Soft Shield Fern
Southern and Western Europe.
Polystichum are mostly evergreen or semi-evergreen ferns, with short stout rhizomes and pinnately divided fronds in neat shuttlecock-like rosettes, P. setiferum is a tufted evergreen fern to 1.2m in height, with rosettes of soft textured, lance-shaped mid-green fronds, the stalks with prominent orange-brown scales. The whole fern has a soft texture with attractively drooping fronds that makes a wonderful lace-like accent in the garden. The twice divided pinnae have distinctly stalked linear-lanceolate pinnules with soft bristly tips on the margins. Since this is a variable species in the wild our sporlings exhibit this same degree of variation in the size and shape of the pinnules as well as their spacing to one another.
A light to full shade lover, it is best grown in fertile, humus-rich, moist, well-drained soils. Excellent drainage is required. Too much sun will cause the fronds to yellow. Once established it will tolerate occasional watering during dry weather, but regular watering may be necessary if planted in sandy soils.
Ideal for shaded borders and rock gardens and wild gardens.
Ferns in general love humidity. You can spray in the air above the fern and let the mist settle on leaves. Most ferns like an evenly moist soil with regular waterings. Water them daily but just enough to keep the soil moist and not wet. Allowing the soil to dry out between waterings stresses these plants.