Osmunda Cinnamomea Ferns: Cinnamon Fern Care

What Is Cinnamon Fern?

The Cinnamon fern is considered one of the most ancient plants.

It is native to tropical regions, like Eastern Asia, South America, and the Eastern United States.

Cinnamon ferns thrive best in wet areas like bogs, swamps, or woodland gardens.

Cinnamon ferns belong to the family Osmundaceae and are botanically known as Osmundastrum cinnamomeum.

These plants are mainly outdoor ones, and people plant them in the garden.

According to the study, these ferns are living fossils as they have been living for more than 75 million years [1].

Related post: 23 Types Of Ferns To Grow Indoors or Outdoors in Your Garden

Types of Fronds

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Cinnamon ferns have two different types of leaves, which are also called fronds.

Fertile Fronds

Fertile fronds grow from the center of this plant.

These leaves have an attractive cinnamon color, which is the main reason for getting the name “Cinnamon.”

This foliage is erected and bears spores.

They lose their greenish colors when the season progresses.

The stems stand upright till the sterile leaves die due to the frost.

Sterile Fronds

Sterile fronds surround the fertile ones.

They are more compound, greenish, and larger than fertile fronds, and can be 5 feet long.

They arise from the base of the Cinnamon ferns and slowly unfold themselves.

These bright green leaves look fascinating throughout the entire summer but turn yellow during the autumn.

General Information of Cinnamon Ferns

  • Scientific name: Osmundastrum cinnamomeum
  • Common name: Cinnamon fern
  • Plant type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Light exposure: Partial shade
  • Soil moisture: Moist or wet soil 
  • Drainage: Well-drained
  • pH: Acidic

Cinnamon Fern Care

Light Requirement

Cinnamon ferns thrive well in partial or full shade. According to North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension Gardner Tool Box, they basically can grow in the deepest shaded areas of your front yard or landscaping.

If your place receives filtered sunlight, then it will be fine.

They can tolerate total exposure, but it is better to keep them away from the full sun for long periods.

These ferns also grow in native plant gardens.

The native habitat is boggy, shady, shaded borders, or edge of a wet area, where the light intensity is less.


Cinnamon ferns grow best in acidic soils that are rich in humus and organic matter.

To maintain green leaves, these ferns should be planted in moist soil.

Drier soil can cause them to become dormant.

If you are planning for a potting medium, try to increase organic content because the organic matter will retain moisture.

Water and Fertilizer Requirement

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Cinnamon ferns require frequent watering if your garden receives more sun.

Little sun reduces the evaporation rate, so as the water demand of your fern.

Since this plant prefers moist conditions, you should try to plant them accordingly.

Fertilize them during the early spring, which will accelerate the growth.

Slow-release, or liquid, or water-soluble fertilizers work fine to boost new growth.

Temperature and Humidity

This hardy plant can tolerate extreme temperatures.

According to the USDA, their hardiness zones range from 3-10.

This tropical native plant trust-s in humid ambient.

Try to mist the leaves often during the summer to maintain humidity levels.


Cinnamon ferns and their roots grow vigorously in clumps if they receive a favorable environmental condition.

Growers should dig the land and divide the underground rhizomes during the spring to check the growth.

You can also plant the divided ones in another spot of your garden to create new plants.

While diving, cut the extensive root system carefully. Water the plant properly after relocation.

Are Cinnamon Ferns Toxic?

Cinnamon fern is not toxic to humans and other animals, though a few other ferns contain carcinogenic compounds.

A common compound named thiaminase depletes vitamin B from the body.

Nevertheless, we suggest you cook the Cinnamon fern before eating.


Is Cinnamon fern perennial?

Yes. The Cinnamon fern is a hardy perennial fern species.

Are Cinnamon ferns edible?

Yes. Cinnamon ferns are edible but cook them well before eating them.

Are Cinnamon ferns deer-resistant?

Cinnamon ferns are deer resistant.

How do I take care of my Cinnamon plant?

You need to plant Cinnamon ferns in shady areas and supply adequate moisture.

Cinnamon fern has multifarious benefits. It can be planted to reduce soil erosion or to beautify the landscape, garden, or house.

This fern attracts birds with its beautiful leaves. Maintenance is extremely easy because this fern mainly grows outdoors.

If your place does not seem favorable to grow this species, you should move it indoor to meet its requirements.


[1] Jud, N.A., Rothwell, G.W. and Stocky, R.A. 2008. Todea from the Lower Cretaceous of western North America: implications for the phylogeny, systematics, and evolution of modern Osmundaceae. American Journal of Botany, 95(3): 330-339

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