Also known as
Boston Sword Fern, Wild Boston Fern, Tuber Ladder Fern, Fishbone Fern, Swaardvaring (Afr.), Boston fern
Nephrolepis exaltata (in a greenhouse) 01 by Kor!An (Корзун Андрей) (CC BY-SA 3.0)
More images of Sword Fern
Sword Fern Overview
The sword fern is commonly found in humid forests and swamps, growing best in damp but not soggy soils. It has widely arching fronds with toothed pinnae. Most cultivars are derived from this species, making it very popular as an indoor plant or planted in hanging baskets. The sword fern is often confused with the tuberous sword fern (Nephrolepis cordifolia) – both are invasive in different parts of South Africa. Nephrolepis exaltata is a problem in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.
Common problems with Sword Fern
When fronds become too wet, fern scale and rot may be a problem.
Sword Fern Companion Plants
Plant in damp shade, with ferns and sub-tropical plants.
How to harvest Sword Fern
Pick the green leaves to use in flower arrangements as needed.
How to propagate Sword Fern
Divide the stolon with leaves attached to form new plants.
Sow spores as soon as ripe.
Special features of Sword Fern
Can tolerate dry spells.
Place in bright filtered light and mist when the humidity is low.
Plant in a moisture retaining potting mix, and keep the mix moist.
Will tolerate wet sites, as long as they are not permanently wet.
Other uses of Sword Fern
Ground cover, foliage, ornamental, indoors, container, greenhouse