Ferns 101: Everything You Need to Know About Polystichum Polyblepharum

Last Updated on 10/07/2023 by Barney

evergreen fronds on polystichum polyblepharum
Divine evergreen foliage on the Japanese Tassel Fern

Polystichum polyblepharum, a variety within the Polystichum family of ferns is an exceptional hardy evergreen fern that provides year round interest. This low maintenance fern can be grown in partial or full shade and requires little water once established; it also resists drought conditions well as long as there’s enough rainfall each season to maintain its roots.

The fern is also known as the Japanese Lace Fern, Japanese Tassel Fern & the Bristle Fern. Holding the coveted Royal Horticultural Society Plant of Garden Merit. If your looking for a neat, low maintenance, well behaved fern the tassel fern should be on your wish list.

New fronds emerge in Spring, covered in golden hairs, similar to that of tree ferns. Maturing with dark green fronds forming the elegant shuttlecock shape we have come to associate with ferns.

The Japanese lace fern is a great plant to have in your garden. It has the ability not only form an eye-catching focal point, but it can also be used as ground cover for large spaces.

We love this fern so much it made its way onto our ‘top 20 plants that like shade list ‘.

Where to Plant Polystichum Polyblepharum

Choose a position in the garden that gets partial shade to full shade . The Japanese tassel fern will do best in soil that is moist but well drained.

When planting use a soil mix that contains plenty of humus rich organic matter.

When planting in clumps space plants 18 to 24 inches apart.

It is a stunning fern that looks great on its own, work well when great planted in a slate border or a specimen in a pot.

Planting, Care & Watering Polystichum Polyblepharum

Maintaining Polystichum polyblepharum is very easy. Being fully hardy there is no need to protect crowns for Winter.

Once planted this fern needs very little care and attention. Keep watered whilst the fern is getting established (as you would any other garden plants). Once established this fern is drought tolerant.

A good mulch of well rotted horse manure will also help to keep moisture in the soil and provide the plant with a slow release of nutrients.

To maintain the plants symmetry and smart look cut off any damaged and dead fronds to just above the crown in early Spring, that ruin the plants symmetry and look.

Polystichum polyblepharum only needs to be watered when the soil feels dry to the touch. Do not water if rain is forecast in the next few days.

In early Spring apply a balanced fertilizer or a top dressing of well rotten manure.

Planting companions

Great companion plants to compliment Polystichum are ferns that have a similar look, such as Aspidium falcatum and Matteuccia struthiopteris. These ferns are all great for adding texture to the garden and can be used to fill in spaces between taller evergreen shrubs in a shaded border.

Hostas also provide a nice backdrop for ferns, and their variegated leaves add extra interest to the garden. Polystichum polyblepharum does well with other shade plants like Hellebores and Cyclamen.

Heuchera adds a splash of colour when planted in front and being evergreen makes a wonderful companion plant for year round interest. . Heuchera comes in a wide range of colors, including pink, red, orange, and yellow.

Final Word

If you want to add a touch of green and beauty in your garden or indoor space, this shade loving fern is not only stunning but easy to grow. Polystichum polyplepharum has been used as an ornamental plant for an age because it’s hardy and relatively pest-free.

You can use these tips on how to care for the plant yourself at home with little effort! Planting should be done in shady areas (such as under trees) during Spring or Autumn when temperatures are cooler. The soil needs to stay moist all year round so don’t forget about watering even if rain hasn’t fallen recently.

Looking for something different? Check out my other favourite big ferns here.