decides to go to sleep for a while :-)

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 6:52AM
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I am thinning mine and I am wondering if they fall too wide because I am cutting out smaller ones that sort of prop up the older larger ones as they grow beneath them.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 7:21AM
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ladybugontario(z5 Ontario)

The roots of Ostrich ferns are pretty tough. After transplanting, the fronds may topple, but leave the roots alone until the next year. As long as the subterranean growing tip on the root is alive, it will send up new plants until you have more than you know what to do with. Two years ago, I planted 3, now I have 27! As long as they have lots of water, loose humusy soil, and protection from wind, they will thrive. Be patient. You will be rewarded.

The only disappointing thing about Ostrich ferns is that they finish their season so early. By the end of August, they start to look ratty, while other ferns stay looking great until first snow.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2005 at 2:14PM
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