Polystichum setiferum

Soft Shield fern

The form of the ‘Soft Shield Fern’ is likely what many would picture if asked to imagine a fern, with fronds that form a truly iconic shape and colour.

Polystichum setiferum is a tufted evergreen to semi-evergreen fern with soft green, lush double pinnate foliage on lance shaped fronds.

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Origin: Macaronesia, Med to Iran
Genus: Polystichum
Species / Cultivar: setiferum
Common Name: Soft Shield fern
Synonym: Polystichum angulare

Plant Biography

Native to Southern and Western Europe ,it is most abundant in Ireland, southwestern England, western France and northwest Iberia, where it thrives in the mix of mild winters and moist summers.

The stalks and most midribs are covered with particularly attractive cinnamon-brown scales. Its fronds curve outwards from the centre of the plant, creating a spectacularly striking form.

This hardy outdoor fern makes a striking addition to the shaded border of any UK garden.

Polystichum setiferum
Soil: Moisture Retaining
Soil that drains at a slower rate due to higher organic matter content.
Growth Rate: Medium
Expect to see moderate growth during growing season.
Water Requirement: High
Likely to require supplementary watering in warmer months, even once established.
Maintenance: Low
Minimal skill or input needed beyond the basics, a very independent plant.
Situation: Part Shade
Enjoys several hours of direct sunlight but may enjoy dappling or shade at midday.
Eventual Height: 0.9m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 0.7m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Fully Hardy
Will survive unprotected outdoors in most areas of the UK, even in the harshest winters.
Habit: Semi Evergreen
May only remain evergreen in milder winters, or only loose leaves for a short period.

Expert Tip

In UK gardens, Polystichum setiferum's finely pinnate foliage combines well with complimentary hellebores, hostas, asarum, brunnera and epimediums.
Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

Polystichum setiferum does best in part to full shade in fertile, moist, and importantly, well-drained soil.

Too much sun can cause the fronds to yellow, and its best to cut down the fronds around February to March before the new fronds emerge.

Consider planting the rhizome at an angle to help combat the likelihood of crown root problems which sometimes occur in poorly draining soils.

Again another first class plant from the Palm Centre, always well packaged and delivered on time. Many thanks.

Greg M.

Again another first class plant from the Palm Centre, always well packaged and delivered on time. Many thanks.

1 customer review for Polystichum setiferum

Again another first class plant from the Palm Centre, always well packaged and delivered on time. Many thanks.

Greg M.