How to Care for Cinnamon Ferns – Your Green Thumb Guide

How to Care for Cinnamon Ferns
13 min reading time

If you’re looking to add a touch of elegance to your garden, cinnamon ferns are an excellent choice. These plants, known for their striking fronds and vibrant green foliage, are relatively low-maintenance and easy to grow. However, like any plant, they do require some care to thrive.

In this section, we’ll share expert tips and advice on how to care for cinnamon ferns, from choosing the right location to pruning and maintenance.

Key Takeaways:

  • Growing cinnamon ferns is easy with proper care
  • Choosing the right location is crucial for their success
  • Watering and fertilizing are essential for healthy growth
  • Maintenance and winter care are important for their survival
  • Propagation is an excellent way to expand your cinnamon fern collection

Understanding Cinnamon Ferns

Cinnamon ferns, also known as Osmundastrum cinnamomeum, are a popular choice among gardeners for their unique appearance and low-maintenance requirements. These ferns are native to North America and can grow up to 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide.

Caring for cinnamon ferns is relatively simple, but it’s important to understand their distinctive traits and needs before diving into maintenance.

The Characteristics of Cinnamon Ferns

Cinnamon ferns are identified by their unique cinnamon-colored spores that appear in late spring or early summer. Their fronds, or leaves, grow in a vase-like shape and have a feathery texture. These ferns thrive in moist, shaded areas with well-draining soil.

Cinnamon Fern Maintenance

Cinnamon ferns are relatively low-maintenance, making them an excellent choice for beginner gardeners. However, there are a few essential steps to ensure your ferns remain healthy and vibrant.

Expert Tip: Cinnamon ferns require frequent watering, but be sure not to overwater. Overly damp soil can lead to root rot and damage the fern’s overall health.

Regular pruning is important to maintain the appearance and health of cinnamon ferns. Remove any dead or dying fronds throughout the growing season to encourage new growth.

Overall, caring for cinnamon ferns is a simple and rewarding process, as these ferns are sure to add a unique and vibrant touch to any garden.

Choosing the Right Location for Cinnamon Ferns

Growing cinnamon ferns requires careful consideration of their location. When selecting a spot for your ferns, keep in mind their unique requirements for light, soil, and moisture. Here are some tips to help you choose the best location:

Light Requirements

Cinnamon ferns thrive in partial to full shade, making them an excellent addition to a woodland garden or shady corner of your yard. However, they do need some light, so make sure they receive at least a few hours of direct or indirect sunlight each day. Avoid placing them in full sun, which can scorch their delicate fronds.

Soil Conditions

Cinnamon ferns prefer moist, well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Before planting, amend your soil with compost or another organic material to provide the nutrients your ferns need to thrive. Avoid planting cinnamon ferns in soil that is too dry, compacted, or alkaline, as they will struggle to grow and may become stressed.

Moisture Levels

Cinnamon ferns require consistent moisture to grow and thrive. Make sure to water your ferns regularly, especially during dry spells or periods of drought. Mulching around the base of your ferns can help retain moisture and suppress weeds. You can also mist your ferns with a spray bottle to increase humidity levels.

Watering Cinnamon Ferns

Proper watering is crucial for the health of your cinnamon ferns. These ferns require consistent moisture to thrive, but they can also suffer from overwatering. Read on for our expert tips on how to water your cinnamon ferns effectively.

Determining When to Water

The frequency of watering for your cinnamon ferns will depend on soil conditions, climate, and other factors. However, a general rule of thumb is to water once a week, or more frequently during hot and dry weather.

One way to determine whether your ferns need water is to feel the soil. Stick your finger into the soil up to the knuckle – if it feels dry at this depth, it’s time to water.

Amount of Water

When watering your cinnamon ferns, aim to moisten the soil to a depth of at least six inches. This ensures that the roots receive sufficient moisture without oversaturating the soil.

The amount of water needed will depend on the size of your ferns and the moisture-retention capabilities of the soil. As a general rule, water until the soil is damp but not soaking wet.

Watering Techniques

It’s best to water cinnamon ferns at their base, rather than from above. This prevents water from collecting in the fronds and promotes healthy root growth.

If you’re using a watering can or hose, aim for the soil around the base of the ferns. Avoid getting water on the fronds, as this can lead to fungal disease.

Additional Tips

Here are a few extra tips to keep your cinnamon ferns hydrated and healthy:

  • Consider mulching around your ferns to help retain moisture in the soil.
  • Water in the early morning or late evening, when temperatures are cooler and evaporation is lower.
  • During droughts, consider using a drip irrigation system to ensure consistent moisture for your cinnamon ferns.

How to Care for Cinnamon Ferns: Feeding and Fertilizing Cinnamon Ferns

Cinnamon ferns thrive on a steady supply of nutrients. Fertilizing them regularly is key to promoting healthy growth and vibrant fronds. Here are some tips to help you feed and fertilize your cinnamon ferns:

When to Fertilize Cinnamon Ferns?

The best time to fertilize cinnamon ferns is in early spring before new growth begins. You can also fertilize in late summer or early fall to support the ferns during their period of active growth.

What Fertilizer to Use?

Cinnamon ferns benefit from a slow-release fertilizer with a balanced N-P-K ratio, such as a 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 mix. Make sure the fertilizer also contains micronutrients like iron, sulfur, and magnesium.

How to Apply Fertilizer?

Apply fertilizer evenly around the base of the ferns, avoiding direct contact with the fronds. Water the fertilizer deeply into the soil to ensure the nutrients reach the roots.

How Often to Fertilize?

For optimal results, fertilize cinnamon ferns every four to six weeks during the growing season. Be careful not to over-fertilize, as this can damage the ferns and leach excess nutrients into the soil.

Expert Tip: To avoid over-fertilizing, use a slow-release fertilizer that feeds the ferns gradually over time.

Maintaining Cinnamon Ferns

Keeping your cinnamon ferns healthy and vibrant requires proper maintenance. Follow these tips to ensure your ferns look their best:

  • Watering: Cinnamon ferns require consistent moisture levels. Water them regularly, especially during dry periods. However, avoid overwatering, as this may cause root rot.
  • Pruning: Prune dead or dying fronds to encourage new growth. Use clean, sharp shears to avoid damaging the plant. Additionally, you may want to remove any debris or dead leaves around the plant to prevent the growth of harmful organisms.
  • Fertilizing: Apply a balanced fertilizer to your cinnamon ferns every six to eight weeks during the growing season to promote healthy growth. However, avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to burned roots and foliage.
  • Dividing: Cinnamon ferns tend to spread quickly and may become overcrowded. Divide your ferns every two to three years by cutting the root ball into sections and replanting them.

“Proper maintenance is essential to keep cinnamon ferns looking their best.”

By following these maintenance tips, you can enjoy healthy and beautiful cinnamon ferns in your garden. Keep in mind that these ferns require consistent care, but the results are worth the effort.

Winter Care for Cinnamon Ferns

How to Care for Cinnamon Ferns

Cinnamon ferns require special attention during the winter months to ensure their survival. Here are some essential winter care tips for your cinnamon ferns:

Protect from Frost

During winter, cinnamon ferns are susceptible to frost damage. Covering them with frost cloth or burlap can help protect them from freezing temperatures. But make sure to remove the cover during the day to allow for air circulation and prevent moisture buildup.

Provide Insulation

To protect the roots from frost, add a thick layer of mulch around the base of the ferns. This will provide insulation and help maintain soil temperature.

Keep Moisture Levels Consistent

Winter can be dry, and it’s important to maintain consistent moisture levels for your cinnamon ferns. Water them regularly, but don’t allow the soil to become waterlogged, as this can lead to root rot.

Avoid Over-fertilization

During winter, cinnamon ferns are dormant and don’t require as much fertilizer as during the growing season. Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can cause damage to the ferns.

“Winter care for cinnamon ferns is crucial to ensure their survival during the colder months. Follow these tips to protect and maintain the health of your ferns.”

Troubleshooting Common Issues with Cinnamon Ferns

Cinnamon ferns are hardy and relatively low-maintenance, making them a great addition to any garden. However, like any living plant, they can encounter issues that impact their growth and appearance. Here are some common problems you may encounter while caring for cinnamon ferns and how to fix them.


Cinnamon ferns are surprisingly resistant to pests, but they can still fall prey to some common insects. One of the most common pests that attacks ferns is the spider mite. These tiny mites feed on the plant sap, leaving small yellow or white dots on the foliage. A strong blast of water from a hose can help dislodge spider mites. You can also treat the ferns with insecticidal soap or neem oil. Another common pest is the scale insect, which appears as small, raised bumps on the plant’s leaves. To remove these pests, use a soft brush dipped in alcohol and gently scrub the leaves.


Cinnamon ferns are susceptible to some fungal diseases, including leaf spot and rust. Leaf spot appears as small, dark spots on the leaves, while rust produces small, powdery orange or brown spots. To prevent these diseases, make sure your ferns are well-spaced and watered properly. Remove any infected leaves and avoid overhead watering, which can spread the spores. If the disease persists, you can treat the ferns with a fungicide according to the package instructions.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Cinnamon ferns require adequate amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to grow and thrive. A lack of these nutrients can cause stunted growth, yellowing leaves, and poor frond production. If you suspect a nutrient deficiency, you can treat the ferns with a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 formula, according to the package instructions. Be sure not to over-fertilize, as this can burn the plant’s roots.

Propagating Cinnamon Ferns

If you want to expand your collection of cinnamon ferns or share them with others, propagation is a great option. There are two main methods of propagating cinnamon ferns: spores and division.

Propagation by Spores

Propagating cinnamon ferns by spores is a bit more complicated than division, but it’s a fascinating process. Spores are tiny, dust-like particles found on the underside of the fronds of cinnamon ferns. To collect spores, wait until the fronds have turned brown, then cut them off and place them in a paper bag. Leave the bag in a warm, dry place until the spores have fallen off the fronds and accumulated in the bottom of the bag.

To grow the spores, mix them with peat moss and sprinkle the mixture over a flat of sterile potting soil. Cover the flat with plastic wrap and keep it in a warm, bright place. When the spores have germinated and the plants have grown a bit, transplant them into their individual containers. It can take up to a year for the ferns to reach a size where they can be planted in the ground.

Propagation by Division

Propagation by division is a simpler and quicker method. The best time to divide cinnamon ferns is in the spring, just as new growth is emerging. Dig up the entire plant, being careful not to damage the roots. Use a sharp knife or spade to divide the plant into sections, ensuring that each section has several fronds and a good root system.

Replant the sections in well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter. Water the transplants thoroughly and keep them in a shaded area for a few weeks until they become established. Once the plants are established, you can move them to the desired location in your garden.

Whether you choose to propagate cinnamon ferns by spores or division, the result will be a beautiful addition to your garden. With a little patience and care, you can grow your own lush and vibrant cinnamon ferns.


Now that you have learned how to care for cinnamon ferns, you are well on your way to creating a stunning fern garden. Remember to choose the right location for your ferns, provide adequate water and nutrition, and maintain them regularly.

If you encounter any issues, refer to the troubleshooting section for solutions. And if you want to expand your collection of ferns, propagation is a great way to do so.

By following these tips and techniques, you can enjoy the beauty and grace of cinnamon ferns in your garden for years to come. Happy gardening!


How often should I water my cinnamon ferns?

Cinnamon ferns prefer moist soil, so it’s important to water them regularly. During hot and dry periods, water them deeply once or twice a week. Make sure the soil stays consistently damp but not waterlogged.

What kind of light do cinnamon ferns need?

Cinnamon ferns thrive in partial shade to full shade. They prefer indirect sunlight or dappled shade, as direct sunlight can scorch their delicate fronds.

How often should I fertilize my cinnamon ferns?

Feed your cinnamon ferns with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring and mid-summer. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging for application rates and methods.

Can I prune my cinnamon ferns?

Pruning is not necessary for cinnamon ferns, as they naturally shed older fronds. However, you can remove any dead or damaged fronds to maintain their appearance and promote new growth.

How do I protect my cinnamon ferns during winter?

Before winter arrives, mulch around the base of your cinnamon ferns with a layer of organic material, such as straw or leaves. This will provide insulation and protect the roots from freezing temperatures.

What are some common pests that affect cinnamon ferns?

Cinnamon ferns are relatively pest-resistant. However, they can occasionally be troubled by slugs, snails, or aphids. Use organic pest control methods or remove the pests manually to protect your ferns.

Can I divide my cinnamon ferns?

Yes, cinnamon ferns can be divided to propagate new plants. Divide them in early spring or late summer by carefully separating the rhizomes and replanting them in suitable locations.

Read Also:

About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Protection Status

Win one of the 20 coolest kitchen gadgets!

Image of Chefd giveaway Nessie Ladle.

Surprises every month. The fun twist is that you can choose your own in the next step.


Chefd subscribers - contest