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Japanese Tassel Fern

Polystichum polyblepharum

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Japanese Tassel Fern (Polystichum polyblepharum) at Roger's Gardens

Japanese Tassel Fern

Japanese Tassel Fern

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Japanese Tassel Fern (Polystichum polyblepharum) at Roger's Gardens

Japanese Tassel Fern foliage

Japanese Tassel Fern foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  32 inches

Spacing:  30 inches

Sunlight:  partial shade  full shade 

Hardiness Zone:  5b

Other Names:  Korean Tassle Fern


A stunning fern for the shade garden with bright green new fronds that turn darker when mature; after they unwind, the tips hang down, like a tassel, but eventually straighten out; cut fronds are great for flower arrangements

Ornamental Features

Japanese Tassel Fern is primarily valued in the garden for its cascading habit of growth. Its ferny pinnately compound leaves emerge light green in spring, turning forest green in color the rest of the year.

Landscape Attributes

Japanese Tassel Fern is an herbaceous evergreen fern with a shapely form and gracefully arching fronds. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and is best cleaned up in early spring before it resumes active growth for the season. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Japanese Tassel Fern is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use
  • Groundcover
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens

Planting & Growing

Japanese Tassel Fern will grow to be about 32 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 3 feet. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 30 inches apart. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 15 years. As an evegreen perennial, this plant will typically keep its form and foliage year-round.

This plant does best in partial shade to shade. It requires an evenly moist well-drained soil for optimal growth, but will die in standing water. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in rich soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone over the growing season to conserve soil moisture. This species is not originally from North America, and parts of it are known to be toxic to humans and animals, so care should be exercised in planting it around children and pets. It can be propagated by division.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Massing  Garden  Groundcover  Naturalizing 
Texture  Plant Form  Winter Value 
Ornamental Features