Photo by Sue Tegart, Grande Prairie, Alberta Braeheid Gardens

Ostrich Ferns in Zone 3B: Everything You Need to Know to Grow and Care for Them Successfully

Photo submitted by Sue Teggart in the County of Grande Prairie No. 1

Ostrich ferns are a beautiful addition to any garden, and they can thrive in Zone 3B with a little care and attention. But the big question is, can they grow here, on cold and windy Grande Prairie, Alberta? The answer is a resounding YES. We've drummed up a few pointers for you, if you have 2 mins to give a quick read below. 

Ostrich Ferns prefer a partially shaded area with moist soil that is rich in organic matter. Think compost, manure or a garden mix. Something rich and loamy is deal. If you can't provide partial shade, they can also tolerate full sun if the soil is consistently moist. You may need to gradually acclimate them to a full sun environment if you're planting them in the season. And if you'll be planting them in a full sun exposure, then planting in the fall is a much better strategy so your Ferns can have a chance to leaf out in the spring and acclimate themselves.  When planting in a partial sun exposure you can succesfully plant in the Spring or Fall, but after the last frost, or in the fall, try planting no later than 6-8 weeks before the first frost.


Once planted, be sure to water the ferns well and keep the soil consistently moist throughout the growing season. Adding a layer of mulch around the base of the plant can help retain moisture and suppress weeds, making sure to remove any sod that may have creeped into the area will be important in helping to keep the ground moist for your ferns. Fertilize the ferns with a balanced fertilizer in early spring, before new growth begins. Divide the ferns every few years in the spring to maintain healthy growth and prevent overcrowding. Cut back the fronds in the fall after they have turned brown, and remove any dead or damaged fronds throughout the growing season. Keep an eye out for pests and diseases, such as slugs and rust, and take appropriate measures to control them if necessary.


Overall, growing ostrich ferns in Zone 3B requires providing them with the right growing conditions, such as partial shade and moist, rich soil. Regular watering, fertilizing, and pruning are also important to keep them healthy and looking their best. With a little effort and care, you can enjoy the beauty of ostrich ferns in your Northern garden with little to no concern for winter die off.

You can buy Ostrich Ferns from our greenhouse in the Spring and summer, or maybe even pre-order them on our online store here OSTRICH FERN

Grow Ostrich Ferns in Northern Alberta, buy in Grande Prairie



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Hi Carilyn, Ostrich Ferns do awesome under deciduous trees, but maybe not so well under a spruce or pine. Might be a bit too acidic.
Braeheid Gardens Ltd.
I live near Edmonton, how do Ostrich ferns do if planted under a large tree?

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