Will sword ferns survive a freeze in my area? Will they come back in the spring?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Frank: The answer to your question depends on which sword fern you are growing. There are a couple different ferns that are commonly referred to as sword ferns. They both belong to the same family but different genus. The Western sword ferns (Polystichum munitum) are native to the western part of the country. These low-maintenance ferns are suitable for gardens in USDA hardiness zones 3-8. I believe you are gardening in hardiness zone 8. So, yes, the Western sword fern is considered a perennial fern in your garden. The evergreen foliage provides winter interest. The Southern sword fern (Nephrolepis cordifloia), commonly known as a Boston fern, is not considered a perennial in your zone but just south of you they hardy. They are typically sold in hanging baskets at garden centers during the spring and summer months. It would be helpful if you had the growers tag but otherwise you can take a sample to your local garden center or cooperative Extension service just to be certain which one you have. Ferns are such a large group of plants and common names can make things confusing, so I am sorry I do not have a yes or no answer for you.