The Q&A Archives: Sword fern

Question: This past spring I purchased serveral sword fern and just set some in one of my part sun flower beds. I am now cleaning out all of the annuals for winter and was surprised at how it has spread in the bed. My question is this a type of fern I can plant directly in the beds as a perennial? I live in zone 7 I believe, and it gets quite cold here.
Thanks for any advice in advance!
David Swicegood

Answer: Polystichum, or Sword Fern, is hardy in USDA zones 3-8 so it can live in your perennial beds without much trouble. If there is winter damage to the fronds, cut them back in early spring and your sword fern will develop new foliage. These plants can get quite large and the root system can become a thick mass, so plant carefully with the thought of digging and dividing every 4-5 years.

Best wishes with your garden!

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