Alert: Limited Online Availability

As summer approaches, we must limit our stock of plants available for online purchase. Please visit your local garden center or consider pre-ordering for 2023, available later this year.

Soft Shield Fern

Polystichum setiferum

Outstanding foliage for shade, with feathery, dark green fronds that look tropical but are actually hardy! The perfect contrast to bold-leaved plants. Naturalizes well in cool woodland settings, adapting well to dry shade conditions when established. Semi-evergreen.
There are very few rules in gardening, but perhaps the most important one is to work within your zone. Choosing plants that grow and thrive in your particular climate is the very first step toward having a beautiful garden . Learn More

Your climate might be too cold for this plant:


Full shade

Water regularly to maintain evenly moist soil - weekly, or more often.

We cannot currently ship this product to your zip code.


Due to the seasonal nature of plants, availability at your local garden center is not guaranteed. Give them a call before visiting.

Find more stores near me >
Set Zip to See Prices
More Information
Botanical Pronunciationpol-LIST-ik-um say-TI-fe-rum
Average Size at MaturityModerate growing; reaches 2 to 3 ft. tall, spreading wider.
Bloom TimePrized for foliage.
Design IdeasThis is an excellent hardy Fern that takes colder climates by dying back with frost. Plant under trees, in dark corners and shaded alcoves. Also works well in light-challenged atriums and courtyards. As a North American native, it's the perfect easy Fern for woodland and wild gardens.
Deciduous/ EvergreenSemi-evergreen
Foliage ColorGreen
Garden StyleAsian/Zen, Cottage, Rustic, Tropical
Growth HabitSpreading
Growth RateModerate
Landscape UseBorder, Rock Garden, Woodland Garden, Dry Shade, Ground Cover
Light NeedsFull shade
Soil NeedsAll-Purpose Plant Food
Special FeatureEasy Care, Gift Plant, Improved Pest and Disease Resistance, Naturalizes Well, Shade Loving, Tolerates Acidic Soil
Water NeedsModerate
Watering NeedsWater regularly to maintain evenly moist soil - weekly, or more often.
Companion PlantsSolomon's Seal (Polygonatum); Columbine (Aquilegia); Hosta (Hosta); Lungwort (Pulmonaria); Bleeding Heart (Dicentra)

Easily grown in fertile, humusy, well-drained soils. Water regularly during the first growing season to establish root system. Once established, prefers evenly moist but not soggy soils; tolerates drier conditions. Feed regularly during growing season. Cut back old, faded fronds when new growth begins to emerge in spring.

This Plant's Growing Zones: 5-9

USDA Cold Hardiness Zone Map

Your USDA Cold Hardiness Zone:

Your climate may be too cold for this plant