Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

Plant Guide

Polystichum munitum

Common Name
Western Sward Fern
CA Native
California Native
Plant Type
Fern
Size
2' - 4' x 2'
Flower Color
None
Bloom Time
Leaves
Leathery, Dark Green
Evergreen
Evergreen
Deer Resistant
Seldom Damaged
Wildlife Value
Growth Rate
Fast
Hardiness
Hardy
Adverse Growth Factors
None
Special Features
  • Low Maintenance
Water Use
  • Moderate
Soil pH
5.5-6.4 (acid)
Exposure
  • Partial Shade
  • Shade
Soil Type
Loam
Drainage
Good Drainage
Description and Cultural Plant Tips

The Western Sword Fern is a California native of Redwood & Douglas Fir forests. It is a long lived, tough & adaptable fern that is often used in shady garden settings. It has 2' - 4- tall fronds depending on the soil & available moisture. It looks good in shady perennial borders,as a large ground cover, or naturalized under Redwood or other large conifers. 

Plant in rich, acidic soil enhanced with compost. Although it is considered to be drought tolerant once established, it does best with regular summer water. Can be grown in the sun in coastal Marin but in hotter areas of marin it needs dappled to full shade.

Can be browsed by deer.

 No significant pests or diseases.

Master Gardener Comments
Varietals

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