Plant FinderPlant Finder Graphic
Nephrolepis cordifolia, photo courtesy of blickwinkel/Alamy
Nephrolepis cordifolia, photo courtesy of blickwinkel/Alamy

Click to Enlarge

Zones 8, 9, 12-24, H1, H2
Partial SunNo Sun
Partial, Shade
Regular Water

Nephrolepis cordifolia

Southern Sword Fern



Tough and easy to grow, these are the most widely used of all ferns. For native Western sword ferns, see Polystichum.

Nephrolepis cordifolia

Tough, easy-to-grow fern native to many tropical regions of the world (this genus also includes tender houseplant species, such as N. exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’,the Boston fern). It growsto 2–3 ft. high, 5 ft. wide. Tuftsof bright green, narrow (2 in.wide), upright fronds with closely spaced, finely toothedleaflets. Roots often have small, roundish tubers. Plantspreads by thin, fuzzy runnersand can be invasive. Will nottake hard frosts but is otherwise adaptable, tolerating poor soil and erratic watering. Good in narrow, shaded beds. Effective groundcover; also good in pots and hanging baskets. ‘Lemon Buttons’ grows only 12 in. high with rounded leaflets. For native Western sword fern, see Polystichum munitum.

You Might Also Like...

Citrus (Grapefruit)

Originally hybrids between oranges and pummelos, grapefruit trees can reach 25–30 ft. tall (most...


Native to warm regions around the world, especially South America. Grows anywhere as an annual. Plante...

Abutilon megapotamicum

Vine-shrub from Brazil. Vigorous growth to 10 ft. tall and wide. Bears arrowlike, 1 1/2  3-...

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

View Maps Learn More