Matteuccia prefers a moist site, partial sun, and rich soil. In the wild, Matteuccia ferns grow next to bodies of water. The fertile fronds grow in the center of the clump and are an attractive, cinnamon-brown color.
More Information About Matteuccia
The genus Matteuccia contains just three species of very large, deer-resistant, hardy garden ferns with a distinctive and highly ornamental shuttlecock shape. The tall tuft of fronds is very feather-like, hence the common name, ostrich fern. Of the three species (M. orientalis, M. intermedia, and M. struthiopteris), only the latter is widely available for sale. Matteuccia is a group of dimorphic ferns, which means they have separate fertile (spore producing) and infertile (leafy) fronds. The fertile fronds grow in the center of the clump and are an attractive, cinnamon-brown color.
Ostrich Ferns in the Garden
Some matteuccia plants, like M. struthiopteris, spread via stolons and will form a nice colony if conditions are favorable. The prefer a moist "ferny" site... partial sun and rich soil. In the wild, ostrich ferns grow next to bodies of water. Try combining them with other large, moisture-loving shade perennials such as astilbe, iris, and hosta. You can also inter-mix matteuccia with smaller perennials such as trillium or sanguinaria that go dormant about the time matteuccia emerges.