Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Soft Shield Fern
Polystichum setiferum

Family: Dryopteridaceae
Genus: Polystichum (pol-IS-tick-um) (Info)
Species: setiferum (set-EE-fer-um) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

5 members have or want this plant for trade.


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From spores

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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1 positive
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive kerrybee On Aug 18, 2010, kerrybee from Astoria, OR wrote:

beautiful, soft, wide, drooping, triangular shaped fronds. Bought in 6" pot 2009, living on shaded deck in 14" pot 2010. Was slow to produce new fronds 2010, but is continuing to produce new fronds mid August. Very graceful. In bright shade protected from strong wind. Fronds are somewhat evergreen, but tips on old fronds turned coppery in early spring this year (2010) perhaps due to extreme cold that lingered.

Neutral palmbob On Dec 16, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This fern is actually hardy warmer climates listed (grows fine right up to zone 10a here in So Cal). This is a European fern commonly grown all over the world. It is a very soft-to-the-touch fern (call it 'ferny'). Many cultivars of this exist


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Brooklyn, New York
Astoria, Oregon
Hubbard, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
Livingston, Texas

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