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Flowering Fern, Royal Fern

Osmunda regalis

Family: Osmundaceae
Genus: Osmunda (os-MUN-duh) (Info)
Species: regalis (re-GAY-liss) (Info)
Synonym:Osmunda regalis var. regalis
Synonym:Aphyllocalpa regalis
Synonym:Osmunda mexicana
Synonym:Osmunda palmeri
Synonym:Osmunda spectabilis



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:



Grown for foliage


Other details:

This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From spores

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Auburn, Alabama

Tuskegee, Alabama

Bartow, Florida

Cedar Key, Florida

Gulf Breeze, Florida

Hampton, Florida

Buford, Georgia

Smyrna, Georgia

Chicago, Illinois

Deerfield, Illinois

Washington, Illinois

Waukegan, Illinois

Logansport, Indiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Sullivan, Maine

Pasadena, Maryland

Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Pinconning, Michigan

Royal Oak, Michigan

Saint Paul, Minnesota (2 reports)

Piedmont, Missouri

Boone, North Carolina

Denver, North Carolina

Hatteras, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio

Walterville, Oregon

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Conway, South Carolina

Arlington, Tennessee

Deer Park, Texas

Humble, Texas

Richmond, Texas

Northfield, Vermont

Blacksburg, Virginia

Leesburg, Virginia

Spokane, Washington

Menasha, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 10, 2015, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Planted in Fall 2014 in a shady spot, that I will have to handwater. Died to the ground but has come back. Since I don't want a monster plant, I hope being planted in shade will keep it smaller.


On Feb 1, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

Handsome plant that stays as a big clump that gets about 5 to 6 feet high in regular landscape conditions where it needs moist soil and full light shade to part full sun. It gets taller in marshes, swamps, and aquatic landscapes where it can grow in full sun. It bears fertile fronds bearing the spores at the top of the regular infertile frond leaves that turn brown in June -July.


On Aug 13, 2007, docturf from Conway, SC (Zone 8b) wrote:

I, too, agree that the Royal Fern does much better under high moisture levels -- mine has been in my Koi pond for 2 full seasons (contained in a 12 inch pot partially sumerged). It is thriving and continues to maintain both shape and color. Docturf


On Mar 25, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This fern is native to the eastern-half of the USA (including Texas), Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Cuba, Jamaica, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

It is considered an threatened species in the state of Iowa, and is listed as exploitably vulnerable in the state of New York.


On Dec 9, 2005, bigcityal from Menasha, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

Nice lighter looking, less stiff fern.


On Aug 30, 2005, sanity101 from Dublin, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

Does well with regular bed-watering, the atypical foliage provides an nice textural contrast in a fern garden. It tends to have a more flat and spreading habit than many ferns as well.


On Jun 28, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

This lovely fern is found in the Everglades, much warmer than Zone 9. My fern book tells me it is found throughout the peninsula of Florida. Don't know about the Keys.

It is the base of this fern (like compressed little black sticks) that is often cut into slabs and used to mount orchids.


On May 16, 2004, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

I agree with henryr, this fern is an aquatic or bog plant. It is native, though somewhat rare, in our area of Southeast Missouri. When found in nature, it is always streamside. When I purchased mine, it was labeled as a water plant. It is not growing in standing water, but it is in a plastic-lined bed with deep rich soil that I keep constantly moist. The plant also requires acid soil and light to medium shade.


On May 15, 2004, henryr10 from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

I would actually take this one into the above average water category.
They will do well in average but around here they simply thrive on stream banks w/ their feet in the water.

Easily 5-6' and spreading about the same.


On Nov 15, 2003, dogbane from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is another native (Southeastern US) that performs remakably well in shady, moist gardens. In the fall, its fronds sometimes turn a beautiful yellow.


On Jun 6, 2002, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Late to emerge in spring. Plant grows happily in standing water, also somewhat dry conditions. Good clump-former, with fronds continuing to appear through season.