How to Grow Western Sword Ferns: The Best Tips and Tricks

Western Sword Ferns

If you’re looking for an attractive, low-maintenance plant for your garden or home, consider the Western Sword Fern.

This hardy species can thrive in a variety of conditions and is perfect for gardens with shady areas.

Keep reading to learn more about how to grow Western Sword Ferns and some tips on caring for them.

Common Name Western sword fern
Botanical Name Polystichum munitum
Family Dryopteridaceae
Plant Type Evergreen, rhizome
Mature Size 2-4 ft. tall, 2-4 ft. wide (outdoors); 1-2 ft. tall, 1-2 ft. wide (indoors)
Sun Exposure Partial, shade
Soil Type Moist but well-drained
Soil pH Acidic
Bloom Time N/A
Flower Color N/A.
Hardiness Zones 5 to 9
Native Area North America

Tips for Keeping Your Plants Healthy

  • When you are growing western sword ferns, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to ensure that your plants stay healthy. These tips will help you get the most out of your plants and enjoy them for years to come.
  • Water your ferns regularly. Western sword ferns need to be kept moist at all times, so make sure to water them frequently.
  • If the soil around your plants starts to dry out, it can stress the plants and cause them to become unhealthy.
  • Fertilize your plants every month. In order to keep your western sword ferns healthy, you should fertilize them once a month using a balanced fertilizer.
  • This will help ensure that they are getting all of the nutrients they need to stay strong and thrive.
  • Place your plants in an area with indirect sunlight. While western sword ferns do best in shady areas, they still need some indirect sunlight in order to stay healthy.

Lighting and Temperature

Your plants will do best in an area that receives indirect sunlight. If you are growing them indoors, place them near a window where they will get some light but won’t be in direct sunlight.

Western sword ferns prefer cooler temperatures and will not do well in areas that are too warm.


When you are growing western sword ferns, it is important to use a potting mix that is designed for ferns.

This type of soil is usually acidic and has a high organic matter content.


Western sword ferns do not need to be pruned, but you can trim them back if they start to look overgrown.

To do this, simply cut the fronds back to the desired length with a sharp pair of shears.


As mentioned earlier, western sword ferns need to be kept moist at all times. This means that you will need to water them frequently.

One way to tell if your plants need to be watered is to check the soil. If it feels dry, it is time to water your plants.


Western sword ferns are a slow-growing plant, so don’t expect them to grow too quickly.

They can reach a height of up to four feet and a width of two to four feet when they are grown outdoors.


Western sword ferns do not flower.

Instead, they reproduce by producing spores that are found on the undersides of their fronds.


As mentioned earlier, it is important to fertilize your western sword ferns once a month using a balanced fertilizer.

Common Pests

Western sword ferns are beautiful, hardy plants that typically don’t require much maintenance.

However, there are a few common pests that can pose a risk to the ferns.

Mealybugs, aphids, and fern mites are all sap-sucking insects that can damage the leaves, while nematodes can affect the roots and slow down the plant’s growth rate.

If you see any of these pests on your fern, it’s important to take action immediately. Otherwise, the plant could be at risk of serious damage.

Fortunately, there are a number of effective treatments available for all of these pests. With a little care and attention, you can keep your Western sword ferns looking their best.

Propagating Western Sword Ferns

Although Western sword ferns are hearty plants that can tolerate a range of growing conditions, they do best when they are given a little bit of extra care.

One of the best ways to ensure that your fern thrives is to divide the rhizomes on a regular basis. Dividing the rhizomes allows the plant to spread out and develop a stronger root system.

It also helps to prevent the plant from becoming too crowded and stressed. The best time to divide western sword ferns is in the early spring, before the plant has fully sprung into growth.

To divide the rhizomes, simply find a healthy cluster and remove a small section using your fingers (or, if necessary, a sharp knife).

After planting, the newly divided plant will need to be watered well and may benefit from being fertilized six months later. With a little bit of extra care, your Western sword fern will thrive for years to come.

Do ferns spread on their own?

Many ferns are vigorous spreaders, quickly growing to fill in a space in the garden. Some, such as the bracken fern, can even become invasive, spreading beyond where they are wanted and crowding out other plants.

For this reason, it is important to choose the right fern for your garden, taking into account its potential spread.

Some ferns, such as the maidenhair fern, have a more restrained growth habit and are less likely to overrun their neighbor. If you are looking for a fern that will stay where you put it, these more demure varieties are a good choice.

Whatever type of fern you choose, though, be sure to give it enough room to spread so that it does not crowd out other plants in your garden.

Do sword ferns come back every year?

Sword ferns are a type of evergreen fern that is popular in gardens. They are known for their long, sword-like leaves and their ability to thrive in shady areas. Unlike some other types of ferns, sword ferns do not die back in the winter.

Instead, they retain their leaves throughout the year. This means that they will need to be cut back in the spring if you want them to maintain a certain size.

Sword ferns can also be divided during the spring, which is a good way to propagate them or to move them to other parts of the garden. However, it is important to remove any dead leaves from the plant before dividing it, as these can spread disease.

Overall, sword ferns are low-maintenance plants that can add interest to any garden.

Do western sword ferns spread?

Most people believe that all ferns are delicate and require a great deal of care, but this is not always the case. The western sword fern is a hearty plant that can survive in a variety of conditions.

One of the most notable features of the western sword fern is its ability to spread. If left unchecked, a single plant can quickly take over an entire area. While some gardeners see this as a nuisance, others appreciate the plant’s tenacious nature.

Given enough time and space, a stand of western sword ferns can create a lush, verdant landscape. For those who appreciate the plant’s hardiness, there is much to admire about the western sword fern.

Where should a sword fern be placed?

Sword ferns are a type of plant that thrives in moist, shady environments. They can also adapt to a variety of soil types and flourish in the sun if they receive plenty of water.

Sword ferns can be transplanted into a garden easily. When choosing where to place a sword fern in a garden, it is important to consider the amount of sun and shade the location receives as well as the moisture levels.

Sword ferns need moist soil to thrive, so locations that are prone to drought or that have very dry soil may not be ideal. If the location does not provide enough moisture, supplemental watering may be necessary.

Once the best location for the sword fern has been determined, transplanting it is a relatively easy process.

Simply dig a hole that is large enough to accommodate the plant’s root ball and add some compost or other organic matter to the hole before transplanting the fern.

Water thoroughly after transplanting. With proper care, sword ferns can add beauty and interest to any garden.

Do sword ferns go dormant in winter?

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance ground cover for your shady garden, consider the western sword fern (Polystichum munitum). This perennial is active throughout the summer, spring and fall, then goes into dormancy in winter.

It’s resistant to diseases and pests, making it a great choice for busy gardeners.

Sword ferns prefer moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade, so make sure you choose a location that meets these requirements.

Once established, sword ferns are relatively drought tolerant and can even tolerate brief periods of full sun.

With their elegant fronds and deep green color, sword ferns add a touch of class to any garden. So if you’re looking for a plant that is both beautiful and easy to care for, the western sword fern is a great choice.

Is sword fern an indoor plant?

The sword fern is a species of fern that is common in gardens and landscapes. Unlike other types of ferns, the sword fern does not require direct sunlight to thrive.

It grows best in shady areas and is often used as an accent plant or groundcover. Although it is typically grown outdoors, the sword fern can also be successfully cultivated indoors as a houseplant.

When grown indoors, the sword fern should be placed in a pot or planter that can be kept indoors during the winter months. Sword ferns are relatively low-maintenance plants and do not require frequent watering or fertilization.

However, they may benefit from occasional misting to increase humidity levels. With proper care, a sword fern can thrive indoors for many years.

How do you maintain a sword fern?

If you are looking to add some greenery to your home or garden, a sword fern may be the perfect plant for you. Sword ferns are relatively easy to care for and can thrive in a variety of environments.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want your fern to flourish. First, sword ferns prefer moist, shady conditions. If you live in an area with high humidity, this should not be a problem.

However, if you live in a dry climate, you will need to water your fern more frequently. Second, while sword ferns can adapt to different soil types, they prefer loose, well-drained soil.

If your soil is heavy or clay-like, you may want to consider mixing in some sand or peat moss to improve drainage.

Finally, sword ferns can tolerate some sun exposure, but they will require more water if they are in direct sunlight. With these simple tips, you can enjoy the beauty of a sword fern without any hassle.

Are sword ferns Hardy?

Sword ferns are a species of fern that is native to the western United States and Canada. They are known for their long, sword-like leaves and their ability to thrive in shady, moist environments.

While sword ferns are generally very hardy plants, they do have some specific cultivation requirements. In order to thrive, they need well-drained, acidic soil with large stones and plenty of humus.

They also need constant moisture and light sunlight, as well as cool temperatures.

If these conditions are not met, sword ferns may struggling to survive. However, with proper care, they can be a beautiful addition to any garden.

How do you take care of a indoor fern sword?

All ferns are fond of humid conditions and must be provided with humid conditions. In family and living rooms, set their pots on tables of clay granules or pebbles that are damp.

Ferns love to be misted regularly with soft, tepid water, unless the entire room is maintained at a high level by the use of humidifiers. Provide bright light but protect from hot sun which will scorch their fronds.

Ferns should never be allowed to dry out, but they also don’t like to sit in water so make sure there is good drainage in the pot. Water with distilled or rain water if your tap water is high in chlorine.

Fertilize monthly with a half-strength solution of a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10. If you want to encourage compact growth, pinch back the tips of the fern fronds.

Ferns can be divided when they become too large for their pot – just make sure each division has some roots attached. Lastly, enjoy your beautiful fern!

What do you do with sword ferns in the winter?

After a long, dry summer, many gardeners are surprised to see their sword ferns begin to brown and die back. However, this is perfectly normal behavior for these hardy plants. In fact, it is actually necessary for their survival.

During the winter months, sword ferns enter a dormant state in which they stop growing and lose their leaves. This helps them to conserve energy and survive the cold weather.

If you live in an area with harsh winters, you will need to protect your sword ferns from the cold by overwintering them indoors. However, if you live in a mild climate, your sword ferns will likely be just fine outdoors.

Either way, you can expect your sword ferns to begin growing again in the spring, when the weather warms up.

Jessica Miles

Jessica Miles is a writer for Botanique Boutique, a plant and gardening blog. She has always loved plants, flowers, and anything green. When she was younger, she used to watch her grandfather garden and would be in awe of the beautiful flowers he would grow. Now Jessica writes about all things related to plants and gardening - from beginner tips on how to start growing your own plants, to in-depth guides on caring for a specific type of flower or plant. She loves helping others learn about this fascinating hobby, and hopes that her writing will inspire people to get outside and enjoy nature!

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