Common name: Boston sword fern, Boston fern
Native to: Tropical regions throughout the world in humid forests and swamps
Nephrolepis exaltata, commonly called sword fern or Boston fern, is native to Florida, West Indies, Mexico, Central America, South America, Polynesia and Africa. It is an evergreen fern that grows with an upright spreading habit to 3’ tall and as wide. In its native habitat, it may grow to as much as 7’ tall. It is an easy and popular fern to grow indoors. Generally sword-shaped fronds have shallow toothed to entire pinnae. Fronds initially grow upward but arch gracefully with age.
Genus name comes from the Greek words nephros meaning a kidney and lepis meaning a scale.
Native / exotic: Exotic
Aspect: Partial shade to full shade
Flowers: No flowers
Foliage: Evergreen, erect to gracefully arching fronds
Growth habit: Clumping
Hardiness: Hardy but not drought resistant
Height: Up to 40 to 90 cm
Spread: Up to 80 cm
Soil requirements: Prefers moist well-drained soils and likes humidity. Keep well mulched
Uses: Grown in groups or massed in shady areas for texture, sighted at the base of shrubs and trees or for filling in shaded borders. Also popular as a pot plant.