Polypodium vulgare

Polypodium vulgare

Common polypody fern

  • Botanical name: Polypodium vulgare
  • Common name: Common polypody fern
  • Family: Polypodiaceae
  • Plant Type: Perennial, Evergreen
Foliage colour:


Polypodium vulgare is an evergreen, hardy fern with attractive ladder-like, leathery foliage with distinctive pimply undersides. It grows to about 30cm high and can eventually cover quite a large areas unless restricted. Unusually for ferns, Polypodium vulgare thrives in dry conditions and can sometimes colonise old trees. If left to spread, it makes attractive evergreen ground cover in dappled shade under trees, where the soil is often quite dry.


Grow Polypodium vulgare in wild gardens, well-drained borders, on banks and walls, or in gravel gardens. Shelter from cold winds.

How to grow Polypodium vulgare

  • Plant size

    30cm height

    90cm spread

  • Aspect

    East facing, south facing, west facing

  • Sun exposure: Full sun, dappled shade
  • Hardiness: Hardy
  • Soil type: Well drained / light / sandy

Plant calendar

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do Plant in May

Do Plant in June

Do Plant in July

Do Plant in August

Do not Plant in September

Do not Plant in October

Do not Plant in November

Do not Plant in December


Do not Divide in January

Do not Divide in February

Do Divide in March

Do Divide in April

Do Divide in May

Do Divide in June

Do not Divide in July

Do not Divide in August

Do not Divide in September

Do not Divide in October

Do not Divide in November

Do not Divide in December

Polypodium vulgare and wildlife

Polypodium vulgare has no particular known value to wildlife in the UK.

Is Polypodium vulgare poisonous?

Polypodium vulgare has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:

No reported toxicity to Birds

No reported toxicity to Cats

No reported toxicity to Dogs

No reported toxicity to Horses

No reported toxicity to Livestock

No reported toxicity to People

Plants that go well with Polypodium vulgare