Western Sword Fern Growing Instructions

Western sword ferns (Polystichum munitum) cover the floor of the forests of the West Coast and Northwestern U.S. They are vigorous, dependable, and virtually maintenance free. Adaptable to difficult soil and do well even in hot, dry weather. Have deep green fronds that are attractive all year. Like well-drained acidic organic soil, but will tolerate wet conditions during the winter months. Will grow up to 3 foot tall and spreads by rhizomes and spores. Once established, these perennial ferns will fill an area with lush green forest like appearance. Hardy in USDA Zone 5-8.

Western Sword Ferns make an excellent evergreen ground cover in shaded or partially shaded areas. Sword ferns are a very drought tolerant plant in the summer once established. By planting in the winter or early spring months, they will be well rooted out by early summer and you will save lots of money on your water bill during the summer. Western Sword Ferns like moisture during the fall, spring and winter months. Western Sword Ferns are best transplanted from November thru March. The ferns are trimmed of their fronds for shipment. The fronds will grow back quickly next spring forming a lush low maintenance groundcover.



Do not bury the crown. Add 30-40% bark dust or peat moss to soil and mix in to a depth of 8 inches. Water abundantly when planting so that the soil fills in all of the air holes around the roots. Then, water once a week until ferns have rooted out. Mulch with bark, compost or wood chips to retain moisture. In extreme hot weather, water twice a week.


Yearly Maintenance:

Remove fronds that have turned brown. Lightly fertilize early in the spring. Do not pile fertilizer close to ferns or they might burn. About 1/2 tablespoon of 10-10-10 per mature fern sprinkled 6 inches around the fern is plenty.  If using organic fertilizer use enough to be equivalent to10-10-10.  Add new mulch yearly.


Scenic Hill Farm Nursery, 2820 NW Scenic Drive, Albany, OR 97321, 541-990-6099

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