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 grows to 2–3 ft. tall and 5 ft. wide. Tufts of bright green, narrow (2 in. wide), upright fronds with closely spaced, finely toothed leaflets. Roots often have small, roundish tubers. Plant spreads by thin, fuzzy runners and can be invasive. Will not take hard frosts but is otherwise adaptable, tolerating poor soil and erratic watering. Good in narrow, shaded beds. An effective groundcover; also good in pots and hanging baskets. ‘Lemon Buttons’ grows to only 12 in. high with rounded leaflets. For native Western sword fern, see Polystichum munitum.

You Might Also Like...

Citrus, Mandarin

Varieties with orange-red peel are usually called tangerines. Many mandarins tend to bear heavily in a...

Citrus, Grapefruit ‘Cocktail’

Labeled a grapefruit, but is actually a mandarin-pummelo hybrid. Large fruit with greenish orange (or ...

Citrus, Citron

Citron was the first type of citrus to be cultivated. The plant is small, thorny, irregular in shape; ...

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

View Maps Learn More