Sword Fern (Polystichum Munitum)


Majestic and weather-resistant, award-winning Polystichum munitum (Western Sword Fern) is a robust evergreen fern forming a shapely, arching mound of long, narrowly lance-shaped, lustrous, dark green fronds.



Each leaflet is dagger-shaped, with toothed edges and a base that is reminiscent of a sword hilt. The lush swordlike foliage can count up to 75-100 fronds on mature plants. They remain lush and fresh-looking throughout the season. Easily grown and versatile, Western Sword Fern is particularly beautiful as a specimen and most impressive planted in drifts in a woodland garden. Long-lasting when cut for arrangements.

  • Recipient of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society for its outstanding qualities
  • Grows up to 2-4 ft. tall and wide (60-120 cm).
  • A part shade to full shade lover, it is best grown in organically rich, moist, well-drained soils. Will grow in full sun if watered regularly in summer. Will tolerate dry shade and poorer soil once established. Protect crowns from excessive winter wet.
  • This plant is a great choice for shady beds and borders, underplanting of roses and shrubs, cottage gardens or woodland gardens.
  • Virtually pest and disease free. Rabbit and deer resistant.
  • Dead or damaged fronds may be removed as necessary.
  • Propagate by sowing spores as soon as ripe, division of rhizomes in spring or by bulbils in fall
  • Native from California to Alaska and Montana, Idaho, and South Dakota.

Requirements & Characteristics

Zones 3 - 8
Heat Zones
Zones 1 - 8
Climate Zones
2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, A3
Partial Sun, Shade
2' - 4' (60cm - 120cm)
2' - 4' (60cm - 120cm)
24" - 48" (60cm - 120cm)
Plant Family
Polystichum - Ferns
Water Needs
Soil Type
Chalky, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage
Moist but Well-Drained
Garden Uses
Beds and Borders, Underplanting Roses and Shrubs