Sword Fern


1 entry found.
Sword Fern
Common Name: Sword Fern, Flat Fern
Botanical Name: Nephrolepis exaltata (ne-FRO-le-pis ex-al-TAY-ta)
Decorative Life: About 10-14 days and possibly a little longer.
Post Harvest Care:
  • Remove bottom leaves if present, recut stems under water and place into a flower food solution. Unlike many other ferns, this species benefits from the sugar contained in flower foods.
  • Avoid plants with dead and/or bicolored fronds (leaves). Do not spray often with pesticides, as this species is sensitive to many of these chemicals.
Harvest Instructions: Any form and combination of nitrogen fertilizers seem to work equally well in producing high quality and long lasting greens.
Family Roots:
  • Member of the Polypodiaceae (common fern family).
  • Native to tropical areas.
  • Common fern relatives include staghorn and maidenhair but its former cousin bird's nest fern is only now a relative by marriage since it was reassigned to another family.
Personality:
  • Fronds (leaves) wiry with pinnate (many-branched), feather-like form up to 12 inches long.
Availability: Year-round.
Flower Color: Not applicable.
Storage Specifics: 36-41 F up to 14 days in water.
Tidbits:
  • From the Greek "nephros" (kidney) and "lepis" (scale), referring to the shape of the spore cases on the underside of fronds. Common cultivars are 'Bostoniensis', 'Compacta' and 'Dallas'. The latter two are smaller and therefore are often preferred for use as house plants.
  • The common name sword fern also refers to Polystichum munitum which has wider, darker leaves up to 24 inches long.
  • Members of this family do not produce flowers as they reproduce by spores. Spores are contained in sori or "fruit dots" and appear as dark spots on the lower surface of mature leaves called fronds.
  • As with all true ferns, runners can be formed that can be left to grow or cut off. If they come in contact with moist soil, they can root and develop into another plant.
  • For those Chain of Life Network Members wanting more detailed information about the florists' greens industry, it is highly recommended that Robert Stamps' article entitled Florists' Botanicals (2001) be read.