The Western Sword Fern has the classic appearance that you would expect when you think of a fern. It’s what you will come across in most wooded areas, with its fantastic green fronds growing at the incredible rate that you want from a fern.
All across the northern hemisphere you will find the Western Sword Fern. They are the perfect plant to create depth in a garden or woodland as they grow along the earth in shadier spots without much help from people.
However even though they don’t need too much care to grow they still have specific requirements that can help them long the way. Here are some of or top tips on Western Sword Fern Care.
Western Sword Fern Lighting Requirements
As ferns are bottom dwellers that often grow on the canopy floor of a forest, it’s no surprise that they like things to be a bit shady. In fact Western Sword Ferns prefer partial to even complete shade. This makes them perfect for spots in your garden that don’t get a lot of sun but need brightening with some greenery.
If you place them in direct sunlight they might survive but if the rays from the sun are too intense then you will find sun damage on your plant that can come in the form of brown scorched leaves.
The soil needed for a Western Sword Fern should be well-draining. It will need to be kept moist for the plant to thrive but you don’t want the roots sitting in water. Loam, chalk, sand or clay can be great bases in which to plant your fern.
Sword Fern plants like to be moist so they will need to be watered regularly. However if they are planted outside then you might not need to water them as much. If you live in an area that receives high rainfall then you won’t need to do that much watering to help your plants thrive. If you live in a drier climate or you’re experiencing a hot summer then you may need to water them more regularly yourself.
How To Prune Your Western Sword Fern
Your fern shouldn’t need too much pruning but you can cut off dead fronds and cut back your fern if it becomes overgrown for a tidier look. Leave your pruning for the spring time as the dead fronds can protect the plant during the colder months.
The Sword Fern needs fertilising less often than other plants and make sure you only fertilise during the growing period which should be the spring and summer months. As this is a plant that requires less fertilising, make sure you dilute the plant food so it’s not too strong. A sign of the fertiliser being too strong can be burnt patches on the foliage.
If your plant is kept outdoors then you may notice the fronds browning and the plant appearing as if it were dying. During this time you don’t want to fertilise your plant. Let the natural process take place and when it comes back in the springtime you can fertilise it again.
So to summarise your Western Sword Fern requires:
- Partial to full shade
- Regular watering
- Well draining soil
- Regular misting or humidity
Western Sword Fern FAQ
Now you’ve read the sword fern care guide, take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions for any fern information that you may have missed.
How often should I mist my fern?
If your Western Sword fern is outdoors in a rainy region then you shouldn’t need to mist your fern. However if it lives in a drier region or you’re keeping your fern in doors where the air is less humid then you can mist your fern from a couple of times a week to every day.
Are sword ferns invasive?
Sword ferns do grow very quickly so if you plant one make sure it is in a region where you can control its growth otherwise you might find it growing out of control and overwhelming other plant species already living in the area.
How do you propagate a sword fern?
One way to propagate a Western Sword Fern is to sow spores into a potting mix. The other way is to propagate through root division. Simply dig up your plant, divide segments from the roots and replant.
How do you plant a sword fern?
Plant your sword fern in soil that is either loam, chalk, clay or sand, and water thoroughly. If being kept as an indoor plant you can opt for a pot on the smaller size rather than a large one.
In order for your Western Sword Fern to thrive you need to water it often but don’t leave it sitting in water, keep the air around it moist and place the plant in partial shade.
How big do Sword Ferns get?
You should expect your Sword fern to grow to around three feet in height and five feet in width. However under optimal conditions these ferns have been known to push out more growth and to get even bigger, some even reaching four feet tall and seven feet wide. Although you might not see your fern reach this size you will notice it grow quite quickly and to an impressive size.
Where is Sword Fern found?
The Western Sword Fern can be found all across the cooler regions of the northern hemisphere. You can expect to find this plant in north america and the northern countries of Europe and Asia. They grow at lower to mid elevations so the higher you go, the less ferns you will see. Finally they can generally be found in wooded areas that receive large rainfall as they like to be protected from the sun by the leaves of other plants and they like to be moist.