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Sweet Fern Comptonia peregrina

Phonetic Spelling
komp-TOH-nee-uh per-uh-GREE-nuh
Description

This plant is a low maintenance shrub in the Myricaceae family. This native to eastern North America has aromatic foliage that resembles ferns, hence the common name of sweet fern.  It is often found along roadsides and is capable of fixing its own nitrogen.  It works well in rain gardens or be allowed to naturalize.  Once established, it can spread rapidly to form colonies. This beautiful plant has a delicate look that will give that exotic, lush feel to your garden and enhance its beauty with its luxurious green leaves.

A plant that tolerates many conditions including drought, wet sites, and wind. It can even grow in sheltered seaside locations. Prefers sandy acidic loams, well-drained, in full sun to part. It does not transplant well so choose a location carefully. This would make a good choice for stabilizing slopes or embankments. This plant naturalizes, wet sites, deciduous, low maintenance and has fragrant leaves.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No significant insect or disease problems.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#deciduous#rain garden#drought tolerant#orange leaves#fragrant leaves#red leaves#aromatic#yellow leaves#low maintenance#playground#wet sites#wind tolerant#NC native#nitrogen fixation#deer resistant#children's garden#colonies#naturalizes#larval host plant#bird friendly#butterfly friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#deciduous#rain garden#drought tolerant#orange leaves#fragrant leaves#red leaves#aromatic#yellow leaves#low maintenance#playground#wet sites#wind tolerant#NC native#nitrogen fixation#deer resistant#children's garden#colonies#naturalizes#larval host plant#bird friendly#butterfly friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Comptonia
    Species:
    peregrina
    Family:
    Myricaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern Canada to North Central & Eastern U.S.A
    Wildlife Value:
    Wildlife enhancement
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Fragrance
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Nesting
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Deer
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3b, 3a, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6b, 6a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Description:
    Greenish brown, burr-like nutlets.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Insignificant
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    This plant has brown male catkins and yellow-green female flowers. Both appear in April-May.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Shape:
    Pinnatifid
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Zig-zagged leaves are simple, narrow, lustrous, pinnatifid, deeply notched, olive to dark green (to 4" long). Sometimes they can be a mixture of red, orange, or yellow. They are very fragrant when crushed.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Naturalized Area
    Recreational Play Area
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Children's Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Wet Soil
    Wind