Polystichum setiferum

Polystichum setiferum

Soft shield fern

  • Botanical name: Polystichum setiferum
  • Common name: Soft shield fern
  • Family: Dryopteridaceae
  • Plant Type: Perennial, Deciduous

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.

How to grow Polystichum setiferum

  • Plant size

    1.2m height

    100cm spread

  • Aspect

    North facing, east facing

  • Position in border

    Front, middle

  • Sun exposure: Full sun, dappled shade, partial shade
  • Hardiness: Hardy
  • Soil type: Well drained / light / sandy / clay / heavy / moist / chalky / alkaline / acidic

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 Divide in January

Do not Divide in February

Do Divide in March

Do Divide in April

Do Divide in May

Do not Divide in June

Do not Divide in July

Do not Divide in August

Do Divide in September

Do Divide in October

Do Divide in November

Do not Divide in December


Do Prune in January

Do not Prune in February

Do not Prune in March

Do not Prune in April

Do not Prune in May

Do not Prune in June

Do not Prune in July

Do not Prune in August

Do not Prune in September

Do not Prune in October

Do not Prune in November

Do Prune in December

Polystichum setiferum and wildlife

Polystichum setiferum has no particular known value to wildlife in the UK.

Is Polystichum setiferum poisonous?

Polystichum setiferum 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 Polystichum setiferum