Nephrolepis, Giant Sword Fern, Macho Fern 'Macho'

Nephrolepis biserrata

Family: Nephrolepidaceae
Genus: Nephrolepis (nef-roh-LEP-iss) (Info)
Species: biserrata (by-ser-AY-tuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Macho



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage

Provides Winter Interest

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Cabo Rojo,

Enterprise, Alabama

Fairhope, Alabama

Gurley, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama

Pike Road, Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Clayton, California

San Diego, California

Apopka, Florida

Atlantic Beach, Florida

Bartow, Florida

Brandon, Florida

Clearwater, Florida

Clearwater Beach, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida(2 reports)

Gulf Breeze, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Lehigh Acres, Florida

Maitland, Florida

Miami, Florida

Naples, Florida

North Port, Florida

Palm Coast, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida(2 reports)

Port Charlotte, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Yulee, Florida

Ray City, Georgia

Tennille, Georgia

Warner Robins, Georgia

Kihei, Hawaii

Derby, Kansas

Greenwell Springs, Louisiana

Gretna, Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Pollock, Louisiana

Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

Columbia, South Carolina

Florence, South Carolina(2 reports)

Saint Helena Island, South Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina

Dickson, Tennessee

Hendersonville, Tennessee

Broaddus, Texas

Canyon Lake, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas

Dripping Springs, Texas

Rosenberg, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 17, 2019, Kell from (Zone 9b) wrote:

Per Irene Ngoo at Min's Garden @tropicaljungle in Singapore:
"Macho ferns, also known as 'giant sword' or 'broad sword' ferns, impress with their large size. They can be anywhere between 3 to 4 feet tall, with attractive fronds that can grow to 6 feet long, making them ideal for landscaping, or growing in pots and hanging baskets for porches, patios, and decks."


On Mar 9, 2017, fixerupper from Pompano Beach, FL wrote:

I originally purchased this plant because it's large fronds would add to the tropical jungle look of my garden. Unfortunately it took off and started covering my whole garden. I may come back to it once my garden is more mature and needs some fill. It would be great for a contained shady area that needs to be filled in.


On Jul 19, 2015, tipsy_starfish from Corpus Christi, TX wrote:

I just impulse purchased this HUGE fern as it was love at first sight!! NOWWWWWW what do I do with it!? It looks amazing in the hanging nursery pot, but the rhizomes seem to be in search of something, coming from underneath the plant, reaching out from within the fronds and there are still more reaching out each day. There are at least 45 rhizomes strands and I would LOVE to propogate this as much as possible to use in my daughter's wedding next year. I don't have any experience with spores or rhizomes. HELP?!


On Oct 20, 2011, Lycorys from Lakewood, OH wrote:

I live in Cleveland, Ohio - clearly not a place where I can keep this spectacular fern outdoors year round. However, it makes a wonderful annual in colder zones and is extremely easy to winter over as a houseplant - indirect light and moderate water works great. I picked my first one out of the rubbish three years ago and have divided it twice now. I had fronds nearly 6' long the last 2 summers.


On Apr 15, 2011, 1940model from Campbellton, TX wrote:

Transplanted my beautiful Macho Fern into a wheel barrel (with holes punched out for drainage). She's huge, easy to move around. Believe it or not, I think she likes "going for a ride".


On Oct 8, 2010, TropicalPatty from Canyon Lake, TX wrote:

If you want a really Tropical look, the Macho Fern is the one you need. I have one in a 12 inch basket, another in a very large Mexican Clay Pot and 4 other smaller ones in the garden. They are very easy to grown and truly do live up to their name. I live in Zone 8. My ferns are moved to my greenhouse when the temperatures fall below 35 and then moved back out on warmer days in the winter. This year, I plan to leave one in the ground to see if they can survive our mild winters.


On Nov 4, 2009, mswestover from Yulee, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Planted a couple of them in a flower bed under an oak tree two years ago. The first winter they died back a little; last winter (2009) was a bad one for zone 9a, several freezes, and they died back a lot and I thought they were a goner. Now this year they have come back with a vengence and spreading like crazy. I am dividing them to other spots. Readily available at Lowe's in the fall.


On Apr 14, 2009, BeachTanned from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:

This fern, if grown in a rich soil and watered and fertilized regularly, can have fronds of almost six feet, which makes it a spectacular hanging plant. Give it the largest hanging basket you can find and you will be rewarded with lush, cool foliage of classic fern shape. This would be so perfect in a wedding setting. The plant is easily divided and repotted. If allowed to get too dry, will go off color and even lose leaves, but responds well once care is again given. If potted, be sure to use an outward-taper pot. Inward-taper pots will not allow you to remove the rootball without breaking the pot. Grows without much care except for occasional fertilizer and watering in dry seasons in gardens of Ft. Lauderdale. It can be invasive, but that is one of its charms if you have the spac... read more


On Sep 29, 2008, ava02 from Florence, SC (Zone 8b) wrote:

I love this macho fern. It has blessed me for some months now. I so much wish that everyone has the same experience with this fine specimen of a fern as I have.


On Jan 15, 2005, SudieGoodman from Broaddus, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Southeast, TX, Zone 8b Received rooted cutting of Macho Fern.
Had no culture or name for this beautiful fern. I potted upon receipt, placed in greenhouse two years ago. It is five feet tall & wide.

So happy to learn, from your information, that it is hardy so that I can give it a "Macho" name & plant in flower bed - thanks for this much-need information.


On Aug 12, 2004, Scarlete from Tampa, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is absolutely gorgeous in my front yard bedding area. It gets a wee bit of sun in the morning on one side and a wee bit more on the other side in the early afternoon.

The largest of the fronds are about 5 feet long, with the plant having a width of 7 1/2 feet.

It's rhizomes likes to creep along the house and form new plants but I generally like to keep them to one area. Can be invasive, but easy enough to control and keep in one area.