Osmunda regalis known as the Royal Fern is one of the most outstanding hardy ferns available to U.K gardeners. Once common in the British Isles growing in moist soil near ponds and ditches established plants were collected by Victorian orchid growers who used the dense fibrous base of the fern as a substrate for their orchids to grow on. A mature Royal Fern is quiet a spectacular sight often over 150cm high the strong simple upright fronds held tightly in a dense whorl.
During summer fertile fronds are produced which are smaller and more robust than the main sterile fronds these fertile fronds remain through the winter when the main fronds have died down creating interesting architectural features. During medieval times these fronds were considered to have magical powers, helping to ward off demons and evil powers. Could be handy, you never know!
Osmunda regalis is best planted in fertile moisture retentive soil, slightly acid if possible but not essential. If the roots have adequate moisture the Royal Fern is one of the few ferns that will grow in full sun. Mine thrive in clay on the edge of one of our natural ponds.