Polystichum setiferum

Soft shield fern

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Key information

Plant type

Hardy perennial


Dramatic foliage



Skill level


Polystichum setiferum (Divisilobum Group)

Plant details

Polystichum setiferum is a large, British native evergreen fern, bearing soft, dark green fronds that emerge upright before unfurling and falling open. It works well among other shade-loving plants such as Solomon's seal and hostas, and it contrasts well with glossy, hardy ferns such as Asplenium scolopendrium.

Grow Polystichum setiferum in moist but well-drained soil in partial shade. Cut plants back in winter to create space for spring bulbs, or leave in place until April when new fronds appear.

Family: Dryopteridaceae

Genus: Polystichum

Species: setiferum

Plant type: Hardy perennial

Foliage colour: Dark green

Feature: Dramatic foliage

Sun exposure: Partial shade, Shade

Soil: Well-drained/light, Moist

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 60cm

Spread: 60cm

Time to divide plants: March to May

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