Common name: Sword fern

Botanical name: Polystichum munitum

Native: Found is almost all moist forests

Life cycle habit:  perennials/Annals

Plant type: shrub

Pests and Diseases: No pest attacks noticed.

Sword fern plant is a thick evergreen ground cover known for its bright green arching sword type fronds.

Sword Fern
Sword Fern

Sword ferns usually grow up to 5 to 6 feet tall with equal spread. Fronds (leaves) comprises of many simple alternate leaflets. They are deep rooted. A mature sword fern shrub can spread out to include 80-100 dark green leaves.

Sword ferns perform very well in moist and shady conditions with good drainage. They can also adapt to almost all soil conditions/poor nutrients and even in the sun but you may not find good spreads(but moist conditions is necessary). If you give them good compost/Decomposed manure/fertilizers once in every four months your spreads will always be green and attractive.

Most people prefer to grow these ferns for ornamental purposes as these dark green shrubs make a excellent ground cover. Also very useful in preventing soil erosion when planted hill side. They also make a very good under cover plant beneath a huge tree.

Fronds with spores
Fronds with spores

This easy care, graceful appearing plants have become quite popular in home gardens as well, You can trim off the damaged /yellow turned fronds to make your shrub attractive at all times. Several new plants can be obtained by dividing the ferns and this can be done every 2 years.

You can find young fronds appearing in early spring form their underground rhizomes and this you can find beneath a well matured plant. Apart from dividing, spreading through rhizomes sword ferns will also reproduce via spores that are found along the back side of the fronds which appears as brown clustered spots.