SWORD FERN

FAMILY: Lomariopsidaceae | GENUS: NEPHROLEPIS

TYPE
  • Ferns
  • Vines / Ground Covers
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Filtered Light
  • Partial Shade
WATER
  • Regular Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 10
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 11
SPECIAL FEATURES
  • House Plants

Plant Details

Tough and easy to grow, these are the most widely used of all ferns. Where winters are cold, they're popular houseplants, benefiting from well-drained soil, frequent misting, and monthly applications of a general-purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer from spring through fall. In frost-free areas, they make splendid ground covers for shady areas. Not usually browsed by deer.

giant sword fern

nephrolepis biserrata

  • Native to the tropical Marquesas islands, this species is known primarily for the selection 'Macho'.
  • Arching fronds grow 3 4 feet long and 67 inches wide, making a plant 56 feet wide.
  • Bright shade or morning sun is ideal.
  • Often grown as a summer annual.
  • Container plants fill their pots quickly; daily watering is necessary.

southern sword fern

nephrolepis cordifolia

  • Native to many tropical regions of the world.
  • To 23 feet tall, 5 feet wide.
  • Tufts of bright green, narrow (2 inches-wide), upright fronds with closely spaced, finely toothed leaflets.
  • Roots often have small, roundish tubers.
  • Plant spreads by thin, fuzzy runners and can be inva- sive.
  • Will not take hard frosts but is otherwise adaptable, tolerating poor soil and erratic watering.
  • Good in narrow, shaded beds; can thrive in full sun with adequate water.
  • Good in pots and hanging baskets.
  • Often sold as Nephrolepis exaltata.
  • Lemon Buttons grows to 1 feet tall and wide with short, rounded leaflets, making the frond only an inch wide.
  • It's named for its scent, not its color.

sword fern

nephrolepis exaltata

  • Like Nephrolepis cordifolia, this is a tropical species, but it grows larger (to 7 feet high and as wide) and has broader fronds (to 6in.
  • wide).
  • Most common are named selections grown as houseplants.
  • Best known is 'Bostoniensis', Boston fern.
  • Growing about 3 feet high, it is the classic parlor fern, with spreading, arching habit and graceful, eventually drooping fronds broader than those of the species.
  • Among the many forms with more finely cut and feathery fronds are 'Fluffy Ruffles', 'Rooseveltii', and 'Whitmanii'.
  • Ritas Gold' has 18- to 24 inches fronds of bright lime-green, demanding shade but giving the illusion of light wherever it is grows.

nephrolepis obliterata

  • From northwestern Australia.
  • Grows to 3412 feet high and wide.
  • Similar to Nephrolepis cordifolia but has darker green, somewhat narrower fronds.
  • Used mainly as a houseplant.
  • Habit is stiffer and more erect than that of Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis', and plant is more tolerant of low humidity and both high and low light conditions.
  • Selections include 'Kimberly Queen' and 'Western Queen'.
  • Medusa grows about half the size of the species, with compact fronds that tend to curve, creating the illusion of tangled hair.

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