Polystichum setiferum Plumosomultilobum Group

plumose soft shield fern

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Mary Randlett

Outstanding Qualities

The queen of all ferns, Polystichum setiferum 'Plumosomultilobum' graces your garden with an elegant, lacey appearance reminiscent of the Victorian times in which it was first discovered. This perennial evergreen fern forms a layered mound to about 18 inches tall and about 24 inches wide. The extremely finely cut, fluffy fronds have a soft, delicate texture when fully mature. Older plants produce fronds so finely divided they resemble a slab of moss. A cool feature of this fern is that the fronds curve outwards from the center of the plant -- from above this resembles a whirlwind! Talk about adding movement to the garden -- this fern has it covered.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: fern

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 1 ft. 9 in. (0.53 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 2 ft. 0 in. (0.61 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 to 9

Flower Color: none

Sun/Light Exposure: light to deep shade

Water Requirements: occasional watering

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: silver, gold, blue

Great Color Partners: variegated, chartreuse

Culture Notes
This fern grows best in rich moist to well-drained soil, but will tolerate sand or clay. Once established it will tolerate occasional watering during dry weather, but regular watering may be necessary for plants in sandy soils. This fern grows well in light to deep shade. Too much sun will cause the fronds to yellow. Though it is evergreen the fronds should be cut down in late February or March, before the new fronds emerge.