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A picture of a Sword Fern

Sword Fern

Nephrolepis spp.

Also known as

Boston Sword Fern, Wild Boston Fern, Tuber Ladder Fern, Fishbone Fern, Swaardvaring (Afr.)

Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) by Mokkie (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Partial Shade
Easy care
Moderate watering
Tender

12b

USDA zone

13°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

1m

Max

1.5m

30cm

Min

30cm

More images

Starr 070221-4863 Nephrolepis cordifolia
A photo of Sword Fern
Starr 070906-8737 Nephrolepis sp.

Overview

A genus containing 22 accepted species of stoloniferous or rhizomatous evergreen ferns in the Nephrolepidaceae family, native to tropical zones worldwide. Commonly know as Sword or Boss Ferns, they have clumps of arching, usually light green narrow pinnately-divided fronds. In cool climates they are usually grown under glass as houseplants and may also be effective at cleaning indoor air. Most cultivars are derived from Nephrolepis exaltata, making them very popular as an indoor plant or planted in hanging baskets.

Common problems

Susceptible to rot in wet conditions.

Companion plants

Plant in damp shade, with ferns and sub-tropical plants.

Harvesting

Pick the green leaves to use in flower arrangements as needed.

Propagation

Division

Divide the stolon with leaves attached to form new plants.

Spores

Sow spores as soon as ripe.

Special Features

Attractive leaves

Drought resistant

Can tolerate dry spells.

Indoor plant

Place in bright filtered light and mist when the humidity is low.

Pot plant

Plant in a moisture retaining potting mix, and keep the mix moist.

Wet sites

Will tolerate wet sites, as long as they are not permanently wet.