A genus that counts some species of ferns, widespread in all the temperate zones of the northern hemisphere. The most commonly used as a garden plant is the Onoclea sensibilis, native to North America; these ferns produce large heads of leaves, which develop directly from the fleshy rhizome; the leaves are light green, deeply pinnate, and sometimes even serrated; the young leaves are often covered with a thin whitish or pinkish down.
With the arrival of the cold, they turn yellow, and in winter the plant loses completely the aerial part; we suggest not to remove the dry leaves till spring, as they serve as shelter against the winter cold.
The Onoclea sensibilis is to be placed in a shady or semi-shady place; usually these ferns, being rustic plants, can bear short periods of sunshine, better during the coolest hours of the day, even if they are able to resist also to the direct rays of the sun.
They do not fear the cold, and the rhizomes can bear even very rigid temperatures, even up to -15, -20 °C.
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Onoclea sensibilis plants love moist soils but can also develop in dry soil conditions. They do not like waterlogging, which can cause the roots to rot and cause the plant to die. During the spring and summer period it is advisable to provide more water, always taking care to ensure that the soil is not soaked with water. During the winter period they do not need watering, you can proceed by moistening the base around the plant when the soil is very dry and compact.
Being the Onoclea sensibilis a rustic and resistant plant, it can adapt to different types of soil, without particular problems as regards its development.
Of course, it will develop more if placed in a slightly acidic soil, rich in humus and able to maintain moisture for a long time.
It is possible to use peat, mixed with leaf soil and a few finely chopped bark.
As far as the multiplication of the plants of Onoclea sensibilis is concerned, in autumn it is possible to divide the fleshy rhizomes; once obtained some new portions, these must be immediately planted individually.
If the central leaves of the plants produce the spores, it is possible to collect them in summer: they are placed for some days in a paper bag, to be kept hanging in a dry place; in the bag will remain the spores already ripe, which can be sown on soft soil, to be kept humid until the complete germination of the spores.
Onoclea sensibilis: Parasites and diseases
Generally, since these plants are a very resistant and rustic variety, they are not particularly afraid of the attack of pests or diseases.
It is possible to practice treatments with specific products based on sulfur to combat the onset of fungal diseases.
If the presence of aphids is detected, it is possible to rely on products specifically designed to combat them effectively, remembering that it is important not to use them during the flowering period so as not to compromise their development and not to disturb the work of the bees.