Macho Fern Liners: How They Differ from Other Varieties

August 28, 2019
Category: Growing Tips

The Macho Fern is also known as the Giant Sword Fern or Broad Sword Fern.

Recently we’ve added Macho Fern Liners to our availability. Some customers have questions about how Macho Ferns are different from the other varieties we carry. To help you understand, we’ve made this quick-reference post that explains the difference.

Macho Fern Liners

The Macho Fern is also known as the Giant Sword Fern or Broad Sword Fern. Macho Ferns can grow up to six feet in width, with four to five feet long fronds. With that kind of size, we can hear all the other ferns singing, “Macho, Macho Fern. I wanna be a Macho Fern!”


Macho ferns are hardy in zones 9-10, and they need light shade for best growth. No mid-day sun (or volleyball on the beach) for this big guy.

Boston Fern Liners

Boston Ferns are the everyday hero of the fern world. Their fronds range from 12 inches to four feet long. They are usually only three to six inches wide, and seldom grow upright more than a foot before they start to droop. 


Get out the sunscreen for your Boston Fern, because they need to be grown in full shade in the summer. A few hours of winter shade should be tolerated, but keep them out of the mid-day sun. Boston Ferns are hardy in zones 8b-11. Which, ironically, does not include Boston.

Sword Fern Liners 

Our Sword Fern is named Emerald Queen. Sometimes this variety is known as the Australian Sword Fern. Sword Ferns are more upright than Bostons. Fronds on the Sword Fern can get up to five feet in length. They will arch, but not droop, as they mature. 


This more upright fern can tolerate a little sun. It’s hardy in zones 8b-11.  

Asparagus Fern (Sprengeri Fern)

The Asparagus Fern is also known as Sprengeri Fern. This fern is the impostor of the fern world. Because it’s not a fern. It’s not even an asparagus.


Asparagus Ferns are actually related to the lily family. They have upright branches covered with tiny, thin leaves that give it a fluffy appearance. The fronds look like the top stalk of an asparagus, which is how it got its name.


There is currently a seed shortage, so Asparagus Ferns will be hard to find for the 2020 year. 

Native Ferns

“Native Fern” isn’t the name of any particular fern. It’s just a broad term that people use to see if we have ferns that are perennial in their zones. We are researching which of these we should add to our list. We would love your feedback on some of your favorites!