Sword fern

Polystichum munitum | Also known as: Western sword fern, Aspidium munitum, Polystichum munitum var. incisoserratum, Aspidium munitum var. incisoserratum, Polystichum solitarium | Rating: 2 votes | Print / Pdf

Another highly attractive large evergreen fern, polystichum munitum grows in perfectly formed clumps that make it a highly attractive garden option. Its foliage comprises glossy, dark green, sword-shaped fronds – a fact that inspires its common name, the sword fern – made up of narrow, pinnate leaflets with edges often serrated with sharp tips. On the underside of the leaflets are dozens of bright yellow spores. The sword fern thrives in cool, moisture-retentive acidic soil, preferably out of the harsh stare of direct sunlight. It is ideal as woodland under-planting, but also complements waterside locations, like ponds and lakes. Pruning ensures a denser growth, so remove dead fronds quickly.

Rate it:
Known dangers?
  • no
Height [m]
  • 0.9 - 1.5
Spread [m]
  • 1.2
Dominant flower colour
  • Inconspicuous or absent
Flower Fragrance
  • No, neutral please
Foliage in spring
  • Green
Foliage in summer
  • Green
Foliage in Autumn
  • Green
Foliage in winter
  • Green
  • Yes, let it smell
Propagation methods
  • division
  • Spores
Growth habit
  • Clump-forming
  • Acidic
  • Neutral
Hardiness zone
  • Z3-8
Heat zone
  • H8-1
Winter temperatures [°C]
  • -40 - -7
Heat days
  • 0 - 120
  • well-drained but frequently watered
  • poorly-drained
Soil type
  • sandy
  • Clay
  • chalky
  • loams
Sun requirements
  • Partial shade
  • Full shade
  • Exposed
  • Sheltered
Standard category
  • Grasses, ferns & bamboo
  • Ferns
Grown for
  • Ornamental Foliage
Creative category
  • For Beginners
  • We love the dark
  • For every season
  • Author's choice
Garden type
  • Woodland
  • Rock garden
Garden spaces
  • Shade
  • Ground cover
  • Borders
Gardening expertise
  • beginner
Time to reach full size
  • up to 10 years