Western Sword Fern

As low as $39.59 was $59.99
Availability: In stock

Waves of dark-green fronds that look like toothy swords, fill dappled shade areas throughout the landscape to create an enchanting setting! The Western Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum) is an evergreen, spreading native Fern that naturalizes easily!

The tall spears are deeply incised and grow into upright clumps. The toothy leaflets grow uniformly, and alternate on the stalk in a symmetrical manner to form gorgeous foliage. Forming lush carpets in shade, it's the perfect tall backdrop for other shade-loving perennials and smaller Ferns.

In spring, you will be enchanted by the adorable fiddleheads that emerge from the center of the clump. You'll enjoy watching as the spring fiddleheads unfurl into the long blades. This hardy native of western North America forms evergreen clumps in frost-free areas and produces light yellow spores that turn brown, creating a curious pattern along the backs of each blade.

Each is glossy and leathery, and forms dense clumps that are rabbit and deer-resistant and very adaptable to a wide range of soils and conditions! Hardy Ferns throughout USDA planting zones 6 to 9, growing upwards of 5 feet tall and wide!

Planting and Application:

Quickly naturalizing and colonizing large areas, cloaking areas in verdant green and toothy texture while waving in the slightest breeze. You'll create a magical setting with a swath of these planted along shaded pathways or beneath the shade of large trees and evergreens.

Plant along the shaded side of your home's foundation for a great row of lacy edging that finishes off with a shorter row of groundcover, Coral Bells, or Hosta. Plant as a backdrop to a shade perennial garden with Liriope, Astilbe, and Japanese Forest Grasses.

For a fantastic display, plant en masse as a monoculture, or among a drift of King Ostrich Fern, Wood Fern, and other types of shade-loving cousins! These create dense carpets of green that are perfect for erosion control and are great groundcover on slopes and hard-to-mow shaded hillsides.

As an evergreen Fern, this lush groundcover features year-round greenery, texture, motion, and color! The calming Zen of this Fern, plus the mesmerizing swaying are lovely additions to your private spaces, Meditation spots, and Asian-inspired gardens.

Use as a tall backdrop or specimen plant, even a filler in containers! Add lushness throughout the Cottage garden or Cutting garden to fill your vases indoors with lovely greenery that is the finishing touch for bouquets and floral arrangements!

  • Glossy Thick Spears of Dark-Green Toothy Leaves
  • Curious Fiddleheads in Spring!
  • Vigorous Growth & Dense Clump-Forming & Spreading
  • Can Be Evergreen In Frost-Free Climates
  • Great Greenery for Floral Design
  • Erosion Control, En Masse & Shade Garden
  • Native to Western North America

#ProPlantTips for Care:

Western Sword Fern is easy-care and grows best in partial shade to full shade. Favoring afternoon shade in the hottest of its preferred growing zones. Requiring consistently moist soil for the best results, be sure it is a well-drained medium that remains moist.

However, these western natives can also tolerate more arid, dryer conditions once established. Their growth just won't be as vigorous or as tall. Plant with Nature Hills Root Booster during planting, because the symbiotic ingredients work non-stop over the life of the plant.

A generous layer of mulch helps retain soil moisture as well as insulate the root system from heat and chill. These evergreen Ferns clumps may be divided in spring, but this is seldom required. Though enjoying to spread, they're easily controlled and cared for.

Not particular on soil type, these adaptable plants can be evergreen in mild winters. Plant in fertile, humusy soil for best results, but these versatile plants can handle a wide variety of soil and conditions.

Rarely damaged by deer and highly adaptable, these are low maintenance and easy care Ferns! The only maintenance they need is an early spring clean-up of dead or old fronds while the new fiddleheads are about to form.

  • Full Shade & Part Shade
  • Loves Wet Sites & Moisture
  • Well-Drained Soil & Acid-Soil Tolerant
  • Deer & Rabbit Resistant
  • Easy Care & Low Maintenance

Create a magical setting in your shade gardens with the Western Sword Fern today! Be sure to order enough for your next project at NatureHills.com!

Buying Options for Plants

Nature Hills sells a large variety of plants with several options available. Plants are offered in both potted containers and as dormant bare root without soil. Here is a helpful resource to understand your options as you create a beautiful landscape with help from Nature Hills.

Ever wonder what a larger plant will mean for your landscape? Container Sizes are really all about the age of the plant!

Seasonally, Nature Hills offers hand selected, high quality bare root trees, shrubs and perennials. Bare root plants are sold by height from the top of the root system to the top of the plant. Plants may be taller than the height minimums.

  • Popular sizes of select trees are 1 foot, 2 feet, 3 feet, etc.
  • Popular sizes of select bare root plants is 1 foot, 18 inches, etc.

Nature Hills Container Size by Volume

Keep in mind, specific varieties and different growing conditions can affect the rate at which plants grow. Variations in size may occur.

Young Plants to 18 Months
Size Volume
2"x2"x3" Ranges from .18 to .21 dry quarts / .198 to .23 dry liters in volume
4.5" Container Equal to .65 dry quart / .72 dry liter in volume
Sprinter Pot Equal to .63 dry quart / .69 dry liter in volume
4" Container Ranges from .31 to .87 / .35 to .96 dry liter in volume
6" Container Equal to 1.4 dry quarts / 1.59 dry liters in volume
1 Quart Equal to 1 dry quart / 1.1 dry liter in volume
5.5" Container Equal to 1.89 of a dry quart / 2.08 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x5" Ranges from .8 to 1.1 dry quarts / .88 to 1.2 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x6" Ranges from 1.0 to 1.3 dry quarts / 1.1 to 1.41 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x9" Ranges from 1.1 to 2.1 dry quarts / 1.2 to 2.3 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x10" Ranges from 1.7 to 2.3 dry quart / 1.87 to 2.53 dry liters in volume
Plants 18 Months - 2.5 Years Old
Size Volume
2 Quart Equal to 2 dry quarts / 2.2 dry liters in volume
#1 Container Ranges from 2.26 to 3.73 dry quarts / 2.49 to 4.11 dry liters in volume
5"x5"x12" Equal to 3.5 to 4.3 dry quarts / 3.85 to 4.74 dry liters in volume
Plants 2 - 4 Years Old
Size Volume
#2 Container Ranges from 1.19 to 1.76 dry gallons / 5.24 to 7.75 dry liters in volume
#3 Container Ranges from 2.32 to 2.76 dry gallons / 10.22 to 12.16 dry liters in volume
Plants 3 - 5 Years Old
Size Volume
#5 Container Ranges from 2.92 to 4.62 dry gallons / 12.86 to 20.35 dry liters in volume
#6 Container Ranges from 5.25 to 6.01 dry gallons / 23.12 to 26.42 dry liters in volume
#7 Container Ranges from 5.98 to 6.08 dry gallons / 26.34 to 26.78 dry liters in volume

About Plant Sentry™

Plant Sentry is designed to protect both consumers and the nursery trade from invasive plant pests and diseases. Sites that display the Plant Sentry protection badge are protected from consumers buying and nurseries shipping material carrying invasive pests and diseases.

This proprietary eCommerce software prevents the shipment of a restricted plant to each state. The Plant Sentry system includes a shipment certification program. The Plant Sentry Compliance Officer works closely with NatureHills.com and each nursery or fulfillment center to ensure only compliant plants are sold to customers.

Click Here to learn more

Plant Sentry


To obtain a more accurate shipment time-frame, simply enter your zip code in the “Find Your Growing Zone” box to the right. Our plants are grown all over the country and lead time on items may be different because of this. Once your order is placed, you will also receive the specific shipment time-frame information as part of your order confirmation. Once an item ships, you will receive shipment notification and tracking numbers, so you can follow along while your plant travels to your doorstep. We use FedEx, UPS, or USPS at our discretion.

Due to winter weather we have put a hold on shipping to the areas shown below in grey. You can still order now and we will ship the plant to you during an appropriate time for your zone.

*If you have found your zone already, it will be highlighted in the table below.
Color Zone Times
3 Spring 2019
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Shipping Rates

At Nature Hills we handle, package and ship the products you order with the utmost care to ensure healthy delivery. Shipping and handling charges are calculated based on the tables below. Please note that some items include an additional handling surcharge, these will be noted on the item's product page.

From To S&H
0 - 19.99 24.99
20 - 49.99 29.99
50 - 69.99 34.99
70 - 99.99 39.99
100 - 129.99 44.99
130 - 149.99 48.99
150 - 150+ Approx 28%

Click here to see our full rates


Western Sword Fern Is Suited to Grow in Zones 6-9
Growing Zones 6-9
More Information
Brand Nature Hills' Choice
Botanical Name Polystichum munitum
Type Perennial
Mature Height 3 - 5 feet
Mature Spread 3 - 5 feet
Sun Exposure Full Shade, Partial Shade
Soil Well Drained
Moisture Moderate & Highly Adaptable
Growth Rate Medium
Foliage Color Green
Pollinator Friendly No
Pruning Time Early Spring