The King Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris ‘The King’)

The King Ostrich Fern

  • Perfect Specimen
  • Grows in Shade or Partial Shade
  • Use in Rain Gardens
  • Slowly Naturalizes
  • Upright Fronds
  • Rabbits Tend to Leave Them Alone
  • Tolerates Wet and Clay Soils
  • Extremely Cold Tolerant

Ferns and Hostas make natural partners for the shady parts of your landscape. Surely, the crown jewel must be The King Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). This tall, upright plant adds a dynamic natural appeal.

In moist, cool areas, this clump-forming fern slowly naturalizes. Eventually, they will grow to create a magnificent specimen stand.

The King is a wonderful shade-loving selection that will fill in along the back of a Hosta glade. Use it alongside a pond or natural water feature to soften the edges and create a lush view.

In spring, you’ll be enchanted by the young fiddleheads as they unfurl from the base. These sterile green fronds proudly stretch out into a lovely, vase-shaped, green accent plant.

Starting in mid-summer, tan spears of fertile fronds begin to rise from the center of the plant. Let them dry and remain to add winter interest in your yard.

The King is much larger than the typical Ostrich fern. You’ll love watching the enormous, upright leaves develop each season.

How to Use The King Ostrich Fern in the Landscape

Make the most out of a shaded area that you may have struggled with in the past. These plants help turn an eyesore into a special focal point.

These tall ferns are clumping, but they will slowly spread by underground rhizomes. If you let them, over time they’ll grow into a beautiful tall groundcover for you.

Cheat and plant several if you want results faster! Plant them 15 inches apart, measuring from the center of one to the center of the next.

Run them along the length of your treeline in the shade. Use Hostas and smaller ferns in front to create a fabulous, easy-care border.

Use on the north side of your house, or under taller trees. They’ll look especially beautiful surrounding a water feature where you can enjoy their reflection, as well.

They can handle moist soil, so be sure to include them in a shady Rain Garden to help filter runoff from roofs and streets before it hits the storm drain.

Enjoy these incredible plants!

Tips for Care

Use this plant in the shade to partial shade. They will not do well if given more than 4 hours of sunlight a day.

The King Ostrich Fern loves to be damp, but they will adapt to periodically dry soil once their roots are established in your landscape. Please give your plants supplemental water in times of drought.

Wait to prune until late winter or early spring. Snip last year’s fronds before the new growth starts.

There is nothing like a Fern. And we can’t think of a Fern more majestic than The King Ostrich.

The King Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris ‘The King’) Details

Common name The King Ostrich Fern
Botanical name Matteuccia struthiopteris 'The King'
Hardiness zone 3-7
Growth rate Medium
Height 3 - 5 ft.
Width 18 - 24 inches
Sunlight Full Shade, Partial Shade
Moisture Medium
Soil condition Loamy, Moist, Well Drained
Pollinator-friendly No
Leaf color Perennial